What is a National Insurance Number and how do I get one?
A National Insurance (NI) number is a number unique to you which is used to ensure that you pay the correct amount of tax, together with ensuring your entitlement to the benefits of the UK health system. The number is made up of two letters, six numbers and one letter. It is similar to a Tax File Number in Australia or an IRD number in New Zealand.
One of the greatest myths is the belief that you can't work without an NI number.
This is absolutely untrue. You can still work while waiting for your National Insurance number. Some employers will charge emergency tax which is a flat rate (usually 22%). Your employer may choose to do this so they don't have to guess what your tax amount would be. The good news is that if you are taxed over and above your correct tax amount this is recoverable at the end of the financial year.
Another great myth is the belief that your NI appointment needs to be organised before you leave your home country.
The government agency Job Centre Plus (the organization that issues your NI number) has personally advised 1st Contact that you need to be in the UK with a stamped passport before they can send out forms or confirm bookings for NI appointments. So once you arrive in the UK you can phone Job Centre Plus immediately to get this organised.
As a part of the Kickstart package, you are provided with a National Insurance help guide. The guide details what you need to do when you arrive in the UK and includes the contact details for Job Centre Plus. If you would prefer 1st Contact to arrange your NI Number for you, for a small additional fee, we will sort out all the paperwork and fast track your NI application - see our online Kickstart Package for more details or call the Kickstart team.