skip to main content

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 at 18:55

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...

BBC Breakfast - Expats in Cyprus having issues with UK bank accounts - click to see article
Saga - Want to retire in the EU? What could the future hold for you? - click to see article
The Times - Thousands of retiring Britons vote for Brexodus - click to see article
Are you a British expat whose bank account is being closed due to Brexit? Here's what's happening and what you can do about it - Are you a British expat whose bank account is being closed due to Brexit? Here's what's happening and what you can do about it - 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
The Guardian - Brexit: how the new rules will change your visits to the EU - click to see article

What expats say about our experts

I learned a lot from the consultant, including very simple things like what inflation is! He explained things very clearly and did not mind explaining simple things. I feel very well informed about all my options after talking to him. Thank you

Rosanna K.

Investment Advice introduction in United States

I've been impressed by all aspects of my dealings to date. The clarity of the information given, the job knowledge of the consultant and the lack of pressure for me to sign up to anything have been what I am especially satisified with.

Timothy S.

Investment advice introduction in United Arab Emirates

Very speedy connection with expert, who was very helpful to answer and discuss my tax questions. Only didn't continue to work with him as we determined in consultation that, for my situation, a self-assessed tax return was not necessary. Would recommend the service!

Michael W.

Split Year Treatment introduction in United States

Although my personal situation and circumstances are a bit complicated Alan was very professional and took the time to understand the various issues and concerns. He's come back with some things for me to consider after which I'll make some decisions about how to proceed.

Gordon. H

Pensions, SIPP introduction in Canada

Exceeded my expectations because of this I feel confident to use fee paying services. Thank you.

Matthew E.

Capital Gains Tax introduction in New Zealand

I found the whole advice experience with the consultant to be very professional. My questions were answered immediately and I trust the advice he has given me. Considering I am in Australia the time turn around was superb.

Ian B.

UK Capital Gains Tax introduction in Australia

The consultant was exceptional, very comprehensive and clear.

Richard B.

Pensions introduction in Canada

I was very impressed with the speed and quality of the communication and the amount of information I got in a 30-min consultation. There was no undue pressure on me to buy anything, and it was nice to be able to talk to someone who understood both the UK and US markets. I think this would be an excellent service for anyone with substantial pension pots, is unsure about leaving their money where it is or to transfer it to where they now live, and is looking for either just advice and help with admin or wants a full service. 

Helen C.

Pension transfer introduction in United States