What is National Insurance? 

You pay National Insurance contributions to qualify for certain benefits including the State Pension.

You pay National Insurance if you’re:

  • 16 or over
  • an employee earning above £155 a week
  • self-employed and making a profit of £5,965 or more a year

You need a National Insurance number before you can start paying National Insurance contributions. There are different types of National Insurance (known as ‘classes’). The type you pay depends on your employment status and how much you earn, and whether you have any gaps in your National Insurance record.

If you are employed at the University, you will only stop paying Class 1 National Insurance when you reach the State Pension age.

You have a National Insurance number to make sure your National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name only. This 'number' is actually made up of a combination of letters and numbers and never changes.

You can find your National Insurance number on your:

  • payslip
  • P60
  • tax return

You can apply for a National Insurance number by phone if you don’t already have one.

Who uses your National Insurance number

These organisations need to know what your number is:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • your employer
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (which includes Jobcentre Plus and the Pension, Disability and Carers Service), if you claim state benefits, or in Northern Ireland the Department for Social Development
  • Your local council, if you claim Housing Benefit, or the Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Electoral Registration Officers (to check your identity when you register to vote)
  • Your Individual Savings Account (ISA) provider, if you open an ISA

To prevent identity fraud, keep your National Insurance number safe. Don’t share it with anyone who doesn’t need it.


How to Obtain a National Insurance Number (for relocators) 

If you’re moving to the UK you can only apply once you are in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number. You can only apply for a national insurance number over the phone. 

National Insurance number application line

Telephone: 0345 600 0643
Textphone: 0345 600 0644
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Welsh language: 0345 602 1491 
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm
Find out about call charges


If you lose your National Insurance number

If you already have a National Insurance number and you’ve lost it, you should fill in form CA5403 or call the National Insurance number helpline.

National Insurance number interview

The Jobcentre Plus may write to you and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll 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, eg:

  • passport or identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

You’ll be told at the interview how long it’ll take to receive your National Insurance number.