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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...

The Guardian - The older expats facing poverty – thanks to Brexit and frozen pensions - click to see article
The Telegraph - The surprising places British expats can earn the most - click to see article
The Observer - How to relocate overseas - click to see article
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BBC Breakfast - Expats in Cyprus having issues with UK bank accounts - click to see article
MailOnline - A third of British expats would like to move back to the UK and 40% admit they are homesick... but they will stay abroad for a better quality of life - click to see article

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