If you’re looking for a job in the UK, you’ll probably have heard the term ‘national insurance number.’ It’s important to understand what this is and how to get one (if you don’t already have one). It’s an important part of working life in the UK.
What is a national insurance number?
A national insurance number is a unique number made up of 9 characters (6 letters and 3 numbers). It’s used to make sure you pay the correct amount of tax and national insurance contributions when you start working. Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, you’ll need to pay national insurance contributions. You keep one national insurance number for your entire life. But you should note that a national insurance number isn’t a form of ID.
Who can apply for a national insurance number?
To apply for a national insurance number, you’ll need to be at least 16 years old or over. You also need to live in the UK and have the right to work in the UK. If you’re unemployed, you can still apply for an NI number.
Do you need an NI number to get a job?
No, you can still get a job without a national insurance number. But once you get a job, you’ll need to apply for an NI number. In the meantime, your employer will give you a temporary NI number until your permanent one comes through.
How to apply for a national insurance number
If you’re a UK resident, you’ll automatically receive a national insurance number when you turn 16.
New to the UK
Although it’s not a legal requirement to have a national insurance number, life sure will be easier with one. You can apply via the government website. Applications are usually processed within 8 weeks. To apply, you’ll need one of the following:
- A passport
- A biometric residence permit (BRP)
- A national identity card from an EU country or from Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland
Should you take your NI number to an interview?
It’s not a legal requirement for you to have an NI number. But if you do have one, it’s a good idea to take it to your interview. If your employer wants to offer you the job on the spot, having your NI number handy can speed up the process.
Should you write your NI number on your CV?
It’s not common practice to include your NI number on your CV. Your employer will usually ask you for your NI number once you’re hired.
As we mentioned before, it’s not a legal requirement to have a national insurance number. But the majority of the UK does have an NI number. It makes life much simpler. But don’t worry – if you don’t have an NI number yet, you can still apply for jobs!
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