Version 1.0 - Last Updated: 24 Feb 2021

Eligibility and assessment

National Insurance number validation factsheet


When a learner applies for the Advanced Learner Loan, we ask them to give us their National Insurance number. They can find this on a pay slip, P60 or their National Insurance number card (although these cards are no longer issued). We will use this number when the learner has completed the course and goes into repayment.

The National Insurance number does not form part of the eligibility criteria. We can assess and approve the application without it, and you can confirm the learner’s attendance. However, we will not be able to make a payment to you until we have received and validated their National Insurance number.

National Insurance numbers go through validation by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The numbers are checked against details DWP holds. They will tell us if it is a valid number. If it is not valid, they will tell us why.

Over 99% of learners provide their National Insurance number on their application form. The applications will come up as NINO Unverified on the Learning Provider Portal until DWP has verified the numbers.


The validation process

Once the learner has submitted an application form with the appropriate supporting evidence, our colleagues in Darlington will process it.

Once we have approved the application, we will send the National Insurance number to DWP for validation.

We batch up National Insurance numbers and send them to DWP on Wednesdays. DWP returns them to us the following Wednesday. We update our systems with the DWP file details on Wednesday evenings.

If an application is approved on a Thursday, we will not send the National Insurance number to DWP until the following Wednesday.

We will make payments when:

  • DWP has matched and verified the National Insurance number
  • you have entered a Unique Learner Number (ULN)
  • you have confirmed the learner’s attendance

Why do we wait until applications are approved before verifying the National Insurance number?

Learners need to sign a declaration to agree to the terms and conditions of the loan. They also need to give us consent to share their data with third parties. Once we have their signature to confirm this, we can move the application to Approved status and share data with the DWP.


Learners without National Insurance numbers

What happens to applications without a valid National Insurance number?

DWP will try to correct any mismatches and match learners to their National Insurance numbers even if they have not supplied it. DWP can currently match 98% of learners with their National Insurance numbers, whether they initially supplied these or not.

If DWP cannot match the National Insurance numbers or make any corrections, they will let us know when they return the batch. We will contact the learner and tell them how to get the information.

There are several reasons why a National Insurance number can come back as unmatched. Depending on the reason, we may need further evidence from the learner: 

  • change of surname – a clear photocopy of the learner’s birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport or deed poll certificate showing their current name

  • change of forename – a clear photocopy of the learner’s birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport or deed poll certificate showing their current name

  • date of birth – a clear photocopy of the learner’s birth certificate or passport showing their date of birth

  • incorrect National Insurance number – a clear photocopy of a P60 form, payslip or National Insurance number card or letter that shows the learner’s name and correct National Insurance number

On some occasions we may not know why the National Insurance number has been unmatched.

When the learner sends us the evidence we need, we will send the National Insurance number to DWP again for verification.

What happens if the learner does not have a National Insurance number?

We can still process the application. Once it is approved, we will send the learner’s details to DWP for validation. If the details are unmatched DWP will send a file to Job Centre Plus. The learner will receive a letter from Job Centre Plus, arranging an appointment at their local centre. 


Frequently asked questions about National Insurance numbers

Do EU students have to supply National Insurance numbers?

They do not, but we will ask them to provide 2 alternative contacts on the application before we can make payment.

If the learner has a valid National Insurance number, we will verify the details with DWP.

Can we give you a learner’s National Insurance number?

The National Insurance number is personal information. We cannot accept this from a third party and usually do not need to, as learners are extremely good at supplying it themselves.

How can I view unverified National Insurance numbers on the LP Portal?

LP Administrators and LP Advisors can search for approved applications with unverified National Insurance numbers.

  1. Go to the Learner Search tab.
  2. Select a year from the Academic Year dropdown.
  3. Select No from the NINO Verified? dropdown.
  4. Select Approved on the Applications tab.

You can view the National Insurance number verification flow chart here.

Contacting us

If learners have any questions about the National Insurance number process, they should contact the ALL learner helpline.

If you need advice about this process, you should contact our Partners Support Desk.


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