Guidance

National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland

Check which country's social security contributions you must pay if you're a worker from the UK working in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

If you’re an employee, self-employed or an employer, where you pay social security contributions will depend on your circumstances and the country you are going to work in.

If you work in the EU, Norway or Switzerland, you’ll only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time. This will usually be in the country where the work takes place.

However, if you work in certain occupations or are only working temporarily in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you may be able to get a certificate or document from HMRC to continue paying National Insurance contributions in the UK. This means you’ll not have to pay social security contributions abroad.

When you’ll continue to pay UK National Insurance contributions

You’ll continue to only pay National Insurance contributions in the UK if you have the relevant certificate or document from HMRC.

Working in the EU

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate or document if you’re:

  • going to work temporarily in the EU for up to 2 years
  • a multistate worker working in the UK and one or more EU countries
  • a civil servant working for the UK government
  • working onboard a vessel at sea, with a UK flag
  • working as a flight or cabin crew member, where the home base is in the UK

Working in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate or document to continue to only pay National Insurance contributions in the UK if you’re a:

  • national of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, who started working in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland before 1 January 2021 and have been working there since
  • national of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, who was resident in the UK before 1 January 2021, including if you have EU Settlement Scheme status
  • family member of a national of, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who has status under the EU Settlement Scheme, and you are residing in the UK
  • person with dual nationality, one of which is the nationality of, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
  • national of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland who is a multi-state worker, meaning that you were working in 2 or more countries of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland before 1 January 2021 and continue to do so and you work predominantly in the UK

You may also be able to apply for a certificate or document if you’re covered by any of the other conditions in the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

If you’re a national of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and you were living in the UK before 1 January 2021, you must apply for EU Settlement Scheme status by 30 June 2021, to protect your right to stay in the UK and your social security rights.

If you’re not covered by one of these agreements, you may still be able to apply to HMRC for a certificate or document to continue to pay National Insurance in the UK if you’re going to work temporarily in the following countries:

Norway

You should apply to HMRC for a certificate or document to continue paying UK National Insurance contributions if you’re working temporarily in Norway for up to 3 years. You should apply for a certificate or document before you go to work temporarily in Norway but must apply within the first 4 months of going to work there. This means you’ll not have to pay social security contributions in Norway for that duration of work.

Switzerland

You should apply to HMRC for a certificate or document to continue paying UK National Insurance contributions if you’re working temporarily in Switzerland for up to 2 years. This means you’ll not have to pay social security contributions in Switzerland for that duration of work.

If you’re going to work temporarily in Switzerland and you’re self-employed, you’ll need to start paying social security contributions in Switzerland. You should contact the Swiss social security institution for more information.

Iceland

You should apply to HMRC for a certificate or document to continue paying UK National Insurance contributions if you’re employed and a non-UK and non-EEA national working temporarily in Iceland for up to 1 year. This can be extended by a further year, but you must get agreement from the Iceland social security institution before the end of the first year. This means you’ll not have to pay social security contributions in Iceland for that duration of work.

When you’ll pay social security contributions in the country you’re going to work in

Going to work in Iceland or Liechtenstein

If you’re going to work in Iceland or Liechtenstein and you’re not eligible for a certificate or document from HMRC, you may need to continue paying UK National Insurance contributions for the first 52 weeks, if you meet the following 3 conditions:

  • your employer has a place of business in the UK
  • you’re ordinarily resident in the UK
  • you were living in the UK immediately before starting work abroad

You may also have to pay contributions in Iceland or Liechtenstein. You should contact the relevant social security institution for more information.

If the conditions above do not apply to you, you’ll need to pay contributions in Iceland or Lichtenstein. You’ll not be liable to pay contributions in the UK during this period, but you may be able to pay voluntary contributions.

How to apply for a certificate or document from HMRC

If you think you’re eligible for a certificate or document, then follow the table to see how to apply.

Your circumstances Form to complete
Your employer sends you to work temporarily in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Form CA3822
You’re normally self-employed in the UK and you’re going to temporarily carry out some activities in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Form CA3837
You’re working in 2 or more of the UK, EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Form CA8421
You’re flight or cabin crew with a home base in the UK. Form CA8421
You’re a UK civil servant or other government worker Form CA3822
You’re a UK resident who works on a vessel at sea with a UK flag or an EU, Norwegian, Icelandic or Swiss flag but you’re paid by someone based in the UK. Form CA3822

If HMRC advises that you must pay UK National Insurance contributions, we’ll issue a certificate or document for you to use as proof that you do not have to pay social security contributions in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

If your situation changes

If you need to check if a change in your situation stops the existing social security rules from applying to you, send a letter to HMRC, telling them:

  • what your circumstances were
  • what has changed
  • when the changes happened

You should send your letter to:

PT Operations North East England
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN

You do not need to include a street name or PO box in the address.

HMRC will let you know if they need any more information.

Published 26 December 2020
Last updated 12 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. This page has been updated to reflect the new rules for working in the EU, as all member states have expressed their wish to opt in to apply the detached worker provision.

  2. Countries who have agreed to apply the ‘detached worker’ rules have been added.

  3. First published.