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National Insurance When Working Abroad

Do I need to pay National Insurance if I work abroad? HMRC can inform those who work overseas whether they must pay UK National Insurance Contributions (NIC).

NIC ABROAD: Paying NIC while working abroad helps you protect your future State Pension.

It also secures your entitlement to claim several other UK benefits and allowances.

As a rule, you can pay UK National Insurance Contributions even while you work abroad.

The country you are living in, and how long you work outside the United Kingdom, determines whether you can pay NIC.

Pay National Insurance Working Abroad

Working in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland means you usually pay their social security contributions. If that happens, it is unlikely that you will be paying your UK National Insurance as well.

If you work in another EU country, the upside is that their social security laws and benefits should cover you while you work abroad.

The downside could mean that you have gaps in your National Insurance record. This can affect your claim for future State Pension payments and other UK benefit entitlements. But, in most cases you can make voluntary contributions to fill the gap.

If you are temporarily assigned abroad by your UK employer, you may have to continue paying your contributions. Temporary is defined as less than two years. In this case, you would not have to pay social security in the country where you are working.

Note: Your employer can confirm whether this applies to you by completing CA3822 form. But, the process may be delayed if your employer did not send form CA3821 to inform HMRC about sending employees abroad.

You may still be entitled to medical treatment in the country where you are living and working. Medical treatment for UK workers overseas may be free or at a reduced cost.

Self-employed and National Insurance Abroad

As a general rule, you continue paying National Insurance working abroad if you are:

In these cases, you would not have to pay social security in the country where you are working. You can complete form CA3837 using your Government Gateway account for this purpose. Post any other relevant information to the address supplied on the form.

UK Workers in Countries with Bilateral Social Security Agreements

What happens if you work as an employee in a country which has a Reciprocal Agreement or Double Contribution Convention? These arrangement are also called ‘bilateral Social Security agreements‘.

In this case you would pay that country’s social security contributions instead of UK NIC. You do not have to pay both. Countries which have bilateral Social Security agreements with the United Kingdom include;

Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Guernsey, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Turkey, USA.

HMRC Working Abroad Temporarily

If you are temporarily posted overseas by your UK employer, you may have to continue paying NI when living abroad. You will not have to pay the social security in the country where you are working.

You might be entitled to free medical treatment in that country or at a reduced cost. It could also mean that you need to buy extra health care insurance.

Note: Your employer can confirm whether this applies to you.

Workers who are self-employed should carry on paying NI when working abroad if they are:

  • Usually self-employed in the United Kingdom.
  • Working overseas for no more than two (2) years.

In these cases, you would not have to pay social security in the country where you are working. You should complete form CA9107 in full and post it to the address on the document.

UK Workers in any other Country

Different rules apply if your employer is outside the EEA, Switzerland and bilateral Social Security agreement countries. For the first 52 weeks you work overseas you continue to pay UK NIC if you meet these conditions:

  • Ordinarily you are a resident in the United Kingdom.
  • You were residing in the UK directly before you started working abroad.
  • Your employer has a business in the United Kingdom.

You are not required to pay Class 2 National Insurance if you are self employed. This can affect your state pension and other UK benefits so you may decide to continue paying. But, certain conditions apply. Contact HM Revenue and Customs to check if you are eligible.

Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

UK overseas workers can pay voluntary National Insurance contributions if they are eligible. You should check for gaps in your NI record because it can affect your State Pension and some UK benefits. This could be important if you return to live in the United Kingdom.

Note: Paying voluntary National Insurance contributions from abroad does not change health insurance in the country where you are living or working.

NI Contributions for Government Working Abroad

You pay UK National Insurance contributions if you are working overseas and any of the following apply to you:

  • A member of HM Armed Forces.
  • A United Kingdom government worker.
  • Your work, or someone you work for, is in an embassy, consular post, or diplomatic mission.

Apply to Pay Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

Contact HMRC to check if you are eligible to pay voluntary NI contributions. Further information is available on the Government NI38 leaflet. Fill in form CF83 on the bottom of this leaflet and mail it to the relevant address.

HMRC National Insurance Advice

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs centre can help if you:

  • Need a statement showing how much NI contributions you have paid.
  • Want to know whether you must pay UK NI contributions for a period that you worked, or will work abroad; this applies as an employee or as a self-employed person.
  • Would like information about National Insurance overseas health care when moving outside the United Kingdom.
  • Want a Basic State Pension Forecast (for people no more than 4 months away from UK State Pension age).

Paying National Insurance when Living and Working Abroad ‘Temporarily’