Guidance

Social security contributions for workers coming to the UK from the EEA or Switzerland

Check where you need to pay social security contributions if you’re from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland and are working in UK.

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

If you come to work permanently in the UK from the EU, Norway or Switzerland, you’ll only pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time. This will usually be the UK, if that is where the work is being done.

However, if you work in certain occupations or are only working temporarily in the UK, you may be able to get a certificate or document from the social security institution you are coming from, to continue paying social security contributions there. This means you’ll not have to pay social security contributions in the UK.

In the UK, social security contributions are called National Insurance contributions.

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

When you’ll continue to pay social security contributions in the EU

You’ll continue to only pay social security contributions in the EU if you have the relevant certificate or document from the social security institution in that country. You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate or document if you’re:

  • coming from the EU to work temporarily in the UK for up to 2 years
  • a multistate worker working in one or more EU countries and the UK
  • a civil servant working for an EU Government
  • working on board a vessel at sea, with an EU flag
  • working as a flight or cabin crew member, where your home base is in the EU

The relevant certificate or document is not a work permit. You’ll need to check the UK’s immigration rules if you’re not lawfully resident in the UK.

When you’ll continue to only pay social security contributions Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You should apply for a certificate to continue to pay social security contributions in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland if you’re coming to work temporarily in the UK and you’re a:

  • national of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, who started working in the UK before 1 January 2021 and have been working here since
  • national of the UK, who was resident in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland before 1 January 2021
  • person with dual nationality, one of which is the UK and one of which is Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland
  • national of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, who is a multistate worker, meaning 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 Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

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

You may still be able to apply to the relevant social security institution where you’ve come from, for a certificate or document to continue to only pay social security contributions in that country, if you’re not covered by one of these agreements but you’re coming to work temporarily in the UK from:

Norway

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

Switzerland

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

Iceland

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

When you’ll pay social security contributions in the UK

You’ll need to pay National Insurance contributions in the UK if you are coming here to work and you are not eligible for a certificate or document from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland or if you are coming to work in the UK permanently.

How to apply for a certificate or document

If you’re resident in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, contact the social security institution in the country you reside in to find out if you can apply for a certificate or document.

If you think you’re eligible for a certificate or document from the UK, follow the table to see how to apply:

Your circumstances Form to complete
You’re working temporarily in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Form CA3822
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 work 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
You’re a UK civil servant or other government worker. Form CA3822

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 that all EU member states have expressed their wish to opt in to apply the detached worker provision. This means that individuals coming to work temporarily in the UK (and their employers) should apply for a certificate or document from the social security organisation in the EU member state they are coming from.

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

  3. First published.