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Can I collect my UK State Pension from abroad?

Can I collect my UK State Pension from abroad?
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The good news is that yes, you can indeed collect your State Pension from abroad. So, if you fancy spending your retirement in sunnier climes, here’s what you need to know.

How can I collect my State Pension from abroad?

If you’re entitled to a State Pension, you can arrange for it to be sent to a bank account in the country you’re living in. This could be anywhere, worldwide (it really is your oyster).

You can have your own account or a joint one. You can even use someone else’s bank account (with their permission, obviously).

If you choose to receive your State Pension abroad you’ll need to have:

  • An international bank account number (IBAN)
  • A bank identification code (BIC)

You can find out more about what these are, what they do and where to find them in our article about IBANs and BICs.

Bear in mind that if your State Pension goes into an international account, you’ll be paid in local money. That means it’ll be subject to exchange rates and fees.

You can arrange international collection through the International Pension Centre. Offices are open Monday to Friday between 9:30am and 3:30pm.

You can contact them online or by telephone on 0191 218 7777. Alternatively, you can textphone on 0191 218 7280. If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the video relay service.  

Or, if you prefer, you can download and send an international claim form to the centre (the address is on the form).

Can I collect it if I live abroad part-time?

If you split your time between the UK and abroad, you’ll need to make a decision. You’ll have to choose which country you want your pension paid to because you can’t receive your pension in one country for part of the year and then another for the rest of it.

You’ll also need to decide how often you receive your State Pension. You can choose between every four weeks or every 13 weeks. Although if your entitlement is less than £5 per week, the total will be paid once a year in December. 

If you live in the USA and your pension is due to be paid in the same week as a public holiday, it may be a day late. This is because your pension will be processed by a US-based firm. 

Will my State Pension increase every year?

Thanks to the triple lock, UK State Pensions increase in value every year. However, if you collect your pension from abroad, you’ll only benefit from this increase in certain countries. Those countries include all members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. 

There are also some countries with which the UK has reciprocal arrangements. In other words, there are rules in place that protect your social security rights there and the rights of their citizens when they are in the UK. If you receive your pension in one of these countries, you’ll also usually get an annual State Pension increase. 

Currently, the UK has reciprocal agreements with 17 countries including Barbados, Guernsey, Jersey, the Philippines, and Turkey. A full list of countries and members of the EEA can be found on the website

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When can I claim my State Pension?

You can claim your pension within four months of reaching the State Pension age. This is dependent on when you were born. You can check your State Pension age on the website.

The amount you get also varies according to the National Insurance (NI) contributions you’ve made. Fundamentally, the more you paid in, the more likely you are to get the maximum State Pension amount (currently £175.20 per week for the new State Pension).

For more pensions advice, take a look at our guide on how pensions work and these tips on planning ahead for retirement.

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