You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits and the State Pension.

You pay mandatory National Insurance if you’re 16 or over and are either:

  • an employee earning above £184 a week
  • self-employed and making a profit of £6,515 or more a year

You may be able to pay voluntary contributions to avoid gaps in your NI contributions.

You need a National Insurance number before you can start paying National Insurance contributions.

If you earn between £120 and £184 a week, your contributions are treated as having been paid to protect your National Insurance record.

This page is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

National Insurance classes

There are different types of National Insurance (known as ‘classes’).

The type you pay depends on your employment status and how much you earn.

When you stop paying

If you’re employed, you stop paying Class 1 National Insurance when you reach the State Pension age.

If you’re self-employed you stop paying:

  • Class 2 National Insurance when you reach State Pension age
  • Class 4 National Insurance from 6 April (start of the tax year) after you reach State Pension age