Retiring Abroad? Your State Pension could be affected

The UK state pension income is able to be claimed by anyone who has a minimum of 10 years of National Insurance contributions and has reached the state pension age. This also applies to anyone who has retired abroad, but there are some changes that may affect this.

To claim the state pension abroad, you must be within 4 months of reaching the state pension age and also have between 10-35 years’ worth of National Insurance contributions before you can apply.

In order to claim the pension, you must contact the International Pension Centre (IPC) and complete an International Claim form.

If you don’t live abroad permanently then you must choose the country you wish to have the pension paid into, but you will not be able to have the state pension paid into more than 1 country.

Any eligible person can have their state pension paid into a bank account in the country they live in. To have the pension paid to a non-UK bank account, you will need an International Bank Account Number (IBAN), along with a Bank Identification Code (BIC) to receive your payment overseas.

You’ll be paid in the local currency so the amount you receive will be impacted by exchange rates, and you will have a choice over how frequently you are paid (either every 4 weeks or 13 weeks).

The state pension is guaranteed to increase every year under the triple lock system. The triple lock rules mean that the state pension will rises each year by the higher number of either 2.5%, UK wage growth, or inflation.*

It also applies to state pensions being claimed abroad, provided you live in one of the following:

  • Gibraltar
  • Switzerland
  • The European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Countries that have social security agreements with the UK (except Canada or New Zealand)


*Please be aware that if you are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and you move to live in an EEA state or Switzerland from 1 January 2021, the rules on entitlement to UK benefits in these countries will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the EU and may change.

Those retiring to a country not included in this list, will not be entitled to the triple lock annual increases.

If you’re planning to retire abroad, you may also want to consider that you may still need to pay tax on your UK state pension if you live abroad, but are still classed as a UK resident for tax purposes. This means that you could end up paying tax twice – having your state pension taxed by both the country you live in and also the UK.

This article is based on current legislation and may change in the future.