What happens to my pension when I move abroad?

If you live abroad, or plan on retiring abroad and have a defined contribution pension in the UK, you can either:

  • leave your pot in the UK and take your money from abroad
  • move your pension pot abroad

You can also mix these options, e.g. leave one pension in the UK and move another abroad.

Taking your pension from abroad

If you leave your pension pot in the UK, you have the same UK pension options.

UK pension providers don’t usually pay the money from your pension straight into overseas bank accounts. If they do, they may charge fees. Check with your provider.

Alternatively, you can ask your provider to pay your pension into a UK bank account. You could then withdraw the money with your debit card from abroad, or transfer the money yourself into a foreign account.

Always check bank charges and exchange rates.

Moving your pension abroad

It’s possible to move your pension abroad. If you’re interested in this, make sure you transfer the money into a qualifying recognised overseas pensions scheme or there’ll be a tax charge. These schemes meet the same standards as those in the UK.

Transferring your pension could change the amount you get when you retire. Check with your provider.

You could have less choice about what you can do with your pension pot than if you left it in the UK. You may also have to pay more charges.

Tax when taking your pension abroad

You might have to pay UK tax on your pension.

You might also have to pay tax in the country where you’re resident. If that country has a double taxation agreement with the UK, you might not have to be taxed twice – in the UK and abroad.

If you plan to retire abroad you must tell HM Revenue and Customs so that you pay the right tax on your pension.

If you move abroad before you start taking your pension, overseas tax laws may prevent you from taking anything tax free.

Your State Pension

You can get your State Pension abroad if you qualify.

Getting more help

Contact The Pensions Advisory Service for free and impartial information on how to take your pension abroad.

The International Pension Centre can help with your State Pension abroad.

You can find a financial adviser to help you choose the right pension option when moving abroad. You may be charged a fee for this advice.

If you live in a European Economic Area country and need advice from a UK financial adviser, you should check they have legal approval to give financial advice – sometimes known as passporting – in your country.