If you are going to be living in London for any amount of time, then you’ll have to apply for a National Insurance number as soon as you arrive. It is as important as having a Social Security number and will have a huge impact on your life in London and the facilities and services that you are allowed to use. An NI number is a sort of identification number that the government will use to identify you and your contributions to tax, and other services while you are living in London. It is important in a number of ways including signing a lease on a London apartment, opening a bank account and using the health care services and hospitals.
If you are going to be working in London you have to get a NI number as a requirement of law and your NI number will be used to track and make contributions on your behalf to the NI fund. If you do not have a National Insurance number you will have to make a substantially larger contribution every month so apply as soon as possible after you arrive in the city.
The best way to apply for a National Insurance number is to contact Job Centre Plus during the week. You will have to attend an interview, which is known as an Evidence of identity interview. Basically they just want to see that you are really you and that you have the correct permission to work and live in the United Kingdom. When you go for your interview, you should take as much identification as you can from your country of origin. The process of getting a NI number can often be time consuming, so ask your new employer to help you or contact one of the online agencies that specialize in helping people through the process. It may be possible to have some of your NI contributions paid into your home retirement pension when you leave the country, so enquire about this if you will only be living in London for a couple of years.