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Applying For A National Insurance Number To Work in Northern Ireland

Receiving a National Insurance Card is something of a 'right of passage' for British nationals at the age of 15. Most teenagers will likely not understand that the innocuous blue and red card represents the start of a lifetime of work and contributing towards their state pension.

If you were not born in the UK but you plan to work in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, you will need to register for a National Insurance number before you can work. In this article, we will explain who needs to apply for a National Insurance number, and the process of applying if you are living in Northern Ireland.

What Is A National Insurance Number?

A National Insurance number is a unique reference which ensures that all National Insurance contributions and tax you pay (whether through work or benefits) are recorded against your pension and tax records. By paying national insurance (which is mandatory), you will then be contributing to and be eligible for benefits (e.g. if unemployed or sick) and a UK State Pension. National Insurance is paid by employees over 16 years who earn over £183 per week. It is also paid by self-employed individuals earning a profit of £6,475 each year.

The National Insurance system has different types of 'classes' of payment:

  • Class 1 – for employees earning more than £183 a week and under State Pension age - automatically deducted by your employer
  • Class 1A or 1B - Employers pay these directly on their employee's expenses or benefits
  • Class 2 - Self-employed people earning more than £6,475 a year. If you're earning less than this, you can choose to pay voluntary contributions to fill or avoid gaps in your National Insurance record
  • Class 3 - Voluntary contributions - you can pay them to fill or avoid gaps in your National Insurance record
  • Class 4 - Self-employed people earning profits of £9,501 or more a year

For employed individuals, National Insurance contributions are typically deducted from their wages and paid by the employer. The employer also pays a secondary contribution.

How Can I Apply For A National Insurance Number For Northern Ireland?

If you are planning to work in any part of the UK, including Northern Ireland, you will need to apply for a National Insurance card before you can work.

You should be aware that as at the time of writing this article, the UK government website states, "You can currently only apply for a National Insurance number in England, Scotland and Wales if you have entered the UK on a visa. You cannot apply for a National Insurance number in Northern Ireland. This is because of coronavirus (COVID-19)".

There is every chance that depending on when you plan to apply for a National Insurance number, the application service will have resumed in Northern Ireland. Despite this restriction, if you have proof that you are eligible to work in Northern Ireland, then you will be able to start work without a National Insurance number.

Normally, to apply for a National Insurance number, you would need to contact one of the dedicated National Insurance processing centres in Northern Ireland to register your details. The contact details for the processing centres are as follows:

Lines are open from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm Monday to Friday

  • Belfast area: 028 9013 8286 or 028 9013 8287
  • Northern area: 028 7185 5407 or 028 7185 5406
  • Southern area: 028 9013 8279 or 028 9013 8284

Once you have registered with your local National Insurance processing centre in Northern Ireland, you will be asked to attend an 'evidence of identity' interview. They will explain the date, time and location of your appointment, and the documents you should bring with you.

Unless you require an interpreter, you will typically only be interviewed by one person who will check your identity and then ask a series of questions regarding your reasons for applying for a National Insurance number, your background, and your circumstances. To prove your identity, it is recommended that you bring as many of the following documents as possible with you to your appointment:

  • passport (UK or foreign)
  • current identity card issued by an EEA or EU member state, or Gibraltar
  • residence permit or residence card, including biometric immigration residency documents
  • full birth or adoption certificate
  • full marriage or civil partnership certificate

Once your identity has been confirmed, the case officer will complete the application for a National Insurance number based on the information you provide. You will then be asked to sign the form before it is submitted. In some situations, if the case officer needs more information, you may be asked to provide additional documents by a set date to support your application.

Once your application has been reviewed and considered by the processing centre, they will write to you to advise the outcome of your application, and if successful, they will provide your National Insurance number. Once you have your number, you should provide this to your employer as this will then ensure that any contributions you make will be correctly recorded against your national insurance and tax records. It is also recommended that you keep your National Insurance card safe as you will need to provide the number in the future, including when you contact HMRC regarding your tax, the Department for Social Development if you need to claim benefits, or your local council if claiming housing benefit.

Wrapping Up

Applying for a National Insurance number in Northern Ireland is a straightforward process, and as long as the processing centre case officer believes that your reasons are genuine, you should have no problems securing one. As a worker who is contributing to National Insurance, you will be helping to secure your future and that of your family in the UK.

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I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

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I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

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"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

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As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

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"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

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"My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team".

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"This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again. I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle".

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Top Notch Immigration Service

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