It is possible to pay voluntary UK National Insurance Contributions (NICs) whilst working overseas. By doing so can help secure your entitlement to a full UK State Pension.
If you are employed abroad and satisfy certain conditions, you can choose to pay voluntary Class 2 NICs to fill gaps you may have in your NIC record. Currently the Class 2 NIC cost is only £179.40 per annum.
You need at least 10 qualifying years of UK NICs to be entitled to any UK State Pension, but normally now you need 35 years of contributions for the full UK State Pension. There is a sizable difference between the minimum and maximum UK State Pension, it currently rises from £58.24 per week to £203.85 per week (difference of £7,571 p.a.). Therefore paying ‘reasonable’ NICs to fill these gaps can lead to a substantial difference in the amount of UK State Pension receivable.
You can Check your National Insurance record – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Check your State Pension forecast – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), for this you need a UK Government Gateway account.
Currently, voluntary NICs can be made to fill gaps back to April 2006. It was announced that this would be curtailed from 6 April 2023 to be able to go back 6 years only. However this deadline was extended to 31 July 2023 earlier this year, and was on Monday 12 June 2023 extended again to 5 April 2025. Deadline for voluntary National Insurance contributions extended to April 2025 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Therefore those working abroad have until 5 April 2025 to fill any gaps in their NIC record from April 2006.
Sovereign Tax Services specialise in providing UK tax services to non-UK residents. They can provide guidance on who qualifies and the process for applying.