skip to main content

Update: Please be aware that despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we are operating as usual and our partners will be conducting initial consultations online and by telephone.

UK National Insurance as an Expat

Find out how your National Insurance obligations and options change as and when you relocate outside of the UK with our online guide

Last updated 7 January 2019

In essence if you live and work in the UK and have sufficient income you will automatically pay National Insurance contributions. However, if you have moved abroad, your National Insurance contributions will cease.

Why are National Insurance contributions important?

Ultimately your National Insurance contributions pay towards things like your UK state pension, any benefits you may receive when you live in the UK. As a British Expat, if you have made sufficient contributions over the course of your lifetime, you will still be entitled to receive a state pension.

Can you make voluntary contributions?

If you don’t already do so, you can start making regular voluntary contributions. There are two types of contribution that you can make, either Class 2 or Class 3.

To qualify for Class 2 NICs, you must have been "ordinarily" employed or self-employed immediately before you went abroad.

Class 2 contributions count towards your state pension when you retire and they entitle you to Employment and Support Allowance and bereavement benefits if and when you return to the UK.

Class 3 contributions can be more expensive and have fewer benefits in that they you won't be entitled to the Employment and Support Allowance.

Making up for missed years

If you haven’t been making any contributions for some time and are short of your 30 qualifying years, then you can make up to 6 years worth of contributions. If you are unsure about the current forecast of your state pension, you can request a State Pension Forecast which will give you the information you need to know to be able to make up payments in each of these years.

Experts for Expats has been featured in...

Saga - Want to retire in the EU? What could the future hold for you? - click to see article
BBC Breakfast - Expats in Cyprus having issues with UK bank accounts - click to see article
The Observer - How to relocate overseas - click to see article
The Telegraph - The surprising places British expats can earn the most - click to see article
The Times - Thousands of retiring Britons vote for Brexodus - click to see article
We Checked And, Yes, Harry And Meghan Will Have To Pay Tax - We Checked And, Yes, Harry And Meghan Will Have To Pay Tax - click to see article

What expats say about our experts

The expert was very friendly, helpful and precise in answering my questions on the rules on residence and domicile, and their effects on tax status, for UK-US dual citizens like myself and my wife. I was stimulated to confirm the salient points on Gov.UK. This has allowed us to plan our future stays in the US and UK. 

Donald T.

UK/US Tax matters introduction in United States

I appreciated the whole Introductory process. It was fast, efficient (lots of feedback) and professional. My query was answered by the recommended company within the 15 minute time frame. I have kept the accountant's name and contact details on record for future reference. This was a great way to locate a professional from a long way away. I am sure I will use the company again in the future.

Gail B.

Capital Gains Tax introduction in South Africa

Dealing with financial issues from overseas is stressful and difficult. You take away that stress.

Darren C.

Tax introduction in Japan

Moving to a new country with all the different tax / pension rules can be daunting. Not only do I now understand our options but also that we are in a much better position for our retirement than we thought we were. A big relief. Thank you. 

Jeremy, G.

Pension transfer, Retirement planning introduction in United States