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 from 1 February 2020.

The UK has left the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and provides for a transition period lasting until 31 December 2020. This is a time-limited period before changes take place.

This page tells you how to prepare and will be updated if anything changes.

Read about the transition period.

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There will be no changes before 1 January 2021 to the rules on claiming benefits and pensions in the UK as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after the transition period.

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, now that the UK has left the EU. 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 will be able to enter the UK, as now, until 31 December 2020.

You will be eligible to claim benefits until 31 December 2020. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, 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 from 1 January 2021

If you arrive in the UK from 1 January 2021 you will be able to apply for an immigration status under the future immigration system. The rules on claiming certain UK benefits will change.

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 Withdrawal Agreement, you can still use these to help you qualify for a UK State Pension.

Moving back to the EEA or Switzerland from 1 January 2021

If you move back to the EEA or Switzerland and you are covered by the 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 29 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. 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.

  2. First published.