Guidance

Benefits and pensions for UK nationals in the EU, EEA or Switzerland

This guidance explains the rights of UK nationals in the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland to 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.

If you move abroad

You will need to tell the government office that deals with your benefits or your UK State Pension if you are moving or retiring abroad.

UK State Pension

You can carry on receiving your UK State Pension if you move to live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension from these countries.

Your UK State Pension will be increased each year in the EU in line with the rate paid in the UK.

You can also count relevant social security contributions made in EU countries to meet the qualifying conditions for a UK State Pension.

This guidance is for UK nationals, however these rules on the State Pension apply to everyone regardless of your nationality and regardless or when you moved.

Benefits if you are moving to the EU, EEA or Switzerland

If you are moving, or thinking of moving, to an EU, EEA country or Switzerland the rules for paying some UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland changed from 1 January 2021.

Moving to an EU country permanently

There are rules which say which country you should claim benefits from.

If you’re eligible, the following benefits and payments can be paid in the EU:

  • Bereavement Support Payment and other bereavement benefits

  • industrial injuries benefits

  • Maternity Allowance

  • Statutory Maternity Pay

  • Statutory Paternity Pay

  • Statutory Sick Pay

Relevant social security contributions made in an EU country can be used to help you qualify for some UK benefits while you are in the UK, for example:

There is more information about where you pay your social security contributions when working in the EU.

Moving to Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein permanently

This guidance is being updated.

Moving abroad temporarily

You can claim some benefits abroad for a time-limited period if you move abroad temporarily, for example for planned medical treatment, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions.

Check which benefits you can claim while abroad.

Benefits if you were living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020

This guidance is for UK nationals. If you were living in an EU country by 31 December 2020 you are covered by the EU Withdrawal Agreement. There are equivalent agreements in place if you were living in an EEA country or Switzerland by 31 December 2020. Read fuller guidance on citizens’ rights.

You can carry on receiving any UK benefits you already receive in the EU, EEA or Switzerland for as long as you carry on living there, and continue to meet all other eligibility requirements.

There are rules which say which country you should claim benefits from. You may also be able make new claims for some UK benefits, if you meet all the other eligibility requirements.

Read guidance on which benefits you can claim if you live, move or travel abroad.

Check which benefits you can claim while abroad and how to claim them, using an online checker.

Moving within the EU, EEA or Switzerland

This guidance is for UK nationals. If you were living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 the rules on which UK benefits you can claim have not changed, as long as you carry on living in a country in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.

Evidence you will need to provide

You may be asked to send us evidence that you were living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 if:

  • you make a new claim from the EU, EEA or Switzerland for some benefits

  • you report certain changes of circumstances (for example, a move from the UK to the EU, EEA or Switzerland)

You will only need to send us this evidence where the rules for people not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement are different from the rules for people covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.

You will also be asked to send us this evidence if you are a UK national living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 and have taken up citizenship by naturalisation in that EU or EEA country or Switzerland.

The evidence you will be asked to send us includes:

  • a copy of your residence document, where issued by 31 December 2020

  • a copy of your EU, EEA or Swiss passport and naturalisation document, if you have taken up citizenship in your home country by 31 December 2020

If you do not have either of the above documents issued by 31 December 2020, you will be asked to send us copies of official documents which show evidence of your home address in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as at 31 December 2020, such as:

  • bank statements

  • rent or mortgage statements and evidence of payment

  • utility bills

The documents must be dated and have your name on them. This is not a complete list.

It is important that you keep these documents as you may need them if you claim in future.

These documents will be used to help provide evidence of your place of residence in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as at 31 December 2020.

Contact the International Pension Centre for further guidance if you do not have any of these documents

If you are claiming Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit, contact HMRC.

Moving to Ireland

You can claim and carry on receiving some UK benefits in Ireland if you are a UK or Irish national, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

Pensions and benefits paid by an EU, EEA country or Switzerland

Check the rules in the country you are living in or moving to with that country’s social security authority. You can find out more by checking the country specific guidance for UK nationals.

Annuities and personal pensions from a UK pension provider

Your pension provider should have made plans to make sure you can still get payments from your annuity or personal pension following the UK leaving the EU.

Your pension provider should contact you if they need to make changes to your annuity or pension or the way you are paid. The Financial Conduct Authority has published information on what pension providers need to do because the UK has left the EU.

If you have any questions, contact your pension provider.

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. This guidance has been updated with the new rules for claiming benefits and pensions for UK nationals living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland from 1 January 2021. It confirms that the UK State Pension will be increased each year in the EU in line with the rate paid in the UK. It clarifies which benefits you can claim if you move the EU permanently. And it explains what evidence people living in the EU by 31 December 2020 may need to provide to claim UK benefits.

  3. Added guidance on evidence you may need to provide to prove that you were living in the EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 if you make a new claim for some benefits or pensions or you report certain changes of circumstances on or after 1 January 2021.

  4. Updated the 'Moving to an EEA state or Switzerland from 1 January 2021' section.

  5. First published.