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4 Key Questions About Your National Insurance Number

Do you have a National Insurance number?

If you are aged over 16 and live in the UK you should have automatically received your National Insurance number just before your 16th birthday.  However, there may be situations where you don’t have a National Insurance number and you need one.  Our guide explains when you need a National Insurance number and how you go about getting one.

1. What is a National Insurance number?

Your National Insurance number is a number that is unique to you and that you keep for your entire life.  It ensures that the tax and National Insurance contributions that you pay are accurately recorded against your name and it provides a handy reference number when you have to contact HM Revenue and Customs.

2. Should I receive a National Insurance number automatically?

You should be sent a National Insurance number automatically just before your 16th birthday, assuming that:

  • You live in the UK
  • Your parents or guardians are receiving child benefit for you

If you are aged between 16 and 20 and you haven’t received a National Insurance number, you should contact the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 for advice.

3. When should I apply for a National Insurance number?

If you do not already have a National Insurance number there are three main situations where you will need to apply for one:

  • If you need to claim benefits or tax credits
  • When you start work – you have to have a National Insurance number to start work whether you are employed or self-employed
  • If you have applied for a student loan

You may have to attend your local Jobcentre for an ‘Evidence of Identity’ interview to obtain a National Insurance number.

4. What if you lose or can’t remember your National Insurance number?

If you do have a National Insurance number but you can’t find your plastic card or you can’t remember your number, you could first try to find it on documents such as:

  • A payslip or P60
  • A copy of your tax return
  • Other letters or correspondence from HMRC or the Department of Work and Pensions

If you still can’t find your National Insurance number, you can ask HMRC to confirm it by:

  • completing and returning the form CA5403 called ‘Your National Insurance number’
  • contacting the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915

HMRC are not allowed to confirm your National Insurance number by telephone. They will confirm your National Insurance number in writing to you.

Jolita - Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Could you say me please where should I apply? I left the UK and decided to stay in my native country. So, where must I aplly because of my NIN in order to eliminate it or suspend? And is it possible to do it online?

Thanks