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Tag: Identity

The ‘google effect’, internet search results and the right to be forgotten

Aim of this page

In May 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that individuals should be able to request the deletion or removal of personal data published online where there is no compelling reason for it to remain. This right to erasure is often referred to as ‘the right to be forgotten’.

This page sets out how to request the removal of online information and how you can appeal the decision if an online search engine refuses your request.

This is part of our section on information on the internet.

Why is this important?

Once your conviction is spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, there is no legal obligation for you to disclose it when applying for the majority of jobs. However, information on the internet can stay around, long after a conviction becomes spent.

We’re aware that some employers will do ‘Google’ searches as a way of informally checking someone’s criminal record. If there are stories on the internet which relate to your conviction, an employer may be able to find out more about you than they are legally entitled to know.

If you’re aware of any links to your name on the internet and your conviction is spent, it’s definitely worth applying to have the links removed. If your application is successful, then you can be confident that any future employer or work colleague who searches for your name on the internet, won’t be able to find any information relating to your criminal record.


In May 2014, Google launched a system whereby individuals can request information about them be removed from Google’s search results. This came about because of a ruling on the 13th May by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The case was brought by a Spanish man who complained that an auction notice of his repossessed home on Google’s search results infringed his privacy. The court found in his favour, which has already had wide-reaching consequences for search engines like Google.

The ruling only covers the removing of the search results – the information will still exist on the website that published the original article but Google won’t be able to deliver matches to some enquiries that are entered. Deletion of the original information would still be the responsibility of the website owner, and in our experience, it’s very rare that websites agree to remove details relating to convictions (see more in reporting of criminal records in the media).

Information will only disappear from searches made in Europe. Queries piped through its sites outside the EU will still show the relevant search results.

However, many people are still seeing the ruling as a potential way of dealing with the ‘google effect’ that often haunts people for lots of different reasons, and our Helpline and Forum have already seen this being raised by quite a few people when it comes to past convictions that have been reported online. So the important question for us is whether it will actually help people with convictions?

Is it likely to help people with convictions?

At the moment, the answer is that we simply don’t know. That’s why we want to encourage people with spent convictions to submit a request (see ‘What next’ below) to see how Google are dealing with requests like this.

Google itself has admitted that their system is their “initial effort” at complying with the Court’s judgement, and there’s little evidence of how they’re dealing with individual applications. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the judgement surprised many people, including Google themselves, and initial reports suggest that they’re being swamped with requests, with some suggesting that Google has been receiving over 10,000 requests per day. The ruling applies to other search engines too (e.g. Yahoo, Bing).

Google has said that information would start to be removed from mid-June and that decisions about data removal would be made by people rather than an algorithm which governs almost every part of Google’s search system.

In July 2014 Google removed a link to a story about an archaeology specialist who had received a conviction for shoplifting in May 2006.  Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, his conviction became spent in May 2008.  The individual had previously complained to the Press Complaints Commission in 2010 and despite two factual amendments being made, his case was dismissed by the PCC. He applied to Google in Summer 2014 and his request was granted.

Between May and October 2014, Google fielded requests from the UK to de-link some 18,304 websites; it has removed approximately 35% of requested URL’s.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in their “Court reporting: What to expect – Information for the public guidance”, have also made reference to the removal of links stating:

“If your convictions have been ‘spent’, you may have legal rights to have links to articles about these convictions to be removed from search engines. If you make a formal request to an internet search engine directly, they may remove these articles from search results.”

Google’s system

They’ve specifically stated that, when looking at whether to remove a search result, they’ll look at whether there’s a public interest in the information, and they mention criminal convictions in particular. At this point, it’s unclear how Google is making a decision about whether to approve a request that is made. The court ruling told Google it needed to provide users with an option to erase search results that were “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive” but also “outdated”.

From our point of view, we strongly believe that once a conviction is spent, this should be removed from the internet (on request). Otherwise, protections that are afforded under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act are undermined.

It’s highly unlikely that Google will be willing to remove search results that relate to unspent criminal convictions. It is more likely where a conviction is spent, but at the time of writing, we’re unaware of any successful case where Google has agreed to remove search results relating to spent convictions.

The Information Commissioner’s Office view

The ICO themselves are looking at what this means for people in the UK.  In a blog post, a particular point they made was that;

“It is also important to remember that the exemption for journalism, art and literature under Schedule 2, part 5 (26) of the Data Protection Act 2018 can be applied by media organisations, bloggers and other publishers of information, depending on the circumstances. What this is not, then, is a full or absolute ‘right to be forgotten’.”

This casts doubt over to what extent Google (and others) will remove details such as convictions, where media organisations have claimed a legitimate exemption of the basis of journalism.

The Article 29 Working Party (which the ICO is part of) Guidelines on the implementation of the Courts judgement, gives a good indication as to how the ICO will treat complaints that it deals with. The ICO has also published their search result delisting criteria.

Making an application to Google

As part of Google’s current system, you have to do a couple of things.

Firstly, you have to provide the URL links for each link appearing in a Google search.

Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, you have to explain why the search result is “irrelevant, outdated, or otherwise inappropriate”. At the moment, the clearest argument is that your convictions are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, and so in most cases, you can treat it as if it had never happened. You should look to put forward any other reasons why you think it meets the definition of “irrelevant, outdated or inappropriate”. Until we begin to see examples of what’s worked and what hasn’t, it’s difficult to give much more guidance at this stage. The ‘representation box’ only allows you to use 1000 characters so you’ll need to keep your argument short and succinct.

Thirdly, you have to provide proof of your identity. Some people have expressed concern to us about this last point. However, we have no reason to think that this should put people off – ultimately, if your information is already available online, this application process cannot make things worse!

We have devised a search engine removal request template which can be used as a guide to completing the online form.

If you’re interested in making an application to Google, the online form is available here.

What next? Submit a request and see what they say!

We’re keen to see how Google are dealing with applications from people with convictions.

To do this, we’re encouraging people with spent convictions to complete Google’s online form, and get a decision from them. Bear in mind that they’re dealing with a lot of applications at the moment, so there might be quite a wait before you get a decision.

Once you receive a decision, please forward it to us to let us know what their decision is and why. You can forward their reply to us by sending it to (we won’t share your personal details externally). This will help us to collect evidence of how Google are dealing with requests from people with convictions, and help us to improve the information and advice we’re giving on this issue.

Reporting a concern to the Information Commissioner’s Office

Once you have a decision from Google, if they refuse your application, we would advise people to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Again, as it’s a new system, it’s unclear how the ICO is going to deal with these types of complaints. They have published a blog post in which they say that they’ll be looking for “evidence of damage and distress to individuals” when reviewing complaints about Google and others’ search results.

What will the ICO do?

If you decide to make a complaint to the ICO regarding Google’s refusal to remove a link then, the ICO will consider your request based on a set of criteria. If they believe that any links should be removed they will contact Google and ask them to de-list the information. Google will either agree with the ICO removing the link or refuse and refer back to the ICO.

If Google inform the ICO that they are refusing to remove a link after a request is made, the ICO will review the matter under their case review process with the involvement of senior colleagues, taking into account all of the circumstances of the case and arguments presented by all parties in order to decide whether the original decision was correct.

Where the ICO agrees with Google and decides that the link does not have to be removed from their search engine, you can still make an application to the court under section 167 of the Data Protection Act 2018, seeking an order that the court is satisfied there has been an infringement of your rights under the data protection legislation. The court would reach its own view as to whether they are satisfied there has been an infringement of your rights under the act. If you pursue this option you may wish to seek independent legal advice.

Having reviewed the overall circumstances of the case, we have concluded that it is appropriate to amend our assessment and we consider the search results likely to comply with the Data Protection Act. Therefore the ICO will not be requiring Google to delist the search results.

Although we recognise that the conviction is now deemed ‘spent’ for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, and we take this into account, we must also consider the public interest in the availability of information about criminal convictions. Our published criteria explain that we are less likely to require the delisting of information about serious offences, and we consider sex offences involving minors to fall into this category.

While a number of years have passed since the conviction, we consider there to be a significant degree of public interest in the availability of information about convictions of this nature and on balance we consider this to mean the information in the search results remains relevant. In reaching this view, we also take account of the fact that you held a position of trust at the time the offences took place.

We recognise that the availability of the search results may be detrimental to you, but the right to have search results delisted is not absolute and does not necessarily entitle individuals to have negative information about them removed. When reaching decisions we must also take into consideration the relevance of the information to the public interest, which in this case we consider to be significant for the reasons I have explained. We have concluded that the original decision provided to you did not adequately take account of these factors.

Whilst the above refers to a sex offence, this does not mean you cannot apply to have your link removed if you have a spent conviction for a sex offence. You need to be aware that under ‘public interest’ a decision could be made that will result in your application to have your link removed declined.

Other ways of dealing with the Google effect

This problem isn’t new, and regardless of this new system, many people with convictions will continue to experience difficulties because of their convictions being reported online.

One option that some people look at is changing their name. Although this doesn’t get you away from your criminal record (because if an employer does a criminal record check, depending on whether your convictions are spent, and depending on the level of check, it will still come back) it does prevent people from getting access to information that they would otherwise not be allowed to (e.g. spent convictions if the job is covered by the ROA).

Another option that some people look at is trying to flood the internet with alternative, positive, stories about them, to ‘force down’ the reports that relate to their convictions.

Online reputation repair companies

There are many companies offering services to repair your online profile by replacing negative search results with positive coverage. These can be very expensive, often tying you in to long term contracts and only doing what you can do yourself.

If you’ve used one of these companies we’d like to hear from you. Tell us about your experiences by emailing

Personal experiences

The personal stories below have been posted on theRecord, our online magazine.

Success with dealing with the ‘google-effect’ – Sam explains how her life has been turned around since Google agreed to remove links to her name

Discuss this with others

Read and share your experiences on our online forum.

Key sections include:

Below you will find links to useful websites relating to this page. More specific details (including addresses and telephone numbers) of some of the organisations listed below can be found here.

  • Information Commissioners Office – The ICO are an independent authority set up to uphold individuals’ information rights.
  • Mycleanslate – If you have a spent conviction, Mycleanslate may be able to act on your behalf by making a request to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and bing to have links to your name removed. They currently charge a flat fee of between £100 – £250.

More information

  1. For practical information – More information on changing your name and counteracting negative ‘Google’ or other internet search information
  2. To read personal stories – You can read stories about this posted on theRecord, our online magazine, under the tag of ‘google-effect’
  3. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum
  4. Our policy workRead about the policy work we’re doing on this issue
  5. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

Get involved

Help us to add value to this information. You can:

  1. Comment on this page below
  2. Send your feedback directly to us
  3. Discuss your views and experiences with others on our online forum
  4. Share your personal story by contributing to our online magazine
  5. Help our policy work – Stopping the ‘Google effect for people with spent convictions.

This page was last fully reviewed and updated in February 2017. If you’ve spotted something that needs updating, please let us know by emailing the details to


Changing your name

Aim of this page

If you’ve ever considered changing your name, then this page aims to set out ways in which you can go about doing it.

Why is this important?

People change their names for many reasons. For people with convictions, it is generally because they want a fresh start. The “google effect” means that for many, their past can be accessed at any time online, particularly if the original conviction was featured in the media. If you’ve been unsuccessful in getting a search engine to remove links to your name, then changing it may be the next best option.

Why bother?

Firstly, it’s worth noting here that changing your name isn’t a way for you to get away from your criminal record being formally disclosed, for example when a criminal record check is carried out. It’s also not for everyone. Some people feel (understandably) connected to their name as part of their identity, and so don’t want to give this up.

The main reason behind it is to try to avoid what could be described as ‘informal’ disclosure, such as what people read in newspapers or online.

If you’ve secured a new job, moved to a different area or made new friends, there is always a fear that new work colleagues or friends will treat you differently if they find out about your previous convictions before you’re ready to tell them. We often hear from people who managed to get a job where they weren’t asked to disclose their convictions, but then a colleague looked them up online and notified the employer who decided to terminate their employment. We also hear of people who reach the stage where their conviction becomes spent, but the newspaper’s website which featured the original conviction details refuse to remove the details from their site.

Are you allowed?

There is nothing preventing people with criminal convictions from changing their name.

If you have any pending criminal prosecutions against you then you will be required to notify the police about the change. If you are on licence or under probation, then you will be required to inform your probation officer and if you are on the Sex Offenders Register, you are required to notify the police within 3 days of changing your name. Failure to inform the police may result in a criminal conviction.

How to change your name

If you wish to be known by a different name you can change your name at any time, providing you do not intend to deceive or defraud another person. There is no legal procedure to follow in order to change a name. You simply start using the new one. You can change your forename or surname, add names or rearrange your existing name.

There are some restrictions about what you can change your name to and why. You may not change your name:-

  • In order to commit an illegal act, i.e. fraud.
  • To something that is rude or offensive.
  • To imply or include a title such as Lord, Lady, Duke or Duchess (unless that’s true)
  • To something that includes symbols or numbers.

Before you change your name, you should check that your name change will be accepted by:-

  • Your employer
  • Any institute or professional body that you are a member of
  • Your country of origin, if you are a foreign national living in the UK
  • The relevant authorities of the country you are living in, if you are a UK national living overseas

Once you have decided to change your name, you can use the new name for all purposes.

Evidence of change of name

You don’t need legal proof that you have changed your name, provided that you can be identified by your new chosen name.

However, there are some circumstances e.g. applying for a passport, when additional evidence of the change of name is required. The evidence required varies depending on the purpose for which it is needed and can include:-

  • A letter from a responsible person
  • A public announcement
  • A statutory declaration
  • A deed poll


A letter from a responsible person, such as a GP, solicitor, priest or MP will often be enough evidence that you have changed your name. The letter should state that the person has known you in both names and that the change of name is to be used for all purposes. A letter will not be enough if you are applying for a UK passport.

Public announcement

You may want to record your name change by placing an advertisement in a local or national newspaper. This should state that you have stopped using your previous name and have assumed a new one. A copy of the advertisement can then be used as evidence that you have changed your name.

Statutory declaration

For most purposes, a statutory declaration is accepted as evidence of your change of name. A statutory declaration is a statement recording your intention to abandon your old name and adopt a new one.

You can prepare a statutory declaration yourself, or use a solicitor to help you.

You must sign your statutory declaration using your new name. It should be witnessed, either by a solicitor (other than the one that helped you prepare the declaration) or by a Justice of the Peace (a lay magistrate who works in the Magistrates Court).

Some Magistrates Courts are reluctant to witness statutory declarations for a change of name because they believe that a deed poll should be used instead. You should explain to the Court that you require a statutory declaration purely as evidence and that you do not want the more formal deed poll.

Solicitors usually charge for preparing and witnessing a statutory declaration and you will need to pay a fee to the Court if a JP witnesses your declaration.

Deed poll

A deed poll is a formal statement to prove that your name has been changed. For most people it will not be necessary to prepare a deed poll as evidence that they have changed their name. However, there may be cases when a deed poll is required, e.g. when applying for a passport.

You can prepare your own deed poll. Once it is prepared you should ensure that it is signed in the presence of an independent witness, who must also add their name, address and occupation. You will need to have two witnesses if you wish to have your deed poll enrolled (registered). The deed poll should state that it is ‘signed as a deed and delivered’.

There are online services to help you prepare a deed poll and these may be cheaper than using a solicitor. If you want to officially enrol the deed poll, it is advisable to have it prepared by a solicitor, although this can be expensive.

Enrolling a deed poll provides a public record of a person’s name change. Since 1914 the details of the name change are published in either the London Gazette or the Belfast Gazette. Deed polls that have been enrolled at the Royal Courts of Justice in London remain there for five years. After that, they can be found at the National Archives located in Richmond, Surrey.

You can get a deed poll enrolled in the central office of the Supreme Court and the cost for preparing and enrolling the deed poll is currently £102.

The contact details are:

Enforcement Section Manager,
Room E15,
Queen’s Bench Division,
Action Department,
The Royal Courts of Justice,
Telephone: 020 7947 7772 (option 5)
Email: (enquires only)

Discuss this with others

Read and share your experiences on our online forum.

More information

  1. For practical information – More information on information on the internet, online and through search engines like Google
  2. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum
  3. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

Get involved

Help us to add value to this information. You can:

  1. Comment on this page below
  2. Send your feedback directly to us
  3. Discuss your views and experiences with others on our online forum


Sources of identification

Aim of this page

This information aims to set out the reasons why you are likely to need identification and the different types of identification that are available.

Why is this important?

Whether you’re trying to open a bank account or apply for a job you’ll need to be able to provide the bank or a potential employer with some form of identification in order to verify that you are who are say you are. Getting ID whilst you’re in prison or just after release can be quite difficult and this page sets out some of the options which may be available to you.

ID required when opening a bank account

If you are looking to open a bank account, you can find further information here.

ID required when seeking a job

Right to work

Employers have a legal obligation to confirm the identity of anybody they are looking to employ as well as their right to work in the UK in order to comply with the requirements of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. If they’re unable to do so then it’s unlikely that they’ll take your application any further.

  • Appearance (for example photo ID)
  • Full name (including forenames, last name and any other name you wish to be legally known by)
  • Signature
  • Date and place of birth
  • Current address

If you are having difficulties providing documents to your employer, see the section below.

If you’re applying for a job which requires a formal criminal record check then in addition to verifying your identity with your employer, you’ll need to provide evidence to the Disclosure and Barring Service. The documents you need will vary depending on the level of check that you are applying for.

Basic criminal record checks

To verify your identity for a basic DBS check you’ll need:

  • Details of your addresses for the last 5 years and the dates you lived there
  • Your National Insurance number
  • A debit or credit card
  • Proof of your identity, for example a passport, valid driving licence or birth certificate.

Further information can be found on our step by step guide to applying for a basic DBS check.

Standard and enhanced criminal record checks

Anybody applying for a standard or enhanced check will need to provide documents from three groups. Primary documents include:

  • Passport
  • Biometric residence permit
  • A valid driving licence (full or provisional)
  • Birth certificate
  • Adoption certificate

Further details can be found here.

ID required when making benefit claims

If you’ve set up an online account to start your Universal Credit claim, you’ll be asked to prove your identity using the government’s ‘Verify’ system. If you have any problems doing this, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity in person at the job centre.

The documents you will need could include:

  • Your passport
  • Driving licence
  • EEA national identity card

A full list can be found here.

Under the list of Secondary ID, the government refer to Form B79, a form used to notify the Department for Work and Pensions staff that a person has been discharged from prison and advised to claim benefit. However, following recent discussions Unlock have had with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) there appears to be uncertainty as to whether this form is still being used by prisons. We are awaiting further clarification around this.

Overcoming problems with ID

Having no photographic ID

If you genuinely can’t provide photographic ID then it may be worth asking your employer if they would accept a counter-signed passport photograph. Your employer may insist that the person signing the form has some standing in the community and has known you personally for say at least two years.

Having no proof of address

If you can’t provide proof of address in your own name, then a check of the electoral register can be carried out with the local authority where you are residing. If you’re officially recognised as homeless and of no fixed abode, then it may be possible to get a referral to Crisis who may be able to support you in getting a copy of your birth certificate or a driving licence as a suitable form of ID.

Documentary evidence for young people

Young people (those aged between 16 – 19) often struggle to provide ID. Employers will often accept:

  • A valid and in-date identity card carrying the ‘PASS’ accreditation logo, for example a UK CitizenCard – see below
  • A photograph counter-signed by a person of some standing in the community

  • A student loan agreement
  • A qualification certificate
  • NI card or letter from HMRC
  • A letter from your headteacher, tutor or college principal verifying your name, address, date of birth etc.

Specific types of ID


CitizenCards were the first ID cards in the UK to bear the hologram issued by PASS (Proof of Age Standards Scheme). This means that it’s recognised as valid ID under the law. The standard cost is £15. However, through a prison or probation officer, it’s possible to get them for £7.50. A prison or probation officer needs to register with CitizenCard, so that they hold a copy of their signature on their records. Then, as part of the individual application process, the person registered counter-signs a photo of you. If you want to apply for one at £7.50, you’ll need to try and find someone is registered with CitizenCard. Alternatively, a prison or probation officer can contact CitizenCard directly if they are interested in registering. There are some specific forms that they need to complete. People on probation are able to make use of the discounted price through their probation officer.

A standard application takes approximately 21 working days although it is possible to pay an additional £15 (£30 in total) for an urgent application which is returned within 2 working days.

If you don’t have any official documentation confirming your identify then you’ll need to get a referee to countersign a passport sized photograph and your application form. Referees should be over the age of 25, in full time education and be on the permitted list (see below)

  • Your doctor / dentist / nurse / administrator at your GP or dental surgery
  • Your teacher / tutor / head of year /administrator at your school, college or university
  • Your social worker
  • Your certified solicitor
  • A bank or building society staff member at your branch
  • Your prison or probation officer
  • Your Jobcentre Plus work coach

National Insurance Number (NINO)

  • you need claim benefits and/or tax credits
  • you have the right to work in the UK
  • you are entitled to and have applied for a student loan and require a National Insurance number

NINOs are issued automatically to UK born residents at the age of 15 years and 9 months as a result of a sucessful claim for Child Benefit. Any adults who have not received a NINO through this process are required to attend a Jobcentre Plus Evidence of Identity interview in order for a NINO to be application. As the vast majority of the UK born adult population already have a NINO from age 16 onward. the adult NINO allocation process applies predominantly to people entering the UK from abroad. In addition to establishing identity, if applying for a employment-related NINO you also have to prove your right to work in the UK.

The primary purpose of a NINO is to provide an internal reference number which enables the correct link to be made between an indvidual and their social security, child support, tax or contribution record. For benefit purposes, an individual is required to either provide their NINO, or sufficient information for one to be traced or allocated.

For employment purposes an individual is required to obtain a NINO to ensure your contribution records can be accurated maintained. There is however no requirement for an individual to obtain a NINO prior to taking up employment. Employees are required by law to provide their NINO to their employer, but no specific time limit is set. Where an individual does not have a NINO, the employer should ensure they record the individuals full name and date of birth so that contributions can be recorded and linked to the individuals account when the NIN is received. It is in the interests of both the employers and employee that they do obtain a NINO at the earliest opportunity.

Applying for a National Insurance number

Jobcentre Plus will arrange an Evidence of Identity (EOI) interview for you or send you a postal application. They will confirm the date, time and location of your interview. They will also tell you what information and documentation is required to support your application.

What to expect at the ‘Evidence of Identity’ interview

The interview will usually be one-to-one (unless, for example, you need an interpreter). You will be asked questions about who you are, why you need an National Insurance number, your background and circumstances. During the interview an application for an National Insurance number form will be completed and you will be asked to sign this form.

If you don’t have any official documents you still have to go to the interview. The information you are able to provide might be enough to prove your identity.

Proving your identity

You will need to prove your identity to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if:

  • you are starting work or looking for work and need an National Insurance number
  • you need an National Insurance number in order to claim benefit, pension or allowance

DWP will accept a range of documents (originals, not photocopies) when you are proving your identity. The following list is not exhaustive and you should always bring as many identity documents as you can to your interview.

  • valid passport (UK or foreign)
  • national identity card (UK or foreign)
  • residence permit or residence card (including biometric immigration residency documents)
  • full birth certificate
  • adoption certificate
  • full marriage certificate
  • civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence (UK or foreign)

If you do not have any of these (or any other) identity documents, then you can still apply for a National Insurance number and the information you supply will be checked and may be sufficient to prove your identity.

What happens after the interview

If you were asked to provide additional information you will need to do this by the agreed date. Jobcentre Plus will then write to you letting you know whether your application has been successful or not and notifying you of your National Insurance number where appropriate.

You should tell your employer your National Insurance number as soon as you know it.

However you obtain your National Insurance number normally you’ll get a plastic National Insurance number card too. This may take up to 12 weeks from when you applied.

The card is a useful reminder of your National Insurance number but it is not proof of your identity and you don’t need to have one to start work. It’s your National Insurance number that’s important not the card.

If you’ve lost or can’t remember your National Insurance number

If you think you already have a number but can’t remember it, you might be able to find it on official paperwork like:

  • your P60 (end of year tax statement, given to you by your employer)
  • a payslip
  • a copy of your annual tax return
  • other official correspondence

If you still can’t find your number, you can ask HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to confirm it by contacting the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on 0845 915 7006.

If you are in prison and need to know your existing National Insurance Number:

You will need to write a letter requesting your National Insurance Number.

  • Full Name
  • D.O.B
  • Last Residential Address
  • Current Address

The letter should be sent to HMRC NI, Contributions Office, Benton Park View, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE18 1ZZ

Useful links

Below you will find links to useful websites relating to this page. More specific details (including addresses and telephone numbers) of some of the organisations listed below can be found here.

More information

  1. For practical information – More information on looking for (and keeping) volunteering and employment and financial issues.
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

Get involved

Help us add value to this information. You can:

  1. Comment on this page (below)
  2. Send your feedback directly to us.

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