U.K. National Insurance? Does that mean health insurance or home insurance? Are we talking about work-enabled insurance here? What exactly is the National Insurance Number (NINO) in the United Kingdom and what is its relevance? How does it matter? What are the benefits? The aforementioned might be some of the questions that your mind decides to brew the second you come across this term: National Insurance Number, in the context of the United Kingdom. Well, fret not. For we are here to resolve all your questions and give you an overview of the National Insurance Number in the UK.
This Blog Includes:
- What is a National Insurance Number?
- Where Can You Find National Insurance Number in UK?
- What Does a National Insurance Number in the UK Look Like?
- International Students and National Insurance Numbers in UK
- When and How to Apply for a National Insurance Number in UK?
- When Does National Insurance Number Come into Use?
What is a National Insurance Number?
In simple terms, it’s a form of identification. What does that mean? First, let’s understand the concept of the National Insurance Number in the UK.
In the UK, if you are a citizen who has the right to work (or are planning to) and wishes to avail of certain benefits and the state pension, has to pay national insurance contributions to qualify for the same.
Who Can Pay this National Insurance?
Not everyone, certainly. As per the official website of the UK government, these are the options:
- An employee earning above £242 (22,236) INR a week.
- self-employed and making a profit of £6,725 (6.13 lacs INR) or more a year.
Where Can You Find National Insurance Number in UK?
It’s not that hard to find your national insurance number in the UK, for you can find the same on the following:
- On your payslip.
- Your P60 [that shows the tax you’ve paid on your salary in the tax year (6 April to 5 April)].
- On letters about your tax, pension or benefits, and in the national insurance section of your tax account.
Do make sure to make a note of your national insurance number in the UK; it is an important identifying unit that makes sure to record your national insurance contributions and tax against your name only. It is also used as a reference number for purposes of social security.
What Does a National Insurance Number in the UK Look Like?
The NINO is made up of letters and numbers. Here’s an example: (MM 15 36 59 B). It is a unique number that belongs solely to the assigned individual and never changes even if you go abroad.
International Students and National Insurance Numbers in UK
As an international student, you can’t have or apply for a national insurance number if you are simply here in the UK on Tier 4 (General) student visa. This does not mean that you can’t work if you don’t have a national insurance number. It just means that you can have the number once you can prove that you have the right to work in the UK and have secured a job.
Moreover, if you have a biometric residence permit (BRP), a national insurance number could be printed on this. According to the University of Exeter, a university in England, “If you don’t have a BRP or have BRP without a National Insurance Number and have the right to work in the UK and have found a job, you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number”.
When and How to Apply for a National Insurance Number in UK?
As mentioned, once international students can prove their right to work in the UK, they can apply for a national insurance number. Moreover, they must live in the UK, are working or have an offer to start the work.
You’ll need to prove your identity and apply online to get a national insurance number. Now, you must be wondering what documents are required in this online application process.
As per the Government of the UK, these are the documents you need when applying for the National Insurance Number:
- A passport from any country.
- A biometric residence permit (BRP).
- A national identity card from an EU country. Or countries can also be Liechtenstein, Norway, and/or Switzerland.
Of course, you can still apply for the same if you don’t have these documents but can prove your identity in person.
When Does National Insurance Number Come into Use?
The National Insurance Number comes into use when the following organisations need the same, per the Government of the UK:
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
- Your employer.
- In case you plan to seek state benefits, contact the Department for Work and Pensions, or Northern Ireland’s Department for Social Development.
- Your local council, perchance you wish to claim Housing Benefits
- When there is a need to check your identity, at the time of registration of voters, via Electoral Registration Officers.
- At the time applying for a student loan, with the help of The Student Loan Company.
- your pension provider (if you have a personal pension or stakeholder)
- your Individual Savings Account (ISA) provider, when you open an ISA
The NI is made up of letters and numbers. Here’s an example: MM 15 36 59 C.
On your payslip, your P60, on letters about your tax, pension or benefits, and in the National Insurance section of your tax account.
No, but you will need a National Insurance Number if you live in the UK and have the right to work in the UK. If you’re also planning to work or pay class 3 voluntary National Insurance contributions, you need to have a National Insurance Number in the UK.
A NINO in the UK is of 6 numbers, 2 letters, and a final letter, which is always A, B, C, or D. Moreover, the first or second letter of the NINO prefix cannot be the characters F, D, V, Q, U, and I.
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