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Tel: 0151 794 4629

Registered charity number: 1119884

National Association of Student Employment Services
Centre for Lifelong Learning,
University of Liverpool,
150 Mount Pleasant,
L69 3GD

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National Insurance numbers

Things international students need to know about National Insurance numbers


Do I need a National Insurance number to work in the UK?

Yes. If you intend to work while studying in the UK, any employer will require you to provide them with your National Insurance Number (NINO), so that they can pay your wages and make any applicable tax/national insurance deductions. UK residents are allocated a number automatically at the age of 16; however, being a European or International student you will not have this number so you will need to apply for one.

How do I apply for an NI Number?

You need to contact The National Insurance Office on Tel: 0300 200 3502  to book an application interview (usually with your local Jobcentre Plus). The NINO Office will provide you with an appointment time to visit their nearest office to discuss your application.

What do I need to take to the interview?

When you visit the NINO Office to discuss your application, you will need to take the following documents with you:

  • your passport;
  • confirmation of your student status eg your university student identification card or letter from your faculty office;
  • two official documents as proof of your UK accommodation address eg bank account/credit card/mobile phone statement, gas/electricity bill, a letter from your landlord/your tenancy agreement – they must be originals;
  • an offer of employment letter from your employer. Failing this, any documents/evidence that will confirm you have been looking for work (see details below).


What happens at the interview?

You will be asked some very straightforward questions at the appointment as to why you want a NINO, and providing the NINO Office are satisfied you have been looking for work they will submit an application for an NINO on your behalf.

I haven’t been offered a job – does this prevent me from applying?

No. Don’t panic - you do not necessarily need to have secured a job before applying for a NINO, so long as you can provide 3 items of evidence that you have been 'actively looking for work' the NINO Office will consider your request for obtaining one and the following will be considered as suitable supporting evidence:

  • a copy of a job application form you have sent to an employer;
  • a letter received from an employer inviting you to attend an interview;
  • a letter you have received from an employer informing you that you were unsuccessful with your application;
  • if you have written to an employer enquiring if there are any current vacancies and received a response informing you that there isn’t at that time;
  • if you have applied for a job by CV (resume) and received confirmation from the employer that they are considering your CV;
  • any letter offering you employment that you have received from an employer.

Please note – depending on the UK region you live / study / work in there may be some differences in the system, please visit your institution’s student employment service for further information and accurate advice.

Also depending on the area you are registering with any employment agencies, the Jobcentre Plus Office, or PULSE/Business Bridge office at University is not considered as sufficient evidence that you are looking for work.

What happens after the interview?

You will wait approximately 3 - 4 weeks before receiving your NINO, but you can work using a temporary number while your application is being processed. An employer cannot refuse to allow you to start work if you can provide evidence that you have applied for a permanent NINO and are just waiting to receive it.

Some employers will allow you to work using a temporary NINO rather than apply for a permanent one and this is acceptable.

More information and resources

Search for international student friendly jobs on the National Student Employment Week Virtual Fair



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