Moving to London is quite the adventure, and you’re probably excited to be doing something like this. You’ll gain lots of life experience, above all else, and of course, you’ll probably have a lot of fun, amongst the career, or course of study you’ve chosen.
There are, of course, a number of practical things new Londoners need to accomplish once you’ve made the journey. One of those things is acquiring a national insurance number, especially if you’ve a work visa, or have otherwise acquired the right to work in the UK.
What the National Insurance Number (NINO) Is, And How To Obtain It
If you are coming from the States, you might not quite understand what the NINO is, and how it works. It’s a system of taxes that provide for certain state benefits, which can include illness, unemployment, bereavement and maternity, among others.
Like your US Social Security number, you can locate the NINO on your payslips, among other official documents, so don’t worry too much about losing it. And like your US number, don’t give your NINO to people who do not need to see it. This way you prevent identity fraud.
You can obtain a NINO in two main ways:
1) Apply for a NINO by phone. You can find the number on www.gov.uk, for easy reference.
2) If you are planning on working, studying, and living in the UK for longer than six months, or applying for an extended stay, or even settling in the UK, you’ll need a biometric residence permit, on which you’ll receive your NINO.
Who Needs Your NINO?
Here is a brief list of people and organisations who will need your NINO:
- Your employer. You can start work without a NINO, but you need to apply for the number as promptly as you can, then once you have it, give it to your employer.
- HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
- The Student Loan Company, should you wish to apply for a student loan.
- Your local council, if you need to claim Housing Benefit.
- Electoral Registration Officers will need it to check identity when you complete voting registration.
You may be contacted by JobCentre Plus via letter for an interview concerning your application, to discuss your current circumstances and why you need a NINO. The letter you receive will request that you bring specific documents to prove your identity, such as the following:
- Passport or ID card.
- Residence permit
- Birth/adoption certificate
- Marriage/civil partnership certificate
- Driving licence
The interviewer will let you know when to expect your National Insurance number.
This information should help you and other new Londoners get started with the NINO application process, and don’t worry too much if there are things you still don’t quite understand at first. Acclimating to a new system may take time, of course, and while you have the Internet at your fingertips for basic answers, there’s also no harm in getting in-person clarification from those around you, and you might end up making friends as a result of reaching out.