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How to work without a NIN in the UK?

29 Nov 2016 - Category: Blog /
National Insurance Number Card

As you may know, you need a National Insurance Number to work in the UK. The number ensures that National Insurance contributions and the tax that you pay is recorded and linked to your identity. It’s a pretty important number!

However, it can take some time to receive a NIN. In the meantime, from the moment you have requested it and until you are officially granted one, are you allowed to work?

The answer is yes. But there are a few things you need to learn before you start working. We know how important it is for immigrants to be able to work freely, which is why we’ve put together a brief guide on how to deal with NIN issues. So you can start working without any worries and help support yourself and your family.

In this blog we’ll explore how you can work in the UK without a NIN, the things you need to do to get a NIN and what the whole experience might be like for immigrants.

Working without a NIN

First of all, to be assigned with an NIN you should request an appointment by telephone for a personal interview. This means you will not be able to start up the process until you have arrived in the UK. However, a wise thing to do is to call from your home country and request an appointment to cut down the waiting time. With enough time, you can schedule an appointment for a few days after your arrival and get your NIN in a period of 2 weeks.

Some things to remember:

  • If you find a job before having your NIN, you can be hired as long as you are qualified to work in the UK without a working permit, that is i.e, if you have a European passport. In this case, your employer will ask you to request one as soon as possible. In the meantime, he or she could register you in the company under the “emergency tax code”.
  • Codes are assigned by the HMRC and indicate how much money the employer needs to allocate to pay incomes and your social security.
  • The tax codes depend on your marital status, age, income and if you have contributed earlier to the social security, amongst other things
  • The “emergency tax code” implies that your employer might not be withholding the correct amounts for taxes and social security, as this is a generic code. You might be paying more or less than you actually should. That is why it is crucial to show your NIN, as soon as you have one, to your employer.
  • As soon as you receive your first payroll after getting an NIN, the pertinent amendments will be done.

So now you know that you can work temporarily without an NIN number as long as you can demonstrate that you can legally work in the United Kingdom and that it is very important to get one as soon as possible and give it to your employer so that your retention is correct.

Remember:You do not need to pay National Insurance or get a number if you have either: a certificate or document that proves you pay social security contributions in the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you have a certificate from a country that has a social security agreement with the UK you’re fine when it comes to National Insurance.

Apply for a National Insurance Number

You can apply here for a national insurance number.

The government's official website provides a simple step-by-step guide to setting up your NIN so that you can start working in the UK as soon as possible. It’s easy to get a NIN online, so you can apply whenever you’re ready.

To be eligible you need to live in the UK and have the right to work in the UK. And as explained earlier, you must also be looking for work or have an offer to start work in the UK. If you have already started working you can still apply.

You need to prove your identity in order to get a National Insurance number. If you have any of the following documents, you can use them when you apply:

  • a passport from any country
  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)

You can also use a national identity card from:

  • a country in the EU
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland

Even if you don’t have these passports or identity cards you still have options. You can still apply if you do not have any of these documents but you may need to attend an appointment to prove your identity. The questions during these appointments are quite simple and usually concern your employment and living status.

If you started this blog thinking “I don’t have a national insurance number!”, then hopefully you now have a good idea how to get one and why you need to get one as soon as possible. Ideally, the period between working and finally getting your NIN shouldn’t be too long. Once you have a NIN you can rest assured that your all your tax and National insurance contributions are being recorded and formally connected to your official identity.

Find my NI number

What if “I can’t remember my national insurance number!”

Don’t worry. So you’ve gone through all the steps above and you’ve applied for and received a NIN. But some time has passed and you can’t remember your NI number and you need to find it. Thankfully, it should be quite easy to find your NIN.

The simplest place to find your NI number is on any official documents you’ve received. Hopefully you’ve kept a record of these documents. If so, you’ll be able to find your National Insurance number on your payslip, P60, or letters about tax, pensions and benefits. If you’re already working in the UK you will have received at least one of these kinds of documents, and it is there that you can find your NI number.

“What if I can’t find any of these documents?” Well, thankfully there are a couple options open to people you have completely misplaced their NI number.

If you still cannot find your NIN, you can either:

Once you’ve found your NIN you’ll be able to work and fill out any employment admin forms without any trouble.

Use Small World

Our money transfer services provide a simple and safe way to send money overseas. This service will be especially important for people who have just received their NIN and want to start sending regular instalments home to loved ones.

With Small World you can transfer funds via bank deposit (transfer money abroad instantly to bank accounts in over 90 countries), cash pickup (send money to over 250,000 pickup locations)  or mobile top up among other options.

Use Small World to unlock your financial freedom and support your loved ones back home.

Your first transfer is always fee free online with us!


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