If you’re planning on working in the United Kingdom and you’re over 16 years of age, you’ll probably have to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions.
NI contributions cover a range of benefits available to UK residents including the state pension and maternity leave. Your employer deducts NI from your paycheque and pays it to the government on your behalf.
We discussed how much NI you must pay in a recent post about UK taxes, but to recap it’s 12% on weekly earnings between £157 and £866 and 2% on any amount above that. You don’t pay NI on the first £157 you earn. However, expats from some countries, like the Philippines, are exempt from NI contributions thanks to bilateral agreements with the UK. You can find the full list here.
You have to apply for an NI number to make sure your contributions are recorded accurately. So in today’s post, we’ll take you through the different steps in the application process.
Before you start
You can only apply for an NI number once you arrive in the UK. You can start working before you get your number, but you must have the appropriate permission, such as an Immigration Status Document. If you begin your new job before your number arrives, let your employer know your application is pending and share it when you receive it. ;
Bear in mind, you may not need to apply at all if you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), as you’re automatically assigned an NI number with a BRP (it should be printed on the back of your permit).
How to apply
The first step in the application process is to call 0345 600 0643 and provide some basic details including your name, address and telephone number. You may then have to attend a face- to- face interview. If this is the case, you should receive a letter from Jobcentre Plus, a division of the UK government’s Department for Work and Pensions which provides support services for working- age people in the UK. During the interview, you’ll have to answer questions about your personal circumstances and why you need an NI number. You’ll also have to bring proof of identification with you, such as:
- Passport or identity card
- Residence permit
- Birth or adoption certificate
- Marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Driving licence
You won’t get your NI number immediately following the interview, but providing everything goes well, you should find out how long you’ll have to wait before receiving it.