International cases and the new State Pension

Posted on: 25 May 2016 by James Hester

The State Pension is an important income that you could be eligible to receive when you reach State Pension age.

international cases and State Pension



How working abroad affects your State Pension

From 6 April 2016 to get any new State Pension, you’ll need to have at least ten qualifying years on your National Insurance (NI) record when you reach State Pension age.

For most people in the UK, this means paying NI contributions which are deducted from your salary by your employer. However, if you have gained qualifying years in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a country which has a social security agreement with the UK, these can be counted towards the required 10 qualifying years. But in these cases your new State Pension amount will be based on your UK qualifying years only.

If you are working in a country outside the EEA, which does not have a reciprocal social security agreement or a Double Contributions Convention with the UK you will continue to pay UK NI contributions for the first 52 weeks you are working abroad, so long as:

  • Your employer has a business address in the UK
  • You usually live in the UK
  • You were living in the UK immediately before working abroad
  • You are earning above a certain amount 



Working for the UK government or armed forces

You will usually continue to pay UK NI contributions while working abroad if you are:

  • A UK Civil Servant or other Government worker
  • Working in an embassy, consular post or diplomatic mission
  • A member of the armed forces



Payment of UK State Pension

The UK State Pension is paid on the basis of National Insurance contributions, not on the basis of nationality or citizenship, and it is paid worldwide to those who meet the entitlement conditions.

The UK is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), so if you live in any of the other member countries and are entitled to a UK State Pension it will be increased each year. There are 32 member countries of the EEA, including for example Germany, France, and Ireland. The full list can be found here.

As well as the EEA there are countries with which the UK has a bilateral agreement that allows for annual uprating. These include for example the USA, Bermuda and Turkey. The full list can be found at: here..



How much will I get?

Remember, your total income in retirement could be made up of your State Pension, as well as your workplace pension and any private savings you may have built up.

The quickest way to find your State Pension is to check your State Pension online

Check your State Pension is a new online service where you can find out what State Pension you may get, the earliest you can get it and if you can improve it. Once you have signed in, the service forecasts how much State Pension you may get at your State Pension age. It will also show your National Insurance record, if there are any gaps on your record and how to fill the gaps.  If you are unable to access the online service, you can get a State Pension statement through the post instead. More information is available at:


Further Information

You can find out more about the State Pension at and

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Phrase of the week

Discover more about the new State Pension with our daily glossary of common words and phrases.

Week starting Monday 23 May 2016

Qualifying year

A complete tax year during a person’s working life in which they paid, were treated as having paid or were credited with National Insurance contributions on earnings above the weekly ‘Lower Earnings Limit’ (£112 a week in 2016 to 2017).