National Insurance and Tax
You aren’t exempt from paying income tax or national insurance as a student.
- Income tax is deducted from your pay if you earn more than £1042 a month on average
- You must pay National Insurance if you earn more than £183 per week
Every UK citizen is issued with a National Insurance Number (NIN) at the age of 16. Everyone that wants to work in the UK needs to have a NIN. The NIN acts as an account number and makes sure that you pay the correct amount of tax and National Insurance contribution.
National Insurance is a compulsory government tax that is automatically deducted from your pay if you earn more than £157 per week from a job (for the tax year starting in April 2018). National Insurance contributions are usually about 12% of your pay. All employees must pay National Insurance, international students are not excluded. You cannot claim National Insurance contributions back.
If you intend to work while studying in the UK, any employer will require you to provide them with your National Insurance Number (NIN), so that they can pay your wages and make any applicable tax/national insurance deductions.
UK residents are allocated a number automatically at the age of 16; however, being a European or International student, you will not have this number so you will need to apply for one.
- You cannot apply for your NIN until you arrive in the UK
- Check details on applying for National Insurance Numbers and familiarise yourself with the process of applying for National Insurance Numbers
Applying for a NIN
Contact the Jobcentre Plus National Insurance number allocation helpline on Tel: 0800 141 2075 (opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm). Explain that you are an International student at the University of Salford and that you are currently seeking work (or have already started working) and that you want to apply for a National Insurance Number.
Jobcentre Plus may write to you and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.
The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity, such as:
- passport or identity card
- residence permit
- birth or adoption certificate
- marriage or civil partnership certificate
- driving licence
You’ll be told at the interview how long it’ll take to receive your National Insurance number.
You will be asked some very straightforward questions at the appointment as to why you want a NINO, and providing the NINO Office are satisfied you have been looking for work they will submit an application for an NINO on your behalf.
You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you have the legal right to work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it.
You do not necessarily need to have secured a job before applying for a NIN, so long as you can provide evidence that you have been 'actively looking for work' the NIN Office will consider your request for obtaining one and the following will be considered as suitable supporting evidence:
- Register on the Careers & Enterprise vacancies database via Advantage – it logs your details and they can be printed off to show you are looking for work, plus it’s a great sources of part-time job opportunities
- An application form that you are going to complete to apply for a job.
- A letter from a recruitment agency or consultancy which shows that you have registered with them to find work.
- A letter from an employer which states that you are being offered a job or that you have been unsuccessful in applying for a job.
- A pay slip or contract of employment.
You can find help with National Insurance related queries here or via the enquiries helpline on 0300 200 3500 (Open Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm & Saturday: 8am to 4pm).