expat network

How To Claim The UK State Pension Abroad

state pension
You can continue to claim your State Pension when you decide to retire abroad, provided you have paid enough UK National Insurance contributions to qualify.  If you have not yet started receiving your pension you can get a State Pension statement to tell you how much State Pension you may get



In order to claim your pension you should contact the International Pension Centre or send the international claim form to the International Pension Centre.

You should be sent a claim form 4 months before you reach your State Pension age.  Contact the International Pension Centre (IPC) if you haven’t received a letter 3 months before you reach State Pension age.

If you’ve worked in the UK and abroad, you will need to send the international claim form to the IPC.

You can fill in the international claim form, which requires a wide range of information about your past addresses and employers etc or make a claim by phone on the number below.  The phone option is by far the easier option.  You’ll need the international bank account number (IBAN) and bank identification code (BIC) numbers for your overseas account.


International Pension Centre
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 7777
Textphone: +44 (0)191 218 7280
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (currently only operating between 9.30am and 3.30pm due to Covid)
Find out about call charges

Many experience long delays waiting for their claim to be processed and it is advisable to follow up with a phone call to check progress if you have not heard anything within two months.  This generally seems to result in the claim being prioritised.


Payment of the state pension while abroad

Your State Pension can be paid into a bank or building society in the UK or a bank in the country you’re living in.  This can be your account, a joint account or someone else’s account, provided you have their permission.  You will need the international bank account number (IBAN) and bank identification code (BIC) numbers if you have an overseas account.  You must choose which country you want your pension to be paid in. You cannot be paid in one country for part of the year and another for the rest of the year.

You will either be paid in local currency into a local account or will need to change the funds into local currency when you send the money from your UK account.  You will therefore see the amount you get in local currency change as the exchange rate fluctuates.

You can choose to be paid every 4 or 13 weeks.


Increases in your pension while abroad

One of the most significant changes when you travel abroad is whether your UK state pensions will be increased as the pension is increased in the budget each year.  Currently if you remain in the UK your state pension will increase each year by the greater of the percentage growth in average earnings, inflation (CPI) and 2.5%.  Whether you get this increase will depend on where you decide to retire.  You pension will be frozen at the rate when you leave the country unless your are moving to one of these countries:

  • Countries in the EEA, which includes all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway
  • Gibraltar,
  • Switzerland
  • Countries the UK has a social security agreement with (except Canada, Australia and New Zealand):
    • Barbados
    • Bermuda
    • Bosnia-Herzegovina
    • Jersey
    • Guernsey
    • the Isle of Man
    • Israel
    • Jamaica
    • Kosovo
    • Macedonia
    • Mauritius
    • Montenegro
    • The Philippines
    • Serbia
    • Turkey
    • USA

Your pension will go up to the current rate if you return to live in the UK.


Earning a State Pension Abroad

If you live or work abroad in another country, you may be able to contribute towards that country’s State Pension scheme and be eligible for that country’s state pension as well as your UK State Pension.

If you worked in the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Gibraltar and Switzerland you only need to claim your state pension in the last country where you lived or worked. Your claim will cover all EEA countries (including the UK), Gibraltar and Switzerland. You don’t need to claim for each country separately.  Outside these countries you will need to contact the pension service in that country separately to claim any pension due.


If you are planning to retire abroad join us for our Retire Abroad Virtual Roadshow in the week commencing 23rd January 2023.