If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people, but you can still apply if either:

  • you have a later deadline – for example, you’re joining a family member in the UK who was living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by 30 June 2021 – for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse

If you are an Irish citizen, you do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Otherwise, you need a visa to work in the UK.

There are different types of visa for work in the UK, for different types of area of work. Each visa has different conditions, and you may need to pass an assessment. The different types currently are:

  • Long term work visas including Skilled Worker visa; Health and Care Worker visa; Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility); Scale-up Worker visa; Minister of Religion visa (T2) and International Sportsperson visa
  • Short term work visas including Charity Worker visa (Temporary Work); Creative Worker visa (Temporary Work); Government Authorised Exchange visa (Temporary Work)International Agreement visa (Temporary Work); Religious Worker visa (Temporary Work); Seasonal Worker visa (Temporary Work); Youth Mobility Scheme visa; Graduate visa; High Potential Individual (HPI) visa; Graduate Trainee visa (Global Business Mobility); UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility); Secondment Worker visa (Global Business Mobility) and Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)
  • Investor, business development and talent visas including Innovator visa; Start-up visa; Global Talent visa; Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1) and Investor visa (Tier 1)
  • Other work visas and exemptions such as UK Ancestry visa; an exempt vignette; Frontier Worker permit; British National (Overseas) visa; Overseas Domestic Worker visa; Representative of an Overseas Business visa; Turkish Businessperson visa; Turkish Worker visa and a Service Providers from Switzerland visa

Where you need to go

Find out more about visas and work permits on the GOV.UK website

Work Visas

If you need advice about immigration or visas, you must speak to a trained adviser who is registered with OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner). Find out more on the Immigration page.

Your local Citizens Advice can provide free immigration advice on some issues. Find out more about getting immigration advice from the Citizens Advice:

Get Immigration Advice

You can find out more useful information on the Reed website. Reed is an employment agency. You can find out more about employment agencies here.

Your Rights to Work in the UK

National Insurance Number

To work in the UK, you will also need a National Insurance Number. You can only apply for it once you’re in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.

Find out more about National Insurance Numbers, and how to apply, on the GOV.UK website:

Apply for a National Insurance Number

Or Job Centre Plus can help you apply:

Leeds Park Place Jobcentre Plus, 21-22 Park Place, Leeds, LS1 2SL
0800 169 0190

If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP) you may already have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back. If you do, you won’t need to apply for one.

What happens when you apply for a NI number

Jobcentre Plus may send you a letter and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.

What you need to bring

Your letter will tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity. This may include:

  • passport or national identity card
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

You will also be told at the interview how long it will take to receive your National Insurance number.

Working without a National Insurance number

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one and give it to them when you have it.

Last Updated: 28 May 2024

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