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National Insurance

The National Insurance System is run by the UK government to oversee benefits, such as state pensions, healthcare, child benefits and unemployment. Everyone who works or claims benefits in the UK must have a National Insurance (NI) number.

UK citizens and residents are issued with a National Insurance Number when they are 16.  You should apply for a NI number if:
•   you or your partner will be making a claim for benefit for you,
•   you have started or are about to start work,
•   you are self-employed, or
•   you want to pay voluntary NI contributions and would benefit from paying them. 

There are two ways of applying for a National Insurance Number:

1.   Via 'the fast path' for employers who are applying for a work permit under Business and Commercial Sector Tier 1 or Tier 2. This process  means that a postal National Insurance number application form can be completed by the employer and employee,  avoiding the need of an interview. For more information on the fast path schemes contact: Fast Path Internet Enquiries, tel: 0845 641 5047, 

2.   Calling the National Insurance Number Allocation Service: tel 0845 600 0643 , Monday to Friday.
When contacting the NI allocation line, you will receive an appointment for an interview.  At the interview, you will be asked questions about who you are and why you want an NI number.
When you are told the date of your interview, you will be also told what information or evidence to bring with you. The information or evidence you need to bring depends on why you need the NI number.

Once the forms have been completed you will be issued with a National Insurance Number. It can take up to 14 weeks before you receive it. Give your employer a copy of the temporary letter confirming that you have applied for the number .

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