UK state pension basics for expats

I had a couple of queries from fellow expats regarding UK state pension entitlement this week. So I thought that I would put together a short note covering some of the basics, in case anyone else was in the same boat.


Obtain a pension forecast

The first thing to do with regards to UK state pension is to find out where you stand currently. You can do this by obtaining a pension forecast here.


How to continue building up state pension entitlement while an expat

You can do this by either making Class 3 voluntary national insurance contributions or Class 2 self employed contributions.

For tax year 2018/2019, Class 2 rates are GBP2.95 per week and Class 3 rates are GBP14.65 per week. Both entitle you to exactly the same in terms of future pension benefit.

As an expat, you should be able to make Class 2 self employed contributions as long as you are employed overseas (yes, I know it doesn’t make sense).

To do so, complete the last 2 pages of form NI38 and return them (be warned, it will likely take them a few weeks to respond).


Making up for missed contributions

There is the option on the NI38 form mentioned above to find out about any back payments that you may be able to make.

Whether you should do so will depend on a) the number of qualifying years that you have clocked already and b) the number of years that you still have to go until retirement.


Qualifying for UK state pension

You will  need 35 years of qualifying contributions to  receive the maximum state pension and at least 10 years worth to receive any form of state pension.