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National Insurance Guide


International Students Guide to getting your National Insurance Number.

If you are intending to work alongside your studies in the UK at any point throughout your studies, it is a good idea to apply for your National Insurance Number in your first few weeks of being here. Having a National Insurance Number is essential to work in the UK. 

Depending on your country of domicile, you may already have a National Insurance (NI) number. This would be printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP) and if you do, you are all set and don’t need to apply for one. If you don’t however, you must apply. 

In order to apply you must be in the UK and have the right to work which will be outlined in your VISA. 

Generally, if you are permitted to work in the UK alongside your course, your maximum working hours in term time are:

•20 hours a week if you are studying at degree level or above at a higher education institution (HEI)

•20 hours a week if you are on a study abroad programme at an "overseas higher education institution" in the UK

•10 hours a week if you are studying a course that is below degree level at an HEI

•10 hours a week if you have immigration permission as a Tier 4 (Child) Student and you are at least 16 years old.

These hours are in addition to any time you spend on a work placement that is an assessed part of your course.

Always check what the sticker in your passport or your biometric residence permit (BRP) says and make sure that you do not work more hours a week than it allows. 

You should not work more than the maximum number of hours (10 or 20) in any one week in term time, even if you sometimes work under the maximum number of hours a week in other weeks.

You can work full time during vacation periods, before your course starts and after your course has ended.

So how do you apply for your NI number once you are here?













In order to apply you need to do this by phone and the number can be found on the government website (

When you call the application line, you’ll be instructed to arrange an appointment to go in for an interview, where you will be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance Number.

You’ll then receive a letter through the post confirming your appointment and what documents you will need to take with you as identification e.g. passport, identity card, visa, residence permit etc

Within a few days after your interview, you will receive a temporary national insurance number and within 4 – 6 weeks later, you should receive your official number through the post.  

Remember to keep updated with the National Insurance Number procedures by visiting




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