You might be able to pay UK National Insurance while you’re working abroad, depending on where you’re working and how long for.

You’ll protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances if you keep paying National Insurance while you’re abroad.

Working in Europe

If you work for an employer in an EEA country or Switzerland, you’ll normally pay social security contributions in that country instead of UK National Insurance. This means:

  • you’ll be covered by that country’s social security laws and may be entitled to benefits there
  • your entitlement to benefits in the UK (eg State Pension) may be affected as there’ll be a gap in your National Insurance contributions

If your UK employer sends you to work abroad temporarily (for up to 2 years) you might have to carry on paying National Insurance - you won’t have to pay social security contributions abroad. Ask your employer if this applies to you.

You may still get free or reduced cost medical treatment in the country where you’re working.

If you’re self-employed

You may have to carry on paying National Insurance if you’re:

  • usually self-employed in the UK
  • working abroad temporarily (for up to 2 years)

If you are, you won’t have to pay social security contributions in the country where you’re working.

Fill in form CA3837 and send it to the address on the form.

Working in countries with bilateral Social Security agreements

If you start working for an employer in a country with a Reciprocal Agreement or Double Contribution Convention (sometimes called ‘bilateral Social Security agreements’), you’ll usually pay social security contributions in that country instead of UK National Insurance.

These countries are:

Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Guernsey, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Turkey, USA.

You may have to continue paying contributions to the UK instead of the country you’re posted to if you’re sent there temporarily by your UK employer. Your employer will tell you if you qualify and give you the forms you need.

This may affect your entitlement to healthcare and other benefits - ask your employer for more details.

If you’re self-employed

You may be able to carry on paying UK National Insurance if you’re:

  • usually self-employed in the UK
  • working abroad temporarily

If you do, you won’t have to pay social security contributions in the country where you’re working.

Contact HMRC for form CA9107.

Working in any other country

You’ll carry on paying UK 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’re self-employed

You don’t need to pay Class 2 National Insurance, but you can carry on paying it if you want to protect your State Pension and benefit entitlement, as long as you meet certain conditions. Contact HMRC to find out if you’re eligible.

If you work for the UK government or armed forces

You’ll usually pay UK 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

Voluntary contributions

If you’re eligible you can pay voluntary National Insurance contributions that go towards your State Pension and certain benefits and allowances if you return to the UK.

Voluntary National Insurance contributions paid from abroad don’t cover your health insurance in the country where you live.

Apply to pay voluntary National Insurance

Contact HMRC if you want to check your eligibility.

Read leaflet NI38 and fill in form CF83 (found at the back). Send it back to HMRC using the address on the form.