National Insurance Number

IMPORTANT FACTS – What is a National Insurance number? 

Your National Insurance number is your own personal account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

 IMPORTANT FACTS – What will I need my National Insurance number for?

  • To claim benefits and/or tax credits
  • When starting work or setting up as self-employed
  • To apply for a student loan

Although you need to have a National Insurance number, you don’t need to have the plastic National Insurance number card.

VIDEO– Watch this funny advert from 1948 telling people to remember their National Insurance Number. It’s still as important for people to know their NI number today.

IMPORTANT FACTS – How do I get a National Insurance number? – 


You’ll be sent a National Insurance number automatically just before your 16th birthday if both of the following apply:

  • you live in the UK
  • your parents or guardians are getting Child Benefit for you

If you’re between 16 and 20 years old and haven’t received a National Insurance number contact the National Insurance Registrations Helpline – details here.


If you don’t receive a National Insurance number automatically then you will need to apply for one through Jobcentre Plus. You can call them on 0845 600 0643 (lines are open 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday). They will either arrange an ‘Evidence of identity’ interview for you or send you a postal application. It may take up to 12 weeks to get your National Insurance number.

What if I have lost my National Insurance number?

If you’ve lost or can’t remember your number, you might be able to find it on official paperwork like:

  • your P60 (end of year tax statement, given to you by your employer)
  • a payslip
  • a copy of your annual Self-Assessment tax return
  • other official correspondence

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

  • completing and returning this form.
  • contacting the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 (lines open from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday). HMRC cannot confirm your National Insurance number by telephone. They will write to you instead.

What if I have lost my National Insurance number card?

HMRC no longer issues replacement National Insurance cards. You don’t need to have a card – it’s the number that’s important.