National Insurance (NI) was something I didn’t know about until a couple of weeks ago. National Insurance is not to be confused with the National Health Service (NHS), NI is basically a social security tax. In order to work, you must have NI. International students have to apply for National Insurance.
According to the Career Services at the University of Edinburgh:
“You can apply for a National Insurance number if you have the right to work in the UK. Contact the National Insurance Number Allocation Service by telephone to apply for a number. Please note, this is a very busy number, so you may need to persevere to get through.
National Insurance Number Allocation Service: 0845 6000 643
When you call, state you are an international student needing a NI number for work purposes. You should have your postcode and passport with you when telephoning, as well as the contact details of your employer if you already have a job offer.
In addition to a brief telephone interview you may be required to attend a further interview in person at a local Job Centre Plus office. The face-to-face interview will last a maximum of 30 minutes. It is important to arrive 10 minutes in advance – late arrivals will lose their appointment.
You will need to take recommend documents with you to confirm your identity. Recommended documents to take (if you have them) include:
- ID card
- driving licence
- police registration document
- student card
- proof of offer of work
- confirmation of your address (eg lease or utilities bill)
Within 2-3 weeks of your appointment you will receive a letter containing your NI number. After another 6-8 weks you receive your NI card.”