What Happens to your Pensions if you Leave the UK?

By May 23, 2017QROPS UK
What Happens to your Pensions if you Leave the UK?

If you are planning on relocating abroad and leaving the UK, you are likely to have many questions about what happens to your UK pensions. From whether you can still claim your State Pension to whether you should transfer your UK workplace or private pension to a QROPS.

You will have worked hard to build your pension pots and it is understandable that you will want to get the most out of them in your retirement. If you are planning to move abroad permanently it could be beneficial to transfer your UK pension to a QROPS. Before making any changes to your pension plan it is advisable to seek the advice of a financial adviser that specialises in expat pension advice including UK pension transfers.

Can I Claim my UK State Pension Abroad?

If you leave the UK you will still be eligible to receive your State Pension, providing you have paid at least 10 years of National Insurance Contributions and you will need to have contributed for 30 years to receive a full pension.

However, you will only receive pension increases each year if you live in:

  • the UK for 6 months or longer each year
  • the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Switzerland
  • a country that has a social security agreement with the UK that allows for increases

If you are planning to leave the UK there are several options available to you for your private and workplace pensions, two of the most common are leaving them where they are in the UK or transferring them to a QROPS.

Leaving your Pension in the UK

If you move abroad and leave your pension in the UK it will be held by your pension provider until you reach pension age and can start to claim it as you would in the UK. If you move abroad your pension would still be paid in Sterling, meaning that exchange rates and currency costs could mean your pension payment could be less than if you were living in the UK.

To give you a better understanding of how leaving your pension in the UK may affect you it is advisable to seek independent financial advice to ensure you are aware of costs, implications, restrictions and benefits of leaving your pension in the UK.

Transfer your UK Pension to a QROPS

If you have private pensions or workplace pensions in the UK you may be able to transfer these to a QROPS providing you meet the conditions. There are many benefits to transferring your UK pension to a QROPS, including:

  • Reduced tax liability
  • Increased flexibility of pension income
  • Greater tax efficiency
  • No currency conversion costs
  • Not affected by exchange rates

It is always recommended to seek independent expat pension advice before transferring your pension to a QROPS from a UK pensions to ensure you understand the solutions available to you, the benefits of each and any exit fees you may occur when entering or exiting.

Find out if a QROPS UK Pension Transfer if Right for you

If you are looking for independent pension advice on whether transferring your UK pension to a QROPS could be beneficial, we can help you find the right pension adviser to help you with all aspects of pension planning and reviewing to ensure you have the most effective and efficient strategies in place.

The financial advisers we recommend are experienced retirement planning, UK pension transfers to QROPS and regularly work with their clients to provide support and guidance on all aspects of pension advice for clients leaving the UK. Our financial advisers will work with you to determine which pension plan is best suited to your circumstances and will provide sound retirement planning advice.

At Pensionadvice.org we can help you find a registered financial adviser for pension advice when leaving the UK, including QROPS. All of the financial advisers we recommend offer bespoke financial advice that is tailored to your unique personal circumstances.


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