Guidance

National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland

Check if you should pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. 

If you leave the UK to work in:

  • the EU or Switzerland, you will only pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, you may need to pay into more than one country’s social security scheme at a time

You will usually pay social security contributions in the country you are working in.

If you’re an employer, your liability to pay social security contributions will follow the liability of the employee working abroad.

If you go to work in the EU or Switzerland

The UK has social security agreements with the EU and Switzerland.

You only need to pay National Insurance in the UK if we have issued you with the relevant certificate.

The certificate can be used as evidence that you do not need to pay social security contributions in the country you are working in.

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate if any of the following apply, you’re:

  • going to work temporarily in an EU country or Switzerland for up to 2 years
  • working in the UK and Switzerland at the same time
  • working in the UK and one more EU countries, at the same time
  • a civil servant working for the UK government
  • working onboard a vessel at sea, with a UK flag
  • resident in the UK and working for a UK employer
  • working as a flight or cabin crew member, where your home base is in the UK

The relevant certificate is not a work permit. You need to check the UK immigration rules.

If you go to work in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway

Check if you’re covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement

You’re covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement if you’re a:

  • national of the UK who was resident or started working in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway before 1 January 2021, and have been working there since
  • national of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, who was resident or started working in the UK before 1 January 2021, including if you have EU Settlement Scheme status
  • family member of a national of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway who has EU Settlement Scheme status, and you’re residing in the UK
  • UK national and a national of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, and you were resident or started working in one of those countries before 1 January 2021
  • national of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway if all of the following apply:
    • you’re working in the UK and one or more of these countries at the same time, before 1 January 2021
    • you’re continuing to work in the UK and one or more of these countries
    • you mainly work in the UK

If you’re covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement

You only need to pay National Insurance in the UK if we have issued you with the relevant certificate.

The certificate can be used as evidence that you do not need to pay social security contributions in the other country.

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate if any of the following apply, you’re:

  • going to work temporarily in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway for up to 2 years
  • working in the UK and one or more countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway
  • 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, when your home base is in the UK

If you’re not covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement

The UK has social security agreements with Iceland and Norway which are also called reciprocal agreements.

If you’re not covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement, you may still be covered by one of these social security agreements.

If you are, you can still apply for a certificate to use as evidence that that you only need to pay National Insurance in the UK.

When the social security agreement with Norway applies

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

  • working temporarily in Norway for up to 3 years
  • working on the continental shelf area of Norway, if you live in the UK, and your employer has a place of business in the UK
  • a civil servant working for the UK government
  • working onboard a vessel at sea, with a UK flag
  • a member of the travelling personnel of organisations concerned with the transport of goods or passengers by road or air
  • working in an embassy, consular post, or diplomatic mission — or working for someone who does

You, or your employer, should send the application before you start to work in Norway.

When the social security agreement with Iceland applies

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate if you’re not a national of the UK, EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway and you are either:

  • working temporarily in Iceland for up to 1 year (the certificate can be extended by a year, but you must get agreement from HMRC before the end of the first year)
  • a civil servant working for the UK Government
  • employed in the private service of a UK civil servant

If you are not covered by a social security agreement

If you’re not covered by a social security agreement and so not eligible for a certificate from HMRC, you may need to pay social security contributions in the country you are working in.

You will still need to pay National Insurance in the UK for the first 52 weeks of working in the other country, if you meet all of the following conditions:

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

HMRC consider you’re ordinarily resident in a country if you:

  • normally live there, apart from temporary or occasional absences
  • have a settled and regular mode of life there

You can find more information about paying National Insurance in the UK as an ordinary resident.

If the conditions apply

You must check with the social security institution in the country you’re working in, whether you also need to pay social security contributions in that country.

If the conditions do not apply

You will not need to pay National Insurance in the UK, but you may be able to pay voluntary Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

Apply for a certificate

You or your employer should apply for a certificate to use as evidence that you do not need to pay social security contributions in another country.

If you normally work in the UK or the EU and your work location has changed temporarily because of coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions, HMRC can consider your individual circumstances to decide if you should pay National Insurance contributions in the UK.

You should include details of any COVID-19 restrictions when applying for a certificate.

The relevant certificate is not a work permit. You’ll need to check the UK immigration rules.

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 your situation changes

If you have applied for a certificate and a change in your situation stops the existing social security rules from applying to you, you must write to us at the following address:

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

You should include the following in your letter:

  • what your circumstances were before the changes
  • what has changed, for example:
    • your work, employment or self-employment has ended earlier than expected
    • you change employer
  • when the changes happened or are due to happen
Published 26 December 2020
Last updated 20 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. If you're working temporarily in France and you have applied for an Article 16 exception to extend your A1 certificate, you should continue to pay National Insurance in the UK until further guidance is issued.

  2. Guidance updated to reflect the agreement between the UK and Switzerland on how to apply the UK-Switzerland Social Security Convention.

  3. Guidance updated to reflect the agreement between the UK and Switzerland on how to apply the UK-Switzerland 1968 Social Security Convention.

  4. Information call out added about what to do if you normally work in the UK or the EU and your work location has changed temporarily because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

  5. 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.

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

  7. First published.