We are sorry that you have been unable to speak to an advisor to obtain an 18 digit reference number. Our lines have been extremely busy. We can confirm, if you are an overseas customer, that is, living abroad and applying to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions for periods abroad, your reference number for payments would always be the same, see below.
Use your National Insurance number followed by ‘IC’, your surname then your initial. If your bank limits you to a certain amount of characters, you should use your National Insurance number followed by ‘IC’ and as much of your surname as possible.
Example, if your name is Anne Jones, you would write the reference as QQ123456AICJONESA
Further information can be found on here:
Pay voluntary Class 3 National Insurance
Your reference number would be different if you were living in the UK for the period you have requested to pay voluntary contributions for. You would then need to obtain an 18 digit reference number from HMRC, or if you are unable to speak to HMRC to obtain this number, you can pay by cheque. You can see information on ways to pay including cheque payments here:
Pay voluntary Class 3 National Insurance: overview
With regards to your application to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions whilst abroad (CF83), the current timescale for those applications is 28 weeks. However, if your application was received by HMRC by 5 April 2023 it will be accepted as being received before the deadline to pay for earlier tax years, that is 2006-2007 to 2016-2017. Unfortunately, the only way you can find out if HMRC have received your application, would be to speak to an advisor on our helpline. The number for you to ring from abroad is - +44 19 1203 7010.
Please note that you must contact DWP before making any payments of voluntary National Insurance contributions to HMRC. For periods when you were abroad, you must wait until you have received a reply to your CF83 application form confirming that you are eligible to pay. The reason we require you to contact DWP is because they will be able to advise you what years it is best for you to pay, and if you will benefit from paying them. Although these contributions are voluntary, they cannot be refunded if paid incorrectly, therefore you should ensure that you will benefit from making the payment.
The contact number for the DWP International Pension Centre is +44 (0) 191 218 7777.