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UK State Pension and Moving Abroad

The result of the Brexit referendum has not changed the rights and status of UK nationals in the EU. Likewise the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK remains unchanged.

Can you claim the UK State Pension while living abroad? You must have paid enough National Insurance contributions to claim the basic State Pension.

Even though different rules apply, you can still claim your pension while you live overseas.

Applying for a detailed State Pension statement gives you the current status. It informs you how much State Pension you might receive.

Note: The deadline for European Union (EU) citizens and their families to apply to get settled or pre-settled status in the UK was the 30th of June 2021.

How to Make a Claim

To claim your State Pension you must be within four (4) months of retirement age. There are two ways to claim your pension:

  1. Get in touch with the International Pension Centre.
  2. Print off and fill in the ‘International Claim form IPC BR1‘ and then return it to the International Centre (address is on the form).

What if You Live Abroad Part of the Year?

You need to decide which bank and country you want your pension to go into. You cannot have your pension paid into different countries at different times of the year.

Bank Accounts Used for Pension Payments

You can have your State Pension paid into:

  • A bank or building society in the United Kingdom.
  • A bank in the country where you are living.

The types of accounts used most often include:

  • Your bank or building society account in the UK (or abroad).
  • Your joint account.
  • Another person’s account; you must have their permission and follow the account’s terms and conditions.

What if you have an overseas account? You should get International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identification Code (BIC) numbers. Pension payments are made in local currency (the currency of the country you live in).

Note: The actual amount you receive may fluctuate due to exchange rate variations.

When Do You Get Paid?

British State Pension abroad rules allow a payment either once every four (4) weeks or once every thirteen (13) weeks. So, you can choose to have your State Pension paid monthly or quarterly.

You will only receive one payment per year if your State Pension is under £5 a week. This annual payment falls in December.

Payment Delays at US Bank Holidays

A US company processes pension payments. That means a bank holiday in America may affect the payment date of your pension. It usually means your payment will arrive one working day later than normal.

What Affects Your UK State Pension Abroad?

You qualify for the State Pension yearly increase only if you live in one of the following countries.

If you are in any country outside of this list you will not receive the yearly increases. But, your pension will increase to the current State Pension rate if you return to live in the United Kingdom.

Professional Advice

What if you are in retirement and considering moving abroad? The International Pension Centre has advice about the impact on your pension.

State Pension UK Tax Liability

If you get classed as a UK resident for tax purposes, and live abroad, it means you may be liable for paying UK tax on the State Pension. The amount is dependent on your overall income.

As a rule, those in a non-resident classification do not need to pay UK tax on your pension. But, you may need to pay tax in the country where you live.

In some cases you may have to pay both UK and the residing country’s tax. This occurs most when there is no ‘double taxation agreement‘ with the United Kingdom.

Reporting a Change in Circumstances

You must inform the International Pension Centre of any changes in your circumstances. You can choose to call them or contact them by post. But, they do not accept email notification about changes in your circumstances. Common circumstantial changes include:

  • Changes to your bank account details.
  • A return the United Kingdom.
  • You marry or enter into a civil partnership.
  • You have a spouse or civil partner who dies.
  • You get divorced or your civil partnership dissolves.
DWP Life Certificate Form

There are checks conducted to ensure your eligibility for the UK State Pension abroad. The checks include a ‘life certificate form’ issued by the Department for Work and Pensions. If you receive the DWP form, fill it, have it witnessed, and then return the form by post to DWP.

In this case your witness:

  • Does not have to live in the United Kingdom.
  • Does not need a passport (but needs some form of ID).
  • Can be a person used to ‘countersign a passport application and photograph‘.
  • Note: Your State Pension payments may get suspended if you do not return the completed form.

What if You Return to the United Kingdom?

Call the Pension Service if you are returning to the UK. You will need to provide them with your return date and your UK and overseas contact details. Remember to contact HM Revenue and Customs and inform them of your return to Great Britain.

UK State Pension Abroad: What Happens If You Retire Overseas?