National Insurance number 2022: how to apply or find a lost number

8 December 2022 by Robin - 6 minutes of reading time

national insurance number

What is my National Insurance number? What if I lost it? Can I apply for a new NI number? This is a number that is necessary for most people who want to or expect to work. Indeed, it is because it allows you to make National Insurance contributions. Your Benefits will tell you all you need to know about your National Insurance number.

How to apply for National Insurance number

You may want to apply for a National Insurance number. Then, note that you only need one if you expect to work. More specifically, you do not need one if you do not plan on working. However, you are able to work and not have a National Insurance number. In fact, this is if you can give evidence of having a right to work in the UK.

The only way to apply for a NI number is online. More specifically, on the GOV.uk website. If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP) or a passport, you will need to use them for your application.

Furthermore, you may use a national identity card from one of the following countries:

  • Switzerland;
  • Liechtenstein;
  • Norway;
  • Any country in the European Union.
You may not have any of these documents. However, you can apply anyway. Note that you will likely have to prove your identity, which will be done via an appointment.

In order to prove your identity in your application, you may also use digital copies of photos of yourself, as well as documents which prove your identity. If you are unable to do so, you will likely either need to send copies of said documents by post, or go to an appointment to prove your identity.

You may apply on the GOV.UK website. Once you have applied, an email will be sent to you, indicating if you need to further prove your identity. Furthermore, it will give you your application reference number. Then, once you identity is proven, you may receive your National Insurance number after a maximum of 8 weeks.

NI stands for National insurance, and not northern ireland. If you want to get universal credit on your credit card, you can use a digital service and get your national insurance number over the phone.

How do I find my National Insurance number?

You may have had a National Insurance (NI) number, but recently lost it. Then, you can find your number online on the Gov.UK website. Then, it will be on your own personal tax account. Additionally, you may also find it on any work-related documents.

Note that you cannot phone Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and ask them to tell you your National Insurance number. In fact, they will have to send you a letter with the number on it instead. Furthermore, that letter may take up to 15 days to get to you.

Only ask for your NI number from HM Revenue and Customs if you are unable to find it on your personal tax account, or on documents such as a P60 or payslip, benefits, tax or pension forms. Then, complete form CA5403 and send it. The address will be indicated on the document.

You may also phone the National Insurance numbers helpline on 0300 200 3500. Then, you will need to answer certain questions. If you are unable to do so, you will need to complete the form cited above.

Can I get a NI number?

What if I lost my National Insurance number?

First, to apply for a NI number, you will need to check that you are eligible. In fact, to do this, you need to both reside and have a right to work in the UK. Second, you need to either have a job offer, or be looking for work currently. 

Furthermore, you may not be eligible to apply for a National Insurance number. This is likely the case for you if one of the following applies, you:

  • Want a National Insurance number to be able to receive benefits or a student loan;
  • Already have a biometric residence permit (BRP) (this is because these have a NI number written on them);
  • Are 19 years old or younger, a UK resident and did not reach out to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) prior to applying;
  • Lost your NI number.
If you lost your National Insurance number, there is another procedure that you can do to get your NI number. This is outlined on the Gov.UK website.

If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP), you do not need to apply for a National Insurance number. This is because you already have one, given that you have a BRP. However, if you do not and expect to work, you may apply for one on the GOV.uk website. However, you also need to reside in the UK.

You may want to receive a student loan or benefits, which is why you are applying for a NI number. However, you do not need one. If you qualify for said benefit or student loan, you will get a National Insurance number. For these, you do not need to provide proof of a National Insurance number.

Are benefits impacted by National Insurance contributions?

Certain benefits are impacted by National Insurance contributions. More specifically, the following:

Benefits impacted by National Insurance contributions in 2022
Benefit name Class 1 contributions (employees) Class 2 contributions (self-employed) Class 3 contributions (voluntary contributions)
Bereavement Support Payment Impacted Impacted Not impacted
Maternity Allowance Impacted Impacted Not impacted
Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Impacted Impacted Not impacted
Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) Impacted Not impacted Not impacted
New State Pension Impacted Impacted Impacted
Additional State Pension Impacted Not impacted Not impacted
Basic State Pension Impacted Impacted Impacted
Then, you will need to pay certain classes of National Insurance contributions to be eligible for certain benefits.

What if I am 19 years or younger?

NI number: am I eligible?

You may be 19 years or younger, and a UK resident. In this case, you should have received a National Insurance number automatically. In fact, this is usually the case within 3 months prior to your 16th birthday. However, both of the following need to apply to you:

  • A Child Benefit form must have been filled out by a parent or guardian (for you);
  • You reside in the UK.

Then, if you are between 16 and 19, what you should do if you did not receive a NI number depends. More specifically, it depends on whether or not a Child Benefit form was filled out for you. Indeed, your parents or guardian may have already done this. Otherwise, you may be unsure.

To check if you have a National Insurance recordphone HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Then, they will be able to tell you if this is the case, or send you a letter with your National Insurance number.

Your parents may not have filled out a Child Benefit form for you. In this case, you can apply for a National Insurance number online. Indeed, you may do this on the GOV.uk website.

Autres questions fréquentes

Robin is a writer for Your Benefits, writing about aids that people may be entitled to. He is currently working on his Master in journalism at the Institut Supérieur de Formation au Journalisme in Lille.

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