National Insurance numbers

If you have lost or forgotten your National Insurance number you should try and locate the number on paperwork such as your tax return, payslip or P60. You can also login to your personal tax account to view, download, print, save or share a letter with your National Insurance number.

If you do not already have a National Insurance number then you will normally need to apply for one if you are planning to work in the UK, claim benefits, apply for a student loan or pay Class 3 voluntary National Insurance contributions.

However, HMRC’s guidance presently states that: You can currently only apply for a National Insurance number in England, Scotland and Wales if you have entered the UK on a visa. You cannot apply for a National Insurance number in Northern Ireland. This is due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) disruption.

You can, however, start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you can work in the UK.  You can also apply for benefits or a student loan without a National Insurance Number.

Teenagers should automatically be sent a letter just before their 16th birthday detailing their National Insurance number. These letters should be kept in a safe place. The old plastic National Insurance cards that some of our readers may remember are no longer available.

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