Ni Number Application as Self-Employed (Rejected 8 times!)
Thread poster: aposto

United Kingdom
Jul 3, 2017

Hi all,
I am working as self-employed (since October 2016), director of my LTD company. I've applied to Ni Number 8 times now and got rejected 8 times. I've got 5-6 different clients, 18-20 invoices, investment documents, insurance documents, all the other documents (total ~100 pages). I've sent all those documents in my last application. For that last application I was able to reach Glasgow Ni Number Centre people, they told me I am not a self-employed person cause I am paying my self a salary and working as Director means being an employee. What does that mean?! I know HMRC has a weird definition of 'self-employed' which doesn't allow you to work as a director of your own company. But my work visa allows me to do so (it is already there in my work visa application document, which I've provided as an evidence attached to the application).

My advisor tells me there is an issue with the updated definition of 'self-employed' of Home Office and HMRC, she says HMRC updated the definition on March 2017. Which means they will not give Ni Number until those definitions are changed or I need to work as sole-trader to get Ni Number (which is not possible because of IT contractor market).
I will apply for work visa extension (ECAA Turkish Business Person Visa) and not having Ni Number will impact the extension decision.

Do you have any suggestions? Is any of you having the same problem currently?



Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
Member (2007)
+ ...
Bumping this Jul 4, 2017

I haven't lived in the UK for many a long year so I can't help a lot, but at least this reply will make your post more visible to others.

It sounds to me as though you're an employee, and your employer is your Ltd company. That's exactly the setup my son has in France, and I know of plenty of other people in the same position. Does that give you problems? You can't apply for an NI number as an employee?


Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
French to English
+ ...
Are you a translator, or an IT contractor? Jul 4, 2017

Just to clarify, as I'm not sure why you're posting this question here: do you work as a translator, or as an IT contractor? I know that IT companies don't take on sole traders (self-employed people) as my brother is one and he had to set up a limited company to be taken on as a contractor, but freelance translators can certainly be sole traders.

If you're an IT contractor, I'm not sure this website is the best place for you to seek advice as not many translators in the UK set up their own limited companies. (Yes, a few do - including myself - but I have been a UK national since birth, so I have never been in your situation and unfortunately can't advise).


Wojciech Szczerek  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:44
English to Polish
+ ...
Contact local authority's small-business unit Aug 8, 2017

I can't answer your question directly. However, I can suggest who can.

My local council participates in the all-Scottish enterprise called The Business Gateway. Thanks to that, they provide advice for small businesses and self-employments in a variety of ways. This includes training, networking opportunities, as well as pre-booked consultation sessions with a lawyer for free.
It's worth browsing for something like that in your area as I am sure Scotland can't be special in that respect. Otherwise, trying to approach the HMRC or any national institution might be doomed to failure.

I hope that helps at least a bit.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:44
French to English
Which hat to wear? Aug 8, 2017

In case you are not familiar with this source :

You may already know it inside out. I may be wrong, but maybe your application has been rejected as you have applied as a “self-employed” person. You have created a limited company. That company is a separate legal entity in its own right. Even if you have created a limited company and you are its director, there exists what is called a "veil of incorporation" which means that the corporate structure and you are separate entities. If the company pays you a salary, with regard to NI, you are an “employee” (=salaried worker).
You also have responsibilities as an employer as you own the company.
With regard to the limited company you have two hats: one as an employer, one as an employee. You need to wear the right hat at the right time when dealing with administration.

People create limited companies to keep the corporate identity separate from their own private identity. A limited company has "limited" responsibility/liability. A private person risks everything he/she owns working as a self-employed individual; a self-employed person has "unlimited" liability. A limited liability company provides a certain amount of protection that one does not have as a self-employed person. There are advantages and disadvantages to each, but you no doubt set up a limited company for a particular reason.

If you need to know a little bit more about what limited liability involves, it would probably be a good idea to get some advice. Wojciech Szczerek has suggested a place to go for information.

Getting back to the matter of your NI Number. Do you have a biometric residence permit? If so, it seems that some of them have the NI Number on the back. Sorry if you have checked all of this already. Not all BRPs have an NI Number on the back though. If so, then you need to apply for one, which is probably why you did so.

I suspect it may be a simple matter of making sure you apply with the status of an “employee” and not that of a “self-employed” individual.

“What’s on your BRP
Your BRP will include:
- your name, date and place of birth
- your fingerprints and a photo of your face (this is your biometric information)
- your immigration status and any conditions of your stay
- whether you can access public funds, for example benefits and health services
You may have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your BRP. Not all BRPs have this - it depends on factors like the date it was issued and your visa status.”

“July 2016.”
“This leaflet explains what a biometric residence permit (BRP) is, what it can be used for, and how employers can check that prospective employees have a right to work in the United Kingdom (UK). The biometric residence permit is proof of the holder’s right to stay, work or study in the UK. It can also be used as a form of identification (for example, if they wish to open a bank account in the UK). For some immigration categories the National Insurance Number (NINo.) will appear in the remarks on the reverse of the BRP. If this is the case there is no need for the holder or their employer to make a separate application to the Department for Work and Pensions to obtain a NI No”.

Sorry if you know all this already!

[Edited at 2017-08-08 18:01 GMT]


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Ni Number Application as Self-Employed (Rejected 8 times!)

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