How to obtain a National Insurance (NI) Number

If you are working in the UK you will need a National Insurance Number. An example of what a number would look like is: AB 12 34 56 Z (it is a series of letters and numbers which are unique to you as an individual).  

It is not illegal to start work without a National Insurance number, but many employers will not consider you without one, so it is important to obtain one before seeking work.

  • UK Citizens: UK citizens who have always lived in the UK should automatically be given a NI number on their 16th birthday.
  • Non UK Citizens: Most international students are eligible to work part time while studying in the UK.  You will need to apply for a NI number, and applications may take a few weeks to be processed.

Contact Jobcentre Plus, on 0845 600 0643 from Monday to Friday, 8.00am - 6.00pm.  Jobcentre Plus may request that you attend an interview to confirm your identity.


National Insurance Number Interview

Jobcentre Plus may write to you and ask you to come to an interview where you will be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.  The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity.  Some examples may be:

  • passport/identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth/adoption certificate
  • marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence
  • confirmation of your student status


Tax - how much do I pay?

Students are not automatically exempt from paying tax and NI.  You can earn a certain amount each year without paying tax this is your Personal Allowance.

Check out the Tax Guide for Students website which is free and independent and covers informaiton on tax essentials, working tax credits and tax refunds.