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Administrative

all you need for relocation to scotland: edinburgh

How to get a National Insurance Number

As soon as you arrive in Scotland, you will notice that every time you try to do something “official” like applying for a job, claiming benefits or even register with a doctor, you'll be asked for your National Insurance (NI) number.

it does not matter if you live in Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Glasgow, the process to apply for a national insurance number in Scotland is the same.

Another thing that you might want to do sooner rather than later is registering with your consulate.

National Insurance (NI) number

Why do I need a national insurance number?

  • if you start working as an employee or self-employed (providing you are legally entitled to live and work in the UK). 

  • to ensure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay match your name -your contributions are automatically deducted from your wages by your employer. 

  • it is a reference number for the social security system. Once you reach State Pension Age, you stop paying National Insurance contributions.

did-you-know.png Did you know? State Pension Age can be between 61 and 68, depending when someone was born and if they’re male or female.

practical-info.png Practical info. If you are a British, EEA or a Swiss citizen then you can work freely in Scotland (and the rest of the UK).

Countries member of the European Economic Area (EEA) are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

If you are from a country outside the EEA then you’ll need a work permit to work in Scotland and the UK but only your employer can apply for the permit, not you.


Can I apply for a national insurance number online? 

The short answer is noThe reason why you cannot apply for your NI number online is because Jobcentre Plus are likely to require you to attend a one-to-one “Evidence of Identity” interview to prove your identity i.e. you are who you say you are (they can arrange for an interpreter if requested). 

How to apply for a NI number? 

1) You must be aged 16 or over and live in the UK.

2) You need to phone Jobcentre Plus on 0845 600 0643 (open Monday to Friday between 08.00 and 18.00) to arrange to get your NI number.

3) You need to attend an interview with an official of Jobcentre Plus.

During the interview, the person from Jobcentre Plus will discuss your background, circumstances and why you want a NI number e.g. why you have left your home country, what employment (if any) you had there, why you are coming to Scotland, what kind of job you are looking for, whether you have any relatives and where they are, etc. This is to make sure that your intentions are legitimate.

The person from Jobcentre Plus will also help you fill in the National Insurance form.

4) You will need to prove your identity.

You will do that during the interview and the more proofs you can produce the better. You don’t have to produce all of the following but if you do have these documents don’t hesitate to show them:

  • Original valid passport, identity card, driving licence

  • Original full birth/adoption certificate

  • Original valid marriage/civil partnership certificate

  • Original valid residency permit/documents

warning-32.png Even if you cannot produce any of these documents, you still need to attend the interview.

If your application has been granted, you will receive a letter from Jobcentre Plus informing you of your National Insurance number. Do make sure that you keep that NI number in a safe place. 

Oops, I lost my national insurance number! 

  • To find your NI number check your P60 form which is given to you by your employer at the end of every tax year (runs from 6 April to 5 April the next year). P60 is the summary of your pay and the tax that's been deducted from it during the tax year.

    The NI number is made up of letters and numbers: AB 12 34 56 X. This number is unique to you and will never change, even if you go abroad, marry, change your name, etc.

  • If you’ve just started work and don’t have a P60 yet ask the Human Resources or Personnel Department at your work.

  • If you don’t work (but you have a NI number) complete a “CA5403 Your National Insurance number” form and return it to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at:

HM Revenue & Customs
National Insurance Contributions & Employer Office
National Insurance Registrations
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ 

HMRC will then send you a letter enclosing you NI number.

Registering with your Consulate

If you’re coming to live in Scotland remember to register each family member with your consulate. Although, it is not compulsory, registering is highly advisable and will usually accelerate the process for dealing with administrative issues: 

  • help & assistance in case of emergency

  • issuance of passports, national identity cards, visas

  • transcription of civil certificates

  • registering births, marriages, deaths

  • voting in your country’s general/presidential elections


Of course, each consulate will have its own requirements for registering and the following link will give you the addresses and contact details of the consulates in Edinburgh

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