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National Insurance Numbers

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 mount of tax and National Insurance contribution.

Yes. 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.

National Insurance is a compulsory government tax that is automatically deducted from your pay if you earn more than £155 per week from a job (for the tax year starting in April 2016). National Insurance contributions are usually about 12% of your pay.

You can earn up to £155 a week (2016-17) before you pay any National Insurance contributions. All employees must pay National Insurance, international students are not excluded. You cannot claim National Insurance contributions back.

  • Sign up for one of the ‘Working in the UK’ sessions held during Welcome Week:  The ‘Working in the UK’ workshop is specifically for EU and international students and will provide you with important information about National Insurance Numbers and how to look part-time work whilst you’re studying.
  • Check details on applying for National Insurance Numbers and familiarise yourself with the process of applying for National Insurance Numbers
  • You cannot apply for your NIN until you arrive in the UK

How do I apply for a NIN?

Contact The National Insurance Office on Tel: 0345 600 0643. You will hear an automated statement. You will then be put through to a person who will deal with your request for a National Insurance Number. 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.

You will be asked a range of questions and an appointment will be booked for you to visit a local Jobcentre to collect your National Insurance Number.

  • You will need to take the following documents:
  • Your passport
  • Confirmation of your student status eg your university student identification card or letter from your faculty office
  • Two official documents as proof of your UK accommodation address eg bank account/credit card/mobile phone statement, gas/electricity bill, a letter from your landlord/your tenancy agreement – they must be originals
  • An offer of employment letter from your employer. Failing this, any documents/evidence that will confirm you have been looking for work (see details below).

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.

No.  - 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 and Employability 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. Go to vacancies for more details.
  • 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.

What happens after the interview?

You will wait approximately 3 - 4 weeks before receiving your NIN, but you can work using a temporary number while your application is being processed. An employer cannot refuse to allow you to start work if you can provide evidence that you have applied for a permanent NIN and are just waiting to receive it.

Some employers will allow you to work using a temporary NIN rather than apply for a permanent one and this is acceptable.

Your local Jobcentre Plus can help you with NIN related queries.