National Insurance and Tax


National insurance and tax

When you have to pay

Students aren't exempt from paying national insurance or income tax.

  • Income tax is deducted from your pay if you earn more than £1,042 a month on average
  • You must pay National Insurance if you earn more than £184 per week
National insurance and tax

National Insurance number

In the UK, every citizen receives a National Insurance number at 16, which is essential for employment. This unique number serves as your account for accurate tax and National Insurance contributions. 

National Insurance is a mandatory government tax deducted from your pay if you earn over £242 per week. Typically, it amounts to around 12% of your income. International students are also required to pay National Insurance contributions, and refunds are not possible. 

If you plan to work while studying in the UK, employers will ask for your National Insurance number to process your wages and make necessary tax and national insurance deductions.

National insurance and tax

Advice for International Students

As a European or International student, you won't have a National Insurance number automatically assigned to you like UK residents do at 16. Here's what you need to do: 

  1. Apply for a National Insurance number once you arrive in the UK. 

  1. Familiarise yourself with applying for National Insurance numbers.

  2. Start the application online.

Jobcentre Plus may invite you for an interview to discuss your circumstances and the need for a National Insurance number. Let them know you're an International student at the University of Salford, seeking work or already working. They will inform you of the required documents to prove your identity, such as a passport, residence permit, birth or adoption certificate, marriage or civil partnership certificate or driving licence.  

You can start working before receiving your National Insurance number if you can prove you have the legal right to work in the UK. Inform your employer that you have applied for one and provide it to them once you receive it. 

Even if you haven't secured a job yet, you can still apply for a National Insurance number. Evidence of actively seeking work, such as Registering on the Careers & Enterprise vacancies database via Advantage or having application forms or letters from recruitment agencies or employers, a pay slip or contract of employment, can support your request. 

For further assistance, visit the  GOV.UK webpage National Insurance: general enquiries or contact the helpline at 0800 141 2079 (open Monday to Friday: 8am to 5pm).

Speak to a Small Business Adviser

Our Small Business Advisers are on hand to help. Book an appointment or call +44 (0)161 295 0023 (option 5).

Appointments are available for current students and graduates of the University of Salford only.