Step by Step - Applying for your National Insurance Number (NINO)

If you are heading to the UK or are in the UK and have not yet applied for your National Insurance Number (NINO) then here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Your help! There are companies in the UK charging people over £200 to assist with their application (we charge £15). But you can also do it yourself! Please help us spare people from being over charged by sharing the URL for this article far and wide!

National Insurance - Is your employer hassling you for it?

Whilst paying National Insurance in the UK is a legal requirement, having a National Insurance number is actually not! Can you believe this?! But try and explain that to an employer and you will get nowhere fast, it is one of the most confusing aspects of our tax system, to an employer anyway!

Why there is such a misunderstanding by employers when it comes to NI numbers is beyond me. But one reason I think, is that they may have established a process or a system that makes the NI number field a mandatory requirement when onboarding a new employee. So, they simply cannot think of a way around this when employing you. One thing they could do is use a temporary number - read this article to find out more about this.

But just in case you want to read the all encompassing guide to National Insruance numbers, what they are, how they came about, etc etc, then jump to this article here.

Want us to do your NI number application for you? If you are time poor, do not have a printer or cannot be bothered to do all of the following then you are welcome to sign up to our service where we will do this for you.

Do I need an address to apply for my National Insurance Number (NINO)

Yes, you must have an address for the service. Even though they have finally moved the application process online, your actual number will still be sent out as a physical piece of paper in the mail!

You should only provide a secure address for this service because if you lose or cannot find this envelope when it is sent out, it is a bugger to get a replacement!

If you want to use the BritBound address for this then you can sign up here.

One thing you should be aware of is that whatever address you use for the NI application will become the default address for everything tax related (Tax rebates and refunds, tax code notices etc). So if you are going to use a temporary address it is VERY important that you change this address with the HMRC when you move, each time you move!

Important - you will need this before you can complete your NI application

Access to a printer! You are going to need to print out part of your application and also include photocopies and have these posted off.

If you would prefer us to do this all for you then head here - and select the NI service from the Relocation Services tab.

Step 1: Where to begin the NI application process

To start the process you need to first head to this page:

Which looks like the below image (as I write this in July 2021) !

You will need to have ready

1) Your passport or ID card

2) Your Biometrics Residence Card BRP (if you have a visa)

3) A UK address for your number to be sent to - if you do not have a UK address then you can sign up to use our office here and we can also complete this process for you as part of our service.

Step 2: Confirm that you need this number for work

In the next step you will need to choose the situation that best describes yours. I would recommend though that you only apply for this number once you are at the 'looking for work or have work stage'.

Your National Insurance Application will be denied if you do not say that you want it because you are going to be working here.

Steps 3,4,5,6,7

  • Full name - enter as per your passport
  • Have you had a different name? - ie your Maiden name
  • Your gender - male or female
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Your nationality - as per the passport you entered the UK on.

Step 8 - Enter your passport number

There is an option here not to enter your passport number, Depending on your nationality it will then do one of the following

1) If you say no passport and are European it will ask you for your ID card. You are also going to select what your status under the EU settlement scheme.

2) If you say no passport and are from outside the EU it will ask you for your Biometrics Card number...

If you do not provide a document to prove your identity then it will tell you that you need to attend an appointment to prove your identity. So if you have a passport number or ID card or I would suggest you add it!

Step 9 - Have you lived in the UK all your life?

For most of you if you have moved to the UK recently then the answer is going to be no!

Step 10 - When did you first arrive in the UK?

This question says "Enter the first time you lived in the UK for more than 30 days." I do not really understand why they need to this question, in all the NI applications I do for BritBound customers I just enter their arrival date and this has not proved incorrect to do.

If you entered the UK previously and then entered the UK again, it's up to you which date you provide, I really don't think it makes a difference. But perhaps enter the older one if you are unsure.

Step 11: Selecting an address

As per the paragraph at the top of this article, it is VERY important you think carefully about what you enter here. Do not just put any random postcode or address - because your NINO will be sent to this address! As will all other correspondence relating to you - tax refunds being one of the most important!

If you do not have an address then you can opt to use ours -

Do not use a random postcode or address for your NINO application. As your National Insurance number will arrive by mail to this address!

Step 12: Contact Details

It's up to you whether you want to provide these. The only thing they seem to do is send a copy of your application to your e-mail with the further instructions, but these are also made available at the end of the application. If you are not ready to complete your application all at the same time then definitely provide your e-mail so you can return to it at a later date.

Step 13: Submit your information

This is the last part of the application. It is now going to ask you to confirm your answers. Once you click [Accept and send] you will then be e-mailed a copy along with next steps, which will also show on the next screen.

Step 14: Final step - print and send off your documents

Now you just need to follow the directions which tell you to:

1) Print out the PDF form CA5400D and complete the various fields. If you have arrived on a visa then you do not need to add a share code.

2) If you are European then you will need to provide a share code to prove your settlement status in the UK. After you have the code, write it onto the printed

Click here for a guide on how to generate a new immigration status share code for your application.

3) Provide the relevant photocopies (black and white are fine) and then post off.

  • If you are European you need to include photocopies of your ID, front and back or your passport. Whichever one you used to apply for settled or pre-settled status.
  • If you have arrived on a visa then you need to include the photo copies of:
    • Passport details page
    • Vignette Page
    • BRP - front and back

Tip - if you want to be sure your application reaches the handling team then take it to the post office and ask them for a 'signature on delivery'. Then you will receive a tracking number to confirm it arrived.

You will need to send your application to the following address:

Glasgow NINo Centre

Mail Handling Site A


WV98 1BR

Questions or comments?

If you would like to ask anything about the above process or have something you think we should add to help people then please e-mail me.

Please just e-mail me