National Insurance Number (NINO) is a number made up of two letters, six digits and an optional letter issued to everyone born in the UK just before their birth day.
The National Insurance system is a fund created to provide protection to the unemployed, fund the National Health Service (NHS), as well as provide pension payments at retirement for all who qualify in the UK.
It is expected that all who are able to work make a National Insurance contribution towards this common fund.
NI is used to trace each individual’s contribution into this fund. It is also used as a reference number to the social security system in the UK.
If you must get jobs in the UK, you need an NI number. It is however not necessary to have a National Insurance number before starting work. Sadly, many employers insist on potential employees producing an NI before granting them job.
Failure to pay a National Insurance (NI) Contribution means that one will not be eligible
to getting certain NI dependent benefit and a full state pension. NI contributions are deducted straight from one’s wage weekly or monthly, and every three months if you are self employed.
If you are a job seeker and find it difficult to get a job because of delay in getting an NI number, you or your employer by law can create a temporary national insurance number for your use pending when the permanent number is obtained. See below on how to create a temporary NI number.
For those born in the UK, they are automatically issued an NI number at birth and a plastic card with their NI number and name dispatched to them just before their 16th birthday.
This is called the national insurance number card, an example you could see here. Refugees in the UK are also issued an NI automatically.
If you arrived into the UK as a child and do not have a NI Number, you will need to apply for one.
All prospective workers and students hoping to get job in the UK must apply for an NI number.
How to Apply for a National Insurance Number
If you were not born in the UK and have the right to work, you will need to apply for an NI number.
An application is made to the Department for Works and Pension for National Insurance Number. This can be done via your local jobcentre. You will need to provide:
Proof of your identity. This could be your traveling document or international passport. It could also be your UK driving license if you have one with your photograph (passport) attached.
Proof of your address. This is a document showing that you live at an address. This document could be in form of utility bills, provisional driving license, bank statement or your tenancy agreement. If you are new to the UK and does not yet have a valid proof of address, see legal genuine ways of obtaining a valid proof of address at our proof of address page.
Proof that you are entitled to work in the UK. This could be the visa stamp page of your international passport or travel document showing entitlement to work. If you are a student, you may be required to provide a letter from your institution of learning that you have been enrolled into a course of study.
Proof that you are actively seeking work. As started earlier, you do not actually need an NI number before been granted a job. If you have not still gotten a job, then documentary evidence that you are actively seeking employment will be required at the NI office.