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

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
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
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
The Observer - How to relocate overseas - click to see article
The Times - Thousands of retiring Britons vote for Brexodus - click to see article

What expats say about our experts

The advisor was excellent in giving clear and useful advice. I have already recommended him to another friend who is an international teacher who is seeking to invest her money.

Seema M.

QROPS introduction in Hungary

Quick efficient and friendly - answered my question re tax status for my dual US/UK National daughter

Liz H.

Tax introduction in United Kingdom

Contact was fast. Initial consultation was informative and helpful. The consultant was very personable, listened to my questions and was thoughtful and thorough in his responses. In a forum such as this, the consultant must convince the client that they are trustworthy and knowledgeable; The consultant I spoke with did that!

Lucy P.

Pensions introduction in United States

The referral by Experts for Expats led me to a couple of advisers that provided exactly what I required. The adviser clarified what would be best for me as an individual with limited understanding of pension transfer implications and confirmed that I was correct in stepping away from what had been put in front of me by previous cold-callers.

Mark S.

Pensions introduction in North America