UK NINO – How to get it and how long does it take to get it?

I notice that this is a wanted topic and in spite of Brexit (which apparently will not be happening), the world still wants to come here. NINO is the equivalent of our Social Security Number, and without it, you basically do not exist in the UK (England, Scotland, or Northern Ireland). You need it in order to pay your taxes and social contributions, and without it you can not work legally and you can not benefit from social or medical services. I will tell you how my experience was and the steps I took to obtain the NINO (National Insurance Number) in the UK.

As soon as you arrived in the country and you have a working UK mobile number and an address where you can safely receive mail (it does not matter that it’s just temporary), pick up the phone and call 0800 141 2075. I am assuming you speak English. If not, at least have someone near by to help you. Have prepared in time and at hand, your UK address, postal code, phone number and full name spelled by letters. Once you get in touch with a clerk, he will ask you some questions:

  • From what country do you come from? In my case: Romania, the European Union. This saved me from any other question about the right to be a resident and to work here.
  • When did you arrive in the country? ……. I put the date when I moved into the temporary rental.
  • How long do you plan to stay in the country? …… Hmmm, forever if the all goes well …
  • Why do you need a NINO number? …… That’s an important one: Because I’m going to start work soon or even better yet: I’ve already started my job and my employer is asking urgently for it (do tell the truth to make your life easier please). You can work here without a NINO, but you will be taxed based on emergency tax code with the maximum percentage of the grid. Do not worry, any money you pay extra, will be returned to you once you get your NINO number and you will be assigned the proper tax code. For your employer is initially sufficient just to show the confirmation paper that you will receive, that proves that you have applied for NINO.
  • Where do you live? You can put the address where you are right now, even if it’s a share house. It is important to have access to the mail and pick up the first envelope that arrives. This contains the confirmation that you have started the NINO application process. That paper will be required for the employer and you will also need to present it at your scheduled NINO interview. Even if you change your address in the meantime, there is no problem as long as you have access to the mail box and be able to pick up that envelope. VERY IMPORTANT: When you you attend your NINO interview, whether you moved or not, you will need to present proof of your residence address. I’ll tell you more about that later.
  • Are you alone or have you come with someone? (wife, child) If you add someone, they will need to have their own phone number and they will have to answer the same questions. It is possible that the clerk will want to speak on the phone with that person (in my case it was not necessary, therefore, it depends on luck).
  • Once the questions have been asked, if everything is okay you will be scheduled to attend an interview at the nearest Job Center Plus office. Depending on the area and the number of applications, it may take between 2 to 8 weeks to book an interview. You will find out the exact date and time of the interview in the confirmation envelope. I suggest you use this time to sort out your residence address. As I said earlier, it is obligatory to bring at least one paper that proves that you live at the address given over on the phone or at the new address if you have moved in the mean time. It is considered proof of address only:

  • Rental contract with your name and address. If you are two people, it is imperative to have both names on the rental contract! If you rented just a room in a share house and you got it through a real estate agency, that paper given to you by them is enough. If you got the room directly with your landlord or through a friend or independent add, you will not have any paper to show for it;
  • Bill for gas, electricity or water. If you are two people, it is imperative both names show on the utility bill. Contact the utility provider to put both of you on the bill. Keep in mind that in a share house you will not have this because all the utilities are in the name of the landlord;
  • A bank statement, bank balance, welcome letter, etc, with your address and your name. It may not be enough just this;
  • Paper from your Employer guaranteeing that you live at the indicated address. You will need to get this paper anyway in order to present it to the bank to make a bank account and get a card, so why not bring it to the interview also. It’s relatively easy to get, any recruitment agency can offer help to get it for new candidates;
  • Wage slips with name and address;
  • The papers received from your local Council Tax when you register to pay local taxes (you will not have to pay this if you stay in a share house so you will not have these papers either);
  • It is not considered proof of residence: a mobile phone contract, a car registration paper or auto insurance papers.

After a week or two you will receive the paper confirming that you applied for NINO that looks like this:

Wait calmly and bear the extra financial effort until the date of your interview. Make sure you bring this paper, proof of identity (the passport is the best), the proof of residence address which I talked about and preferably a work contract or salary slip if you have any, to prove that you did not come here to slack around and that you pay taxes. You can be provided with a translator if your English is not so good. CAUTION: The interview does not guarantee the success of the NINO application. If you can not prove what you are doing in this country and why you come here, you can be declined quite easily.

At the end of the interview, if everything is OK, you will be notified about how long it takes until you receive the envelope with the official NINO number. In our case, it took about another 6 weeks from the interview, due to the large number of applications. Preferably, during these weeks, do not move from address given at the interview, it is very important that you get that envelope.

After a long wait, you will receive the envelope with the NINO number. Communicate to your employer as quickly as possible this number, and contact the HMRC tax department to recover your extra paid money. I recovered all the money at the next salary after receiving my NINO, but it can take longer. I hope it helps, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me on my fb page and I will do my best to help you out.

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