To live or work in Northern Ireland you need to have a National Insurance (NI) number. This number is the equivalent of the PPS number in the Republic of Ireland.
Please note that to apply you must be living or working in Northern Ireland.
What is a National Insurance number?
Your National Insurance number is your own personal account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
When and how to apply for a National Insurance number
If you don’t already have a National Insurance number you must apply for one in the following circumstances. How you apply varies, as explained below.
- If you need to claim benefits and/or tax credits
- When starting work or setting up as self-employed
To apply you will need to telephone your nearest National Insurance Number Processing Centre to make an appointment. There are three Processing Centres.
- Belfast – 028 9013 8286 (replace 028 with 048 if phoning from the South)
- Portadown – 028 3877 3046 (replace 028 with 048 if phoning from the South)
- Derry – 028 7185 5407 and 028 7185 5406 if you live in the Northern area (replace 028 with 048 if phoning from the South)
Alternatively you can telephone the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006.
If you live in the South you can apply for job in the North without a NI number. If a prospective employer requests your number as part of the application process it is sufficient to say that it is NOT YET RECEIVED.
The Processing Centre will arrange an ‘Evidence of identity’ interview for you they will confirm the date, time and location of your interview and what information/documentation you need to support your application.
Visit the NI Direct website for further information on
- What to expect at the ‘Evidence of identity’ interview
- What happens next?
The following leaflet from the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency may also be useful to you – Applying for a National Insurance (NI) Number.
If you’ve lost your National Insurance number card
If you’ve lost or can’t remember your number, you might be able to find it on official paperwork like:
- your P60 (end of year tax statement, given to you by your employer)a payslip
- a copy of your annual Self Assessment tax return
- other official correspondence
If you still can’t find your number, you can ask HMRC to confirm it by:
- completing and returning HMRC form CA5403
- contacting the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006 (lines open from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday).
HMRC cannot confirm your National Insurance number by telephone. They will write to you instead.
As announced by the UK government on 10 September 2010, HMRC no longer issues replacement National Insurance number cards. You don’t need to have a card – it’s the number that’s important.
Please note that the National Insurance number is only valid in Northern Ireland. To work in the Republic of Ireland you will need to apply for a PPS number. To apply you will need to contact the Department of Social Protection
Please see the following BorderPeople page for further information: Personal Public Service (PPS) Number – Ireland
Page last checked: January 2016
This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur. It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation: – North / South
If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.