What is National Insurance Number?

A National Insurance Number, also known as the NI, is a unique identification number used in the United Kingdom, in the administration of National Insurance. It can be described as a Personal Account Number, and is sometimes referred to as NI, No. or NINO.

National insurance overview

What do National Insurance numbers start with?

The National Insurance numbers consists of 9 digits which comprise two letters in the prefix, followed by 6 digits and one letter in the suffix, like DD 123456 H. One can find his/her NINO on any official paperwork like National Insurance Card, pay-slips, and letters from official bodies like Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (THE HMRC). For students, this number is generally mentioned on individual's university registration details, and also on official letters received from the respective universities. Since this number is permanent for an individual, it provides a detailed insight into the person holding this number, while enabling verification and validation of information pertaining to such individual.

Why do I need a NINO?

As per the National Insurance Act of 1911, any person, above 16 years of age, whether employed with an organization, or self–employed, is statutorily required to have a NINO. Contributions made towards national insurance and taxes are recorded against an individual's NINO, which is further a deciding factor when it comes to availing various benefits based on the total contribution made towards it. The time and amount of payment required to be made is decided by the HMRC.

On retirement, such individual shall be required to furnish NINO to avail benefits depending on the contributions made and the class he/she falls into. As per the HMRC, an individual may be categorized under the following classes and the benefits associated with each class are mentioned in the adjacent columns:

National Insurance class Individual Criteria Payment Criteria
Class 1 Employees earning more than £166 a week + under State Pension age No payment required. Amount deducted Automatically by the employer.
Class 1A or 1B Employed Paid directly by the employer on employee's benefits/expenditures
Class 2 Self-employed If earnings less than £6,365 p.a., payment required Voluntary contributions can be made by anyone
Class 3 Voluntary Contributions Paid to fill/avoid gaps in National Insurance record
Class 4 Self-employed earning profits over £8,164 p.a.
Each class can avail the following benefits against its contribution towards the National Insurance Fund:-
Benefit Class 1 : Employees Class 2 : Self – Employed Class 3: Voluntary Contributions
Basic State Pension Yes Yes Yes
Additional State Pension Yes No No
New State Pension Yes Yes Yes
Contribution based – Jobseeker's Allowance Yes No No
Contribution Based – Employment and Support Allowance Yes Yes No
Maternity Allowance Yes Yes No
Bereavement Benefits Yes Yes Yes
NINO can be asked by the following authorities:-
  1. The HMRC
  2. Employer
  3. Department for Work and Pensions, including Job_Centre Plus and Pension, Disability Service
  4. Student Loan companies, if applicable
  5. For Voting

How to Apply for a National Insurance number?

You must have the right to work or study in the UK to become eligible to apply for your first National Insurance Number. NINO is generally sent by the HMRC just prior to the 16th birthday of the individual if he/she, is born in the UK itself. In case you haven't got one and you are under 20 years of age, then there are various ways to apply for a NINO which are as follows one:

  • National Insurance Helpline Numbers
  • Applying Online on The HMRC Website

uk general election

Apply by phone for a National Insurance number:

National Insurance number application line

Telephone: 0800 141 2075

Textphone: 0800 141 2438

Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm

Welsh language: 0800 141 2349

Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 5pm

Find out about call charges

To apply for benefits without a National Insurance number, contact Jobcentre Plus instead.

Click here to obtain a National Insurance Number. What will you do if you’ve lost your NI number?

Do I Need to Apply for National Insurance Number if I am moving to the UK?

You don’t need to apply for a National Insurance number if you already have one, or one is printed on your BRP.

In case you do not have a National Insurance number, you must apply for it. If you’re moving to UK and applying for national insurance number it is must to have the right to work or study in the UK.

Can I Start Working without a National Insurance number?

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You can inform to your employer that you’ve applied for the NI number, and provide them once you get it.

National Insurance number interview

Jobcentre Plus may write to you and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.

The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity, such as:

  • passport or identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

I turned 16 and didn’t get NI number, What Should I do?

Generally the National Insurance number is sent to you right before your 16th birthday if you are a citizen of UK.

Anyhow, if you didn’t get it, call the National Insurance number helpline if you’re under 20.

Call the National Insurance number application line if you’re over 20.

How to obtain Lost National Insurance Number?

In case you have lost your NINO, you should contact HMRC on their national insurance helpline number on 0300 200 3500 to obtain Lost National Insurance Number. You can also complete the online form on the HMRC website. Here's the detailed post on "How to Find Lost National Insurance Number?".

Understanding National Insurance Credits & Carer's Credits

What are National Insurance credits?

Due to various reasons, you might need to stay out of work or job and not able to make national insurance contributions. Regardless of the reason, National Insurance credits are there to help you maintain your National Insurance record.

You may be able to get National Insurance credits if you're not paying National Insurance. Credits can help to fill gaps in your National Insurance record.

How To Obtain A National Insurance Number

What is Carer's Credit?

It is a National Insurance credit that helps with gaps in your National Insurance record.

You are eligible to get Carer's credit if you're putting 20 or more hours a week in caring for someone. Your income, savings or investments won't affect eligibility for Carer's Credit.

Applies to: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Age rules: You must be 16 or over but under state pension age

Check your National Insurance record

You can check your National Insurance record online to see:

  • Your paid amount
  • National Insurance credits

You'll need a Government Gateway account to check your National Insurance record online. You can get the one if you don't have the one.

If you've paid National Insurance in the Isle of Man, you'll need to email the National Insurance office in the Isle of Man to find out how much you've paid.

Isle of Man National Insurance office

nationalinsurance.itd@gov.im

You can also write via post on below mentioned address:

National Insurance contributions,

Income Tax Division,

Government Office,

Bucks Road,

Douglas,

Isle of Man,

IM1 3TX

Check your National Insurance record by Phone:

You can request a printed National Insurance statement by making a call to HMRC National Insurance helpline:

LINE HELPLINE NUMBER
Telephone 0300 200 3500
Telephone 0300 200 3319
OUTSIDE UK: +44 191 203 7010

Opening Hours:

Day Timings
Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm
Saturday 8am to 4pm
Sunday closed
*Closed on Sunday and Bank Holidays

Claim a National Insurance Refund

claim a national insurance refund

You can claim a refund on your National Insurance contributions from HMRC.
Claim now

Defer your National Insurance

Do you have more than one job? If yes, you may be able to defer (delay) paying Class 1 National Insurance.

You can defer national insurance if any of these is true in your case:

  • you pay Class 1 NI with more than one employer
  • you earn £866 or more per week from one job over the tax year
  • you earn £1,023 or more per week from more than one job over the tax year

Note: If you're self-employed, you can't defer Class 4 contributions any more. Though, you may still be able to claim a refund for previous tax years.

How to defer

To defer National Insurance, you will have to send form CA72A before:

  • 14 February 2020 if you’re employed
  • 31 January 2020 if you’re self-employed

Paying deferred National Insurance

In order to pay deferred national insurance, you are required to send your payslip and a cheque to HMRC.

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

Get proof of employment history

You can ask HMRC to provide you the details of your employment history.

You can do this yourself or hire a solicitor or tax agent to get this done for you You'll need to fill in the application form and send it to HMRC, with a signed cover letter. You can find the postal address on the form itself.

Form to Get Employment History Proof

National Insurance rates and categories

This table shows how much employers deduct from employees' pay for the 2019 to 2020 tax year.

Category letter £118 to £166 a week (£512 to £719 a month) £166.01 to £962 a week (£719.01 to £4,167 a month) Over £962 a week (£4,167 a month)
A 0% 12% 2%
B 0% 5.85% 2%
C N/A N/A N/A
H 0% 12% 2%
J 0% 2% 2%
M 0% 12% 2%
Z 0% 2% 2%

Employer National Insurance rates

This table shows how much employers pay towards employees' National Insurance for the 2019 to 2020 tax year.

Category letter £118 to £166 a week (£512 to £719 a month) £166.01 to £962 a week (£719.01 to £4,167 a month) Over £962 a week (£4,167 a month)
A 0% 13.80% 13.80%
B 0% 13.80% 13.80%
C 0% 13.80% 13.80%
H 0% 0% 13.80%
J 0% 13.80% 13.80%
M 0% 0% 13.80%
Z 0% 0% 13.80%

Important Links:

Employer National Insurance Calculator.
How to get up to £2,000 off your Class 1 NICs.

Pay Class 2 National Insurance if you don't pay through Self Assessment

If you are self-employed, then you will need to make Class 2 National Insurance contributions to avail benefits like the State Pension.

2019 to 2020 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017 2015 to 2016
Small Profits Threshold amount per year £6,365 £6,025 £5,965 -
Small earnings exception' amount per year Self-employed people start paying Class 2 NI N/A N/A N/A Abolished
Rate per week £3.00 £2.85 £2.80 £2.80

HMRC will send you a bill by the end of October. If you don't receive bill by then, you should immediately contact HMRC through newly self-employed helpline:

DEPARTMENT HELPLINE NUMBER
Telephone 0300 200 3500
Textphone: 0300 200 3319
OUTSIDE UK: +44 191 203 7010

Opening Hours:

Day Timings
Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm
Saturday 8am to 4pm
Sunday Closed
*Closed on Sunday and Bank Holidays

Have you missed the deadlines?

You might have to pay extra money to fill the gap in your National Insurance record. This amount will be provided to you by HMRC.

Pay your voluntary Class 3 National Insurance bill.

Class 3 voluntary National Insurance is usually paid to fill gaps in your contributions record and become eligible to avail various types of benefits including State Pension.

To check if you qualify for voluntary class 3 national insurance, you need to ask HMRC and they will let you know about your eligibility & amount you need to pay if you qualify.

Class 3 National Insurance rates (voluntary)

£ per week 2019 to 2020 2018 to 2019 2017 to 2018 2016 to 2017
Class 3 rate £15 £14.65 £14.25 £14.10

How to pay voluntary class 3 national insurance:

You can pay monthly via Direct Debit. If you wish to make payment through any other medium, you may contact HMRC and ask for alternative ways. HMRC will send you a bill every July, October, January and April

Payroll for female employees who pay less National Insurance

A female employee may be able to contribute less towards National Insurance if she provides a 'certificate of election form' to employer.

If a female employee is entitled to pay less National Insurance, employers are required to put the right National Insurance category letter in her payroll record.

Checking employee's entitlement

Employers can accept one of the following forms:

  • CA4139
  • CF383
  • CF380A - if employee has worked for you continuously since 5 April 1980

In case if employee is not able to provide a valid form, she should apply for one by sending HMRC a completed CF9 form (if she's married) or CF9A form (for widows).

If your employee stops paying less National Insurance

She should call the National Insurance helpline Numbers.

LINE HELPLINE NUMBER
Telephone 0300 200 3500
Textphone: 0300 200 3319
OUTSIDE UK: +44 191 203 7010

Opening time

Day Timings
Monday to Friday 8am to 10pm
Saturday 8am to 4pm
Sunday Closed
*Closed on Sunday and Bank Holidays

Reduced rate National Insurance for married women

The reduced national insurance rate for married women is 5.85% of your weekly earnings between £166.01 and £962 (instead of the standard rate of 12%) if you're employed.

If you're self-employed

You don't pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions if you opted in before the scheme ended

Stop paying the reduced rate

Once you give up your right to pay the reduced rate, you can't claim it again.

Fill in form CF9, or form CF9A if you're a widow, and send it to HMRC on below mentioned address:

National Insurance contributions and Employers Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN

Self-employed National Insurance rates

You usually pay 2 types of National Insurance if you're self-employed:

  • Class 2 if your profits are £6,365 or more a year
  • Class 4 if your profits are £8,632 or more a year

You work out your profits by deducting your expenses from your self-employed income.

How much you pay

Class Rate for tax year 2019 to 2020
Class 2 £3 a week
Class 4 9% on profits between £8,632 and £50,000 2% on profits over £50,000

How to pay

You can pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance through Self-Assessment..

Voluntary National Insurance

Voluntary National Insurance Rates for the 2019 to 2020 tax year:

  • £3 a week for Class 2
  • £15 a week for Class 3

If you're a man born after 5 April 1951 or a woman born after 5 April 1953

You'll pay different rates if you pay voluntary contributions by 5 April 2019 to make up for gaps between April 2006 and April 2016.

Your contribution What it covers Rate you pay until 5 April 2020
Class 2 Gaps between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2011 £3 a week
Class 2 Gaps between 6 April 2011 and 5 April 2016 Rate from the year your contribution covers
Class 3 Gaps between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2010 £15 a week
Class 3 Gaps between 6 April 2010 and 5 April 2016 Rate from the year your contribution cover

NINO - Summarized

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Every individual residing in the UK and above 16 years of age must have a NINO, which is unique and remains with the individual throughout his/her stay in the UK. NINO is used by the government to record the tax and national insurance paid by citizens and is later utilized to decide on the various state benefits one can avail, such as free medical services etc.

THE HMRC is the governing body for NINO and it maintains all the necessary data pertaining to NINO. As a general practice followed in the UK, NINO is mentioned in all the government correspondence, pay-slips, university registration details, student loan application form etc.

Since, it is mandatory for every individual to have one, if it is lost, the above mentioned actions can be taken to get one from THE HMRC. However, one can opt for retrieving the lost NINO only once. There are various helpline numbers which are available to reach the HMRC and Job_Centre Plus to assist you to apply for the lost NINO.

So, best is to save your NINO somewhere safely on your mail. THE HMRC does not send national insurance card, but they do send the NINO by post.

Related Posts

National Insurance Contributions: Benefiting with Form P11D
National Insurance Contributions: Benefitting with Form P9D
Employer national insurance rates 2016/17
Reduced Rate National Insurance Contributions for Married Women

Important National Insurance Contribution Rates

Class 1 NICs: Employee and employer rates and thresholds (£ per week)

  Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Weekly Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) £118 £116
Weekly Primary Threshold (PT) £166 £162
Weekly Secondary Threshold (ST) £166 £162
Upper Earnings Limit (UEL) £962 £892
Upper Secondary Threshold for under 21s £962 £892
Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold (AUST) for under 25s £962 £892
Employment Allowance (per employer) £3,000 £3,000

Employee’s (primary) Class 1 contribution rates 2019/2020

National Insurance category letter Earnings at or above LEL up to and including PT Earnings above the PT up to and including UEL Balance of earnings above UEL
A 0% 12% 2%
B 0% 5.85% 2%
C nil nil nil
H (Apprentice under 25) 0% 12% 2%
J 0% 2% 2%
M (under 21) 0% 12% 2%
Z (under 21 - deferment) 0% 2% 2%
Married woman’s reduced rate for (primary) Class 1 contribution rates Tax year 2019-20
Weekly earnings from between the PT and UEL 5.85
Weekly earnings from above UEL 2
Employer’s (secondary) Class 1 contribution rates Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Earnings band
Below ST 0 0
Above ST 13.80% 13.80%
Employer’s (secondary) Class 1 contribution rates for employees under 21 Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Earnings band
Below UST 0 0
Above ST 13.80% 13.80%
Employer’s (secondary) Class 1 contribution rates for Apprentices under 25 Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Earnings band
Below AUST 0 0
Above AUST 13.80% 13.80%

Class 2 NICs: Self-employed rates and thresholds (£ per week)

Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018 to 2019
Small Profits Threshold (SPT) £6,365 per year £6,205 per year
Class 2 contribution rates Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Annual Profits (£ a year) £ per week £ per week
Below SPT 0 0
Above SPT £3 £2.95
Special Class 2 rate for fishermen £3.65 £3.60
Special Class 2 rate for volunteer development workers £5.90 £5.80

Class 3 NICs: Other rates and thresholds (£ per week)

Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Voluntary contributions £15 £14.65

Class 4 NICs: Self-employed rates and thresholds (£ per year)

Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Lower Profits Limit (LPL) £8,632 £8,424
LUpper Profits Limit (UPL) £50,000 £46,350
Class 4 contribution rates Tax year 2019-20 Tax year 2018-19
Annual profits band NIC rate (per cent) NIC rate (per cent)
Below LPL 0 0
LPL to UPL 9% 9%
Above UPL 2% 2%

National Insurance Helpline Number for General Enquiry & Advice:

Telephone:
0300 200 3500

Textphone:
0300 200 3519

Outside UK:
+44 191 203 7010

Opening times:
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
Saturday: 8am to 4pm

Closed Sundays and bank holidays.

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