You and your UK State Pension


As an expat, your UK state pension is an important part of your retirement planning. The great news is that expats, despite living and working abroad, are still eligible for their UK state pension – provided they have paid 35 years of National Insurance Contributions (NICs). As an expat, you can get paid your state pension abroad, as well as carry on working.  

UK State Pension Snapshot

How much is the full basic UK state pension? £134.25
What age can I claim? The current state pension age (in 2020) is 66 years old for men and women. It is scheduled to rise to 67 years old by 2028. Check your personal state pension age here
As an expat, am I eligible? Yes
What is the eligibility basis? 35 years of National Insurance Contribution (NIC) payments
Can I get paid my pension abroad? Yes
Can I carry on working as an expat at the same time as receiving my state pension? Yes
Do I need to pay NICs as an expat? Depends on your NIC status. Check yours here

Am I eligible for a full UK state pension as an UK expat living in the US?

Yes – providing you have made 35 years of National Insurance Contributions (NIC) payments. Usually, NIC payments are taken at source by the HMRC as part of PAYE. The good news is, that if you have missed a few years in the past, you may be able to make up with voluntary NIC payments. Otherwise, you are destined for a reduced pension.

As an expat living and working abroad, do I need to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs)?

It is up to you whether you pay NICs as an expat. It depends on whether you want your full state pension of £134.25 per week. If so, you need to make 35 years of NIC payments to qualify. Whether you are abroad or not does not impact this, as – if you are eligible – you will be able to make voluntary NIC payments (if you are eligible) from home or abroad. ⦁ If you want your full UK state pension and you still have years of NICs to pay, then you do need to pay some NICs whilst you are abroad as a UK expat. ⦁ But if you do not want your state pension, or you have paid the requisite years of NIC payments, then no, you do not need to pay NICs as an expat. Use the official UK government websites to: See where you are with your NICs See what UK state pension you are likely to get

How do I claim my UK state pension?

You should get a letter two months before your coming of state pension age. This letter will invite you to formally apply for your state pension; you NEED to do this. You will not get your state pension automatically. Of course, as an expat, you might not receive a letter from the UK government because of transnational mail issues. Luckily, if you are within 4 months of your state pension age, you can apply for your UK state pension yourself online, without having received a letter of invitation.

Got your NICs in a twist? Speak to a professional

Despite good HMRC information resources online, it is easy to be unclear about your state pension position. NICs are not simple, and you don’t want to miss out on what you are owed. So speak to an Archway representative and get some tips on how best to approach your UK state pension.