Obtaining a national insurance number

This section of the website is focused on obtaining a national insurance number, it covers:


  • Basics

  • Why do I need it?

  • How do I get one?

Get started below.

The government department of HM Revenue and Customs issues national insurance numbers to people living in the UK. You are given a National Insurance number to make sure your national insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name only.  It is sometimes called an NI number. It is best to get a national insurance number as soon as possible and most people get a national insurance number just before they turn 16 year old.


It is made up of letters and numbers and never changes.

Why do you need it?


You will need a national insurance number for the following:


  • If you get a job

  • If you want to apply for benefits

  • If you want to apply for a student loan


There are other times you will also need it.


You can start a job without a national insurance number but will need to prove that you have the right to work and you will need to provide a national insurance number to get paid.


How do I get one?


Children who are looked after by local authorities do not automatically get sent a national insurance number.  


Your social worker can apply for a national insurance number for you. They can apply when you are 15 years and 9 months old.  They need to explain in a letter that they are applying for a number for a looked after child and they must give your contact details.

Your social worker must also include:

  • a statement that they're a social worker applying for a National Insurance number for a looked after child

  • your child’s full name

  • any previous names you have used

  • your date of birth

  • the date you went into care

  • your current residential address

  • the contact details of the social worker who has written the letter

If possible, the letter should also include:

  • any previous addresses (such as your parent’s old address or your last address before you were taken into care)

  • a photocopy of any of the following:

    • your birth certificate

    • your Care Order

    • the ID page of your passport

The application must be sent to:


PT Operations North East England

HM Revenue and Customs



HMRC will then send you a letter confirming your national insurance number.

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