Only one number is allocated to you and you keep that same number throughout your life. It is unique to you and ensures that your NI contributions or credits to your NI account are correctly recorded. You will need these contributions and credits when you come to claim benefit, whether it is for a short while, like Incapacity Benefit, or long term, such as your retirement pension.
All residents working in the UK have a National Insurance number. UK nationals are issued with them automatically at age 16 years. Non-UK nationals will have to apply for one. To do this you must make an appointment to be interviewed at the local Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) offices:
7 Worcester Street
Tel: +44 (0) 8456 000643
For information on how to apply for a National Insurance number, visit the Gov.UK website.
Your number will then be issued some weeks later on a plastic National Insurance number card. As soon as you receive your number, contact us with the details. The number will be made up of numbers and letters, like this: AB 12 34 56 C. National Insurance numbers cannot be used for the purpose of identification. Please note that numbers beginning with TN are not valid numbers.
Not having a National Insurance number will not stop you from being paid by the Payroll Office providing you have given evidence of your permission to work to your employing department and has no effect on your tax code or status. The issuing of a number will not initiate a tax refund. The Tax Office may give you a personal reference that looks similar to a National Insurance number as it is a mix of alpha and numeric. This is NOT your National Insurance number unless it is in the format shown above.
If you would like further information about registering for a National Insurance number contact:
National Insurance Registrations Helpline: 0845 915 7006 or 0845 915 5670.