National insurance contributions (NIC) - What is a national insurance number?

National insurance is a tax on your earnings. This guide covers some basic information about NIC.

What is a national insurance number?

Your national Insurance (NI) number is unique to you throughout your life but it is not a form of identity. It is made up of two letters, six numbers and a final letter.

Everyone who wants to work in the UK must have a . To obtain a , you must be 16 or over and resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. 

You can start work without one but you must then apply for a national insurance number immediately. The law requires you to apply for NI number if you do not already have one and you are working or are intending to work.

To claim some benefits you will need to have a . If you do not have one, you should submit the claims for the benefit anyway and should ask that you are issued a . If the (DWP) refuses to issue one or delays your benefit claim you should get advice.

Reviewed: January 2022


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