In the UK, if you are employed (or self-employed) and earn above a certain level you are eligible to pay National Insurance (NI) contribution each month, or whenever you are paid. This goes towards your UK state pension and the National Health Service (NHS). However if you are only living in London for a short time, then you may be eligible for a rebate when you leave. Applying for a National Insurance number is relatively straightforward.
Your NI number is completely unique to you and is something that you will need to provide to your employer. You will also need to provide it to HM Revenue and Customs who are responsible for taxation in the UK.
Applying for a National Insurance Number
When you arrive in London, you will need to apply for a NI number as soon as possible through your local Jobcentre Plus. (Call 0845 600 0643 for more details, lines are open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday). They will arrange an interview with you to confirm your identity. You will need to bring with you your passport, visa as well as any proof of address or other relevant documents.
Once your identity has been confirmed you will receive your NI number as well as a NI card. You can keep these with you for future reference.
If you have started working in London prior to receiving your NI number then you will most likely have been paying a higher level contributions. Once you receive your NI number you will need to let HM Revenue and Customs know so you are able to get a refund, if applicable.
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