Getting a National Insurance Number
A National Insurance (NI) number is a unique number allocated to you to identify you while you are in the UK. It ensures that the HM Revenue & Customs and the Department of Work and Pensions are able to track the contributions you've made to the UK social security and state pension system.
Anyone who wants to work in the UK will need to get a National Insurance number. You will need to quote your NI number to every employer you have while in the UK and NI contributions will be taken each time you are paid. If you don't have an NI number, you will be required to contribute more than normal in NI payments so it's wise to get your NI number as soon after arriving in the UK as possible.
How To Apply
If you want to apply for an NI number you need to call JobCentre Plus at 0845 600 0643 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday). The phone line is often busy, so stick with it and you will get through eventually. Jobcentre Plus will arrange an Evidence of Identity (EOI) interview with you to confirm you are who you say you are and verify that you are eligible to work in the UK. When you call them they will give you a date and time for the interview and go over what you need to bring with you. Take as many identity documents with you as you have such as a passport, national identity card, drivers license, birth certificate, marriage certificate and so on. They will schedule your interview at your nearest JobCentre office. One you have attended your EOI interview you will receive your NI number 6 to 8 weeks later.
Secure Your NI Number with 1st Contact Easy NINO
People who are working and don't yet have a National Insurance number will be taxed at a much higher emergency rate. To avoid this, it makes sense to get your NI number as soon as possible after arriving. Unfortunately, the process can sometimes take many months and can be time-consuming.
1st Contact offers an Easy National Insurance service for £30 (or £17.50 if bought in conjunction with the Kickstart pack). The friendly NINO team at 1stContact will do all the hard work for you such as registering your details with the DWP, arrange for the signature application form to be posted out to you or alternatively and booking your Evidence of Identity interview, depending on the passport you are travelling on. They check the application form is accurate before submitting and will also provide you with a letter of employment if you haven’t started working yet.
National Insurance Rebates
As working holidaymakers are likely to return to their home countries well before retirement age, it doesn't make sense to pay into the UK's retirement plan. This is where some of your NI contributions go but it is possible to rebate some of the money and have it put into your home country's retirement scheme. You don't have to contribute anything extra to do this; you are simply choosing to direct your funds to your own personal pension fund which will be set up as part of this NI refund process. The UK government will not allow you to take a refund in cash, but they do want you to be able to use this money towards your own retirement in your home country.
Any foreigner working in the UK who plans to return home should be eligible and would be wise to divert this money into their own private pension. Once you have applied for a National Insurance Rebate you do not need to reapply again - your NI Rebate will be automatically credited to your stakeholder pension plan annually. You can apply for your NI rebate online and the service is free.
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