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What is a National Insurance number and how do I get one?

Everyone who wants to work in the UK needs to have a National Insurance number (NINO). 

Your NINO is your own personal account number and makes sure that you pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contributions. It also acts as a reference number for the whole social security system.

How and when to apply for a NINO

You can apply for a NINO whilst you are looking for paid work. It is not necessary for you to have found job before you apply. You do not need to have a NINO before starting work, but you must obtain one when you get a job.

When you apply, you may be asked to prove you are looking for work, so keep a copy of any job applications.

To get a NINO call JobCentre Plus on 0845 600 0643 which will connect you to the National Insurance Number Allocation Service. You will hear a recorded announcement in English; please wait until someone answers the phone.

EU students

If you are an EU student you will be offered an appointment (an interview) to go to the local office and apply for your NINO. They normally write to you to confirm the appointment details.

You will need to take your passport or EU identity card and proof of your UK address. It is a good idea to take your Aston University student card and any evidence that you have been looking for work or that you have a job, but these are not required.

International students with a visa issued in the UK

If you are an international student with a visa which has been renewed in the UK (this means you have either a UK residence permit in your passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) –the pink and blue card), you will be offered an appointment (an interview) to go to the local office and apply for your NINO. They normally write to you to confirm the appointment details.

You will need to take your passport, your BRP (if you have one), your police registration document (if you have one), and proof of your UK address. It is a good idea to take your Aston University student card and any evidence that you have been looking for work or that you have a job, but these are not required.

International students with a visa issued abroad

If you are an international student whose visa (Entry Clearance) was issued abroad, you will be sent some forms to complete. You will not be offered an interview because you do not need an interview!

How long will it take to get my NINO?

It takes 5-8 weeks for the NINO to be issued. Remember you do not need to have a NINO before starting work, but you must obtain one when you get a job. Your employer must pay your wages once you start work. They cannot refuse to pay you even if you are still waiting for your NINO to be issued.

Last checked 14 February 2014 

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