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National Insurance Numbers

If you are going to work whilst in the UK you will need to get a National Insurance Number.

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A national insurance card for James Bond

What is a National Insurance Number?

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Everyone who works in the UK needs to have a National Insurance (NI) Number which is a unique personal reference number for all your tax/employment affairs.

You can apply for one once you are in the UK.

Depending on how much money you earn, you may be required to pay National Insurance Contributions. This is a form of tax which everyone who works in the UK is required to pay if they earn over a certain amount that is automatically deducted from your pay.

When you leave the UK it may be possible to reclaim some tax you have paid. For more information, see here.


How can I apply for a National Insurance Number?

STEP 1) To get an NI number you will need to contact the National Insurance Number Application line on:

Telephone: 0800 141 2075

Textphone: 0800 141 2438

​​​​​​​Open: Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Have your passport/visa with you when you call, and a pen and paper to note down the reference number you will be given. 

You will also need to have a Student Status Letter this can be done automatically by visiting this link: Generate Student Status Letter


You may be asked to attend an interview for your NI Number.

The purpose of the interview is to check your identity, your status as a student, and check that you have a legal right to work in the UK. You will be told what documents you need to bring with you to your appointment.



You may be asked to complete a postal application which you will receive after you have rung the application line, with instructions about completing the form and which documents you need to send.

Ensure you send off your form within the time frame stated in the letter.


After you apply, it can take up to 8 weeks to get your National Insurance number to arrive.

You should keep your NI number safe – it is unique to you and you retain the same number during your whole working life in the UK. Even if you leave the UK and come back at any time to work, you use the same number.​​​​​​​

You are allowed to start work before you receive your NI number, provided you can show an employer you have applied for it. ​​​​​​​



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