Guidance

Benefits and pensions for EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK

This guidance explains the rights of European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens to UK benefits and pensions.

The UK has left the EU. The EU Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

Irish citizens living in the UK

You, and members of your family living in the UK, will be able to claim or continue to receive the UK benefits you are entitled to. You will also continue to receive any Irish benefits you remain entitled to while living in the UK.

Other EEA and Swiss citizens

Living in the UK by 31 December 2020

You and your family members living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to claim or continue receiving UK benefits for as long as you continue to be lawfully resident in the UK and meet the eligibility requirements.

You will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 to remain in the UK and be eligible to claim benefits.

Moving to the UK

If you want to move to the UK you will be able to apply for an immigration status under the skills-based immigration system. The rules on claiming certain UK benefits have changed.

You will still be eligible for a UK State Pension as long as you meet the qualifying conditions.

If you have made social security contributions in the EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 and you are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, you can still use these to help you qualify for a UK State Pension.

Moving back to the EEA or Switzerland

If you move back to the EEA or Switzerland and you are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, you may still be able to claim certain UK benefits as long as you meet all other eligibility requirements.

UK workplace pensions

UK law allows for workplace pensions to be paid overseas. The government does not expect this to change because the UK has left the EU.

If you have any questions, contact your pension provider.

If your workplace pension is paid into a UK bank account, your bank should contact you if they need to change the way you receive your pension because the UK has left the EU.

Published 24 January 2020
Last updated 31 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated the content to reflect that the EU Transition Period has ended.

  2. Under 'Moving to the UK from 1 January 2021', clarified that you need to be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement to use social security contributions made in the EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 to help you qualify for a UK State Pension.

  3. First published.