Problems getting a National Insurance number

Many people are continuously facing problems getting a National Insurance Number (NINO) due to delays in processing applications and Department for Work & Pensions not conducting face to face interviews due to Coronavirus pandemic. Non-issuance of national insurance number can cause trouble in applying for a job, opening a bank account, starting an apprenticeship course, paying class 3 Voluntary national insurance contributions, claiming tax benefits etc.

Problems getting a National Insurance number

In this blog, we will try to give you a clear understanding about the concept of National insurance, its significance and whether a person can still start work, apply for a loan or claim benefits without having a National insurance number.

In this article we cover:

What is a National Insurance number? Why is it necessary for each person to have one?

A national insurance number is a number provided by the UK government to give each person a unique identification in the social security system. It is also used in the UK tax system for claiming tax credits or welfare benefits. National insurance number can be required in the following circumstances –

  1. If you’re applying for a work/job.
  2. If you’re a student and applying for a loan or starting an apprenticeship program.
  3. If you want to open a bank account.
  4. If you’re liable to pay national insurance contributions or wish to pay them voluntarily.
  5. If you want to claim tax credits or welfare benefits like state pension.

Each person most commonly performs these above-mentioned activitiesin their life journey. Therefore, we can say that the National insurance number has its significance, considered vital, and we don’t know when we get a need for it.

How can I apply for National Insurance number?

If you were included in a child benefit claim, you should automatically get a national insurance number, even before your 16th birthday. In case you lose it or forget it, don’t panic. Just open your official documents and you will find the same mentioned there only. For example – Job payslips, tax return, or a PAYE coding notice.

As you know that due to coronavirus, the UK government is not conducting necessary face to face “evidence of identity” interviews and most of the applications are still lying without completion. However, some people can still apply for National Insurance number in the following circumstances where there is no requirement of face to face appointment –

  1. If you’ve entered in the UK on a Visa.
  2. If you’ve applied for National Insurance number in England, Scotland, or wales.

It is expected that the government will provide an online alternative for face to face interviews in early 2021.

Also See: Who can claim Universal Credit during Coronavirus pandemic?

Can I still start my work without a National Insurance number?

Yes, as per the government guidance, you can still work without a National Insurance number if you can prove that you have a right to work in the UK. Make a note that there is no deadline provided by the UK government for the submission of National Insurance Number after you initiate your work. However, even after government guidance, some employers are still not employing individuals without National Insurance Number, which is not correct.

If you’re applying for a job, mention to your employer that you cannot apply for National Insurance number because of the on-going Covid circumstances and will be provided as soon as the UK government issues it.

Not only this, it is vital for you to complete Starter checklist (Leave the National insurance number box blank) so that your employer can add you to their company’s payroll and you can pay your amount of due taxes. An employer can deduct your tax and National Insurance contributions without a National insurance number and submit the same to HMRC. Once National Insurance number is issued to you, please give it to your employer and the employer will send the same to HMRC via their payroll submissions. Then, whatever tax and National Insurance contributions you have already paid via payroll will be matched to your new National insurance number by HMRC.

Also See: How to calculate employers National Insurance for different class?

Can I claim benefits without a National Insurance number?

Yes, you can claim benefits without a National insurance number. If you are making a claim for benefits and do not possess National Insurance number, in that case, this will trigger your application of National Insurance number. The claim will be provided after your identity verification from DWP.

Can I apply for a student loan without a National Insurance number?

When you apply for a student loan, you must have been asked to provide your National Insurance number. The only exception is provided to you in case you’re an EU student.

When will I be able to apply for a National Insurance number?

Till now, there is no information provided by the UK government that when the process of necessary face to face “evidence of identity” interviews will resume and when they will start issuing National insurance numbers.

In case you are having any query or want specialist advice or tips on "How to get a National Insurance number", kindly call us on 03330886686, or you can also e-mail us at

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About the author
Blog Author

Siddharth Agarwal
I am currently pursuing to become a chartered tax advisor and joined DNS in 2014. With more than 7 years of experience in advising owner managed businesses, I deal with a wide spectrum of tax issues, both for company and personal tax. My expertise cover owner managed business taxation issues, company re-organisations, property taxation and succession planning.


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