Benefits abroad in non-EEA countries

If you move or travel to a non-European Economic Area (EEA) country overseas, you will not automatically receive benefits from the UK. Entitlement will depend on whether your stay abroad is temporary or permanent. You can continue to claim some benefits while you are abroad.

Claiming when abroad in a non-EEA country

You must let your Jobs and Benefits office know that you are going abroad. If it is only a temporary move, then give the date you are planning to come back.

Your entitlement to benefits abroad also depends on which country you are going to. If you are going to an EEA country or one with a social security arrangement with the UK, you might get extra UK-based benefits. Or, you might be able to get a benefit which that country provides.

For most benefits provided by other countries under these arrangements, you will have to have paid National Insurance contributions in the UK. Form U1 is a record of UK National Insurance contributions which may help a claim for unemployment benefit in another EU country.

You can get an application form for this and other related forms by contacting your local Jobs and Benefits office.

Income Support

If you are going abroad permanently you cannot get Income Support.

In certain circumstances you can get Income Support for four weeks or eight weeks of your absence abroad, even though one of the conditions of entitlement to Income Support is that you are resident in Northern Ireland.

You will need to provide evidence to find out if Income Support will be payable for any of the period that you are out of the country.

For further information, contact your local Jobs and Benefits office.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Employment and Support Allowance can be paid abroad in certain circumstances.

If you are temporarily absent from the UK, you may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance for the first four weeks of your absence.

For further information, contact the ESA Centre.

Jobseeker's Allowance - contribution based

You can't usually get contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance outside the EEA. For further information, contact your local Jobs and Benefits office.  

Jobseeker's Allowance - income-based

If you are going abroad permanently you can't get income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.

You can't usually get income-based Jobseeker's Allowance if your stay abroad is only temporary.

Check with your local Jobs and Benefits office if you need to fill in any forms before you go abroad.

Statutory Maternity Pay

If you work outside the EEA you may be able to get Statutory Maternity Pay if your employer pays National Insurance contributions for you.

Statutory Sick Pay

To qualify if you work outside the EEA, your employer will need to be paying National Insurance contributions for you.

National Insurance abroad

For information about your UK National Insurance (NI) contributions while abroad you can contact the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC can tell you if you have to pay NI contributions for periods you have worked or will work outside of the UK.

HM Revenue and Customs

The centre can help you:

  • provide a statement of how much NI contributions you have already paid
  • tell you if you have to pay UK NI contributions for any period that you have worked, or will work, outside the UK as either an employee or a self-employed person
  • give you basic information about health care if you are moving or travelling outside the UK
  • send you a Basic State Pension Forecast as long as you are not within four months of UK State Pension age

If your circumstances have changed while abroad

Please contact HMRC quoting your National Insurance number and tell them what change has occurred and when it happened.

For example, if living abroad and you are a woman, you should tell HMRC if you get married or become divorced or widowed.

If you move house while abroad, you need to tell HMRC when you move and where you moved to. If you do not tell them when you move, HMRC will not be able to keep your records up-to-date. This means you cannot be contacted if your tax-year National Insurance contributions are not enough to count for benefit purposes.

HMRC would normally write to let you know how much you could pay in voluntary National Insurance contributions to make that year count. When you are nearing State Pension age, HMRC invite you to claim any basic State Pension you are entitled to. HMRC cannot do this if your current address is not up-to-date.

You can find out more information about your NI contributions from the HMRC's helpline or on the GOV.UK website.

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