Nuclear pore complexes are multiprotein channels that span the double lipid bilayer of the nuclear envelope. How new pores are inserted into the intact nuclear envelope of proliferating and differentiating eukaryotic cells is unknown. We found that the Nup107-160 complex was incorporated into assembly sites in the nuclear envelope from both the nucleoplasmic and the cytoplasmic sides. Nuclear pore insertion required the generation of Ran guanosine triphosphate in the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments. Newly formed nuclear pore complexes did not contain structural components of preexisting pores, suggesting that they can form de novo.