When to apply for a National Insurance number
You must apply for a National Insurance number if:
- you need claim benefits and/or tax credits
- you have the right to work in the UK
- you are entitled to and have applied for a student loan and require a National Insurance number
If you have the right to work in the UK and you are looking for, starting work or are setting up as self-employed telephone Great Solution on 02082040397. Lines are open 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday.
Student loans and National Insurance numbers
If you are entitled to and have applied for a student loan and require a National Insurance number the Student Loans Company will arrange for Jobcentre Plus to contact you.
Applying for a National Insurance number
Jobcentre Plus will arrange an Evidence of Identity (EOI) interview for you or send you a postal application. They will confirm the date, time and location of your interview. They will also tell you what information and documentation is required to support your application.
What to expect at the 'Evidence of Identity' interview
The interview will usually be one-to-one (unless, for example, you need an interpreter). You will be asked questions about who you are, why you need an National Insurance number, your background and circumstances. During the interview an application for an National Insurance number form will be completed and you will be asked to sign this form.
If you don’t have any official documents you still have to go to the interview. The information you are able to provide might be enough to prove your identity.
Proving your identity
You will need to prove your identity to the Department for Work and Pensions
- you are starting work or looking for work and need an National Insurance number
- you need an National Insurance number in order to claim benefit, pension or allowance
DWP will accept a range of documents (originals, not photocopies) when you are proving your identity. The following list is not exhaustive and you should always bring as many identity documents as you can to your interview, for example:
- valid passport (UK or foreign)
- national identity card (UK or foreign)
- residence permit or residence card (including biometric immigration residency documents)
- full birth certificate
- adoption certificate
- full marriage certificate
- civil partnership certificate
- driving licence (UK or foreign)
If you do not have any of these (or any other) identity documents, then you can still apply for a National Insurance number and the information you supply will be checked and may be sufficient to prove your identity.
What happens after the interview
If you were asked to provide additional information you will need to do this by the agreed date. Jobcentre Plus will then write to you letting you know whether your application has been successful or not and notifying you of your National Insurance number where appropriate.
You should tell your employer your National Insurance number as soon as you know it.
However you obtain your National Insurance number normally you’ll get a plastic National Insurance number card too. This may take up to 12 weeks from when you applied.
The card is a useful reminder of your National Insurance number but it is not proof of your identity and you don’t need to have one to start work. It’s your National Insurance number that’s important not the card.