National Insurance if you work abroad

You might have to pay National Insurance in the UK while you’re working abroad. It depends on where you’re working and how long for.

Working in the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

Check whether you’ll pay National Insurance in the UK or social security in another country when you go to the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Working in countries with social security agreements outside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

You’ll either pay National Insurance in the UK or social security in another country when you go to one of the following:

Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Israel, Jamaica, Jersey, Kosovo, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Turkey, USA.

You will not have to pay both.

If you work for an employer in the country you’re going to

You’ll usually pay social security there.

This may affect your entitlement to benefits and healthcare.

If you’re self-employed or working for a UK employer

You’ll usually pay National Insurance in the UK if you’re working abroad temporarily and you’re either:

  • usually self-employed in the UK
  • sent by your employer

You or your employer will need a certificate of continuing liability as proof that you do not have to pay social security contributions in the country you’re working in.

If you pay social security in the country you’re going to

You might be able to make voluntary class 2 National Insurance contributions while you’re paying social security abroad.

Your payments will protect:

  • your benefit entitlement if you return to the UK
  • your State Pension whether you choose to return to the UK or stay living abroad

Voluntary National Insurance contributions do not cover your health insurance in the country where you live.

Contact HMRC to find out if you’re eligible.

To apply to pay voluntary contributions, read leaflet NI38 and fill in form CF83 (found at the back). Send it back to HMRC using the address on the form.

Working in any other country

You’ll carry on paying National Insurance for the first 52 weeks you’re abroad if you’re working for an employer outside the EEA, Switzerland and bilateral Social Security agreement countries, and 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

If you work for the UK government or armed forces

You’ll usually pay National Insurance if you’re working abroad and you’re one of the following:

  • a UK civil servant or other government worker
  • working in an embassy, consular post or diplomatic mission - or working for someone who does
  • working for HM Armed Forces

If you work at sea

Whether you pay UK National Insurance depends on things like:

  • where you normally live
  • where your employer is based
  • where you work
  • the type of work you do