Careers ServiceNational Insurance

National Insurance is the name given to the British Social Security tax.

  • Contributions are made by everybody who earns over a certain amount of income in the UK
  • It is essential to have a National Insurance (NI) number to work in the UK
  • Your number is personal to you
  • Every UK citizen is issued with a NI number at birth and this is sent out shortly before an individual turns 16
  • Students are not exempt from paying National Insurance Contributions
  • It is your account number for all dealings with the HM Revenue & Customs and Department of Work and Pensions
  • It will never change, even if you go abroad, marry or change your name

The Government and any employers you work for.


  • Government departments use your NI number to keep track of all the payments you make as a worker in the UK as well as any benefit entitlements which you may have built up
  • HM Revenue & Customs will use your NI number to file the information held on you


  • When you start a new job your employer will ask for your National Insurance number so that they can provide the Inland Revenue and Contributions Agency with information about the deductions which they make from your wages
  • Any deductions which the employer makes from your wages will appear on your payslip

If you have been allocated a NI number but can't remember it or have lost it see advice on the GOV UK website.

  • Do not disclose your NI number to anyone who does not need it
  • Keep your NI Number in a safe place - this number will never change and you will always need it for any employment you undertake in the UK
  • Your NI number will be printed on several types of documents for example:
    • wage slips
    • P60 - this is an end of year document, given to employees by their employers, stating how much tax and NI employees have paid
    • official correspondence you may have between you, your employer, HM Revenue and Customs or the Contributions Agency

The more jobs you have the more paperwork you will have so it is a good idea to try to organise or file these documents in a safe place.

Advice is available on the HM Revenue & Customs website:  Claim a National Insurance refund

It is possible for students to work on a self-employed basis. If you work for yourself, you need to fill in a Self Assessment tax return each tax year, with details of your income and expenses. HMRC will then work out how much tax you need to pay.  Find out more: Student jobs: paying tax.

Apply for your National Insurance Number by contacting the Jobcentre Plus National Insurance Number Allocation Service on: +44 (0)800 141 2075.

This Service may arrange an “evidence of identity” interview for you. Find out more from the GOV UK website: Applying for a National Insurance Number.

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), you might have a National Insurance Number already - it will be printed on the back of your BRP if you do.

You can apply for your National Insurance number straight away. The process may take several weeks.

You don't need to have your National Insurance number to start applying for jobs. See UKCISA Income Tax, National Insurance.