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Essential Info

How to get a National Insurance Number in the UK

By KulayL 13 Sep 2023

Your National Insurance Number (also known as your NI number or “NIN”) is the UK version of a social security number. It is used to claim tax and benefits.  

Do you intend to get a job and work whilst studying? Having a NI number is a requirement, and you cannot work without it.

The whole application process can now be done online. Before you get going, see below for some common questions and concerns...

Before you apply

1. If you have any of the following documents, get them ready before you start:

  • a passport from any country
  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • a national identity card from an EU country or from Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland
  • You might need to enter information from one or more of these documents.

You can still apply if you do not have any of these documents, but you may need to attend an appointment in person to prove your identity.

2. If you can, you’ll need to take and upload:

  • a photo of yourself holding your passport
  • photos of other identity documents

You can use a smartphone, tablet or a digital camera.

You’ll be told how to take the photos and what they must look like during the application process. You can ask someone to take the photos for you.

After you apply you’ll get an email with your application reference number. The email will tell you if you need to provide further proof of your identity. It normally takes up to 8 weeks depending on the season, then you will receive your own NI number via email. However, depending on your employer, you can sometimes start working before you have received this.   

In case you need more direct information, you can contact the National Insurance number application helpline (England, Scotland and Wales):

They're open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Have any questions? Get in touch with the team on: 


T: +44(0)20 3890 6039

Instagram: UAL_HallsLife

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KulayL your UAL International Social Repesentative and studies MA Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins.
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