National Insurance if working abroad

If you move abroad, it can often be advantageous to continue paying your UK National Insurance Contributions (NICs) in order to preserve your entitlement to the State Pension and other benefits.

If you are working in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland the rules depend on your situation.

The main rules are as follows:

  • If you work for an employer in the EU or Switzerland. You’ll normally pay social security contributions in the country you work in instead of NICs. This means you will be covered by that country’s social security laws and may be entitled to benefits there. However, your entitlement to benefits in the UK (for example State Pension) may be affected as there will be a gap in your NIC contributions record.
  • If you work for an employer in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway. You may need to pay into more than one country’s social security scheme at the same time. You need to check if you are covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement.
  • If your UK employer sends you to work in the in the EU or Switzerland. You might be able to continue paying NICs if you are abroad for up to 2 years. This means you won’t have to pay social security contributions abroad. There is a special form which an employee or employer must complete to notify HMRC and apply for the relevant certificate. These special rules can also apply if you are self-employed or working in the UK and one or more EU countries at the same time.

Some countries have a Reciprocal Agreement (RA) or Double Contribution Convention with the UK. You will usually pay social security in the country you are going to if you work in any of the following:

  • Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Kosovo, Mauritius, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Turkey and USA.

For all other countries not covered by a social security agreement, you may need to pay social security contributions in the country where you are working. You must continue paying NICs for the first 52-weeks you are abroad if you meet the following qualifying conditions:

  • you are working abroad temporarily;
  • your employer has a place of business in the UK;
  • you are ordinarily resident in the UK; and
  • you were living in the UK immediately before starting work abroad.
Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 06-03-2023