Getting a Job: Your National Insurance Number

When you picked up your biometric residency permits after arriving in the UK, you may have noticed that the employed partner has been assigned a National Insurance (NI) number but you haven’t. If you want to work in the UK, you’ll need one of these, but it’s pretty easy to get in my experience.

First, clarification: your NI number is not the same thing as your NHS number. I associate health care with insurance, so it took awhile for me to sort this out. Think of it as the UK’s version of a Social Security Number. I don’t think it maps exactly, but close enough. You need it so that the taxes that are withheld from your paycheck are associated with you, and while you’t don’t need it to get a job, you will need it soon after you start working.

The bad news? You can’t apply for this online. But it’s still an easy process.

First, you call the number listed on this site. They’ll ask for your address, and a couple of other questions. Within about a week or so you’ll receive a paper application to complete. It’s straightforward; you just need to include copies of your passport, visa, and biometric residency permit (there are instructions included). You mail that all in and either you’ll get called in for an interview, or you’ll just receive a letter with your NI number included.

I didn’t have to go through the interview process, so I’m not sure what that involves.

If getting a job in the UK is high on your list, consider calling for that application as soon as you have your address. You can get the process moving quickly and hopefully have your NI number within the month.

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