What is a National Insurance

National Insurance (NI) is a contributory insurance scheme to build up your individual entitlements to certain state benefits, namely:

  1. Basic State Pension
  2. Additional State Pension (Second State Pension)
  3. Jobseeker’s Allowance
  4. Employment and Support Allowance
  5. Maternity Allowance
  6. Bereavement benefits

Usually, you have your own lifetime account number called National Insurance Number (NIN) to make sure that your National Insurance contributions are correctly recorded. As a rule, you will receive your NIN automatically before your 16th birthday provided you live in the UK and your parents get Child Benefit for you.

If you do not have a National Insurance number, you should apply to Jobcentre Plus for it as soon as possible, since NIN is indispensable to start work or to set up a business as well as to claim benefits. Jobcentre Plus will inform you about the date, time and location of your interview and what kind of documentation is required to process your application.

It may take up to 12 weeks to grant your application. After that, you will normally receive a plastic card with your personal National Insurance Number (NIN).

If you would have any problems or if you would like to discuss any issues related to your National Insurance Number (NIN), please call us on +44 (0) 20 7060 7326 or send an email to

Help and advice
We have tried to answer as many common questions as possible on these pages, but if you do require further assistance
or have any other questions then please give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7060 7326 and we will be happy to help.