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 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
BBC Breakfast - Expats in Cyprus having issues with UK bank accounts - click to see article
The Guardian - The older expats facing poverty – thanks to Brexit and frozen pensions - click to see article
The Observer - How to relocate overseas - click to see article

What expats say about our experts

Your advisor answered all my questions, clearly and to my satisfaction.

Nicholas C.

Tax introduction in Thailand

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

I was shocked after years of traveling to come across such a professional organised group. There are no hard sells only professional advice, when I make my next move I will follow up with them.

Michael M.

Portuguese Non-Habitual Residence introduction in Singapore

My experience was excellent. I received exactly what the website promised in a prompt and professional manner. My questions were answered quickly. I was happy with the advice given and there was no pressure to continue working with a paid consultant. Highly recommended. 

Maureen O.

US tax matters introduction in United States