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What is a National Insurance number?

Your National Insurance number (NINo) is a unique personal number which is used to record your National Insurance (NI) contributions. Employees and employers both pay NI contributions, which help to fund benefits and pensions. You do not need to have a NINo before starting work, but you must obtain one when you get a job. If you live in the UK you’ll normally receive one automatically at age 16.

How do I get one?

If you have the right to work in the UK, you can apply online via the GOV.UK website. You should only apply online if you need a National Insurance number to work in the UK.

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 / EEA country

You may need to enter information from these documents – for example, your passport number.

If you do not have any of these documents, you may be asked for other information. You may also need to make an appointment to prove your identity.

What happens next?

After you apply online, you may need to send documents or attend an appointment to prove your identity.

When you have proven your identity, it can take up to 16 weeks to get your National Insurance number.

Tell your employer your National Insurance number as soon as you know it. Do not share your National Insurance number with anyone who does not need it as this might help someone to steal your identity.

Find out more on GOV.UK.