Guidance

Social security contributions for workers coming to the UK from the EEA or Switzerland

Check where you need to pay social security contributions if you’re a worker from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein working in UK.

From 1 January 2021, if you’re an employee, self-employed or an employer, where you pay your social security contributions will depend on your circumstances and the country you are coming from.

If you come to work in the UK from the EU, Norway or Switzerland, you’ll only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time.

This will usually be in the UK if that is where the work takes place.

But if you are only working temporarily in the UK, you may be able to get a certificate or document to carry on paying social security contributions in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein. This means you will not have to pay social security contributions in the UK.

If you are a national of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein living in the UK before 1 January 2021, you should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to protect your right to stay in the UK and your social security rights. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

When you will continue to pay social security contributions in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein

The relevant certificate or document is not a work permit. You’ll need to check the UK’s immigration rules if you’re not lawfully resident in the UK.

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate or document if you are coming to work temporarily in the UK and you’re a:

  • person lawfully resident in the EU who started working in the UK before 1 January 2021, and has been working here since
  • national of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway who started working in the UK before 1 January 2021 and has been working here since
  • national of Switzerland who started working in the UK before 1 January 2021, and has been working here since
  • national of the UK who was resident in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland before 1 January 2021
  • person with dual nationality, one of which is the UK and one of which is the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein
  • multistate worker, meaning that you were working in 2 or more countries of the UK, EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein before 1 January 2021 and continue to do so, and you work predominantly in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein

You may also be able to apply for a certificate or document in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein if you’re covered by any of the other conditions in the withdrawal agreement or equivalent agreements with the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

You’ll also pay social security contributions in the EU if you’re a:

  • UK or Irish national, or any national lawfully resident in Ireland, coming to work in the UK
  • multistate worker working in the UK and one or more EU countries, and you are predominantly working in the EU

You’ll still be able to apply for a certificate or document to continue to only pay National Insurance in the country that you have come from if you are coming to work temporarily in the UK from the following countries:

EU countries that apply the ‘detached worker’ rules

You should continue paying social security contributions in the EU if you’re working temporarily for up to 2 years in the UK where the ‘detached worker’ rules apply. This means you will not have to pay social security contributions in the UK.

An EU country must agree to apply the ‘detached worker’ rules by 1 February 2021 in order for them to continue to apply.

If you come to work in the UK before 1 February 2021 from a country that has not ‘opted out’ of the ‘detached worker’ rules, you should apply for a certificate or document from that country to continue paying social security contributions there.

If your work started before 1 February 2021 and you’re entitled to a certificate or document from the EU, you will continue paying social security contributions there unless your circumstances change (for example, you change your employer, you go to work in another country you have not told HMRC about, or any break in your work). This applies even if the EU country you are paying in no longer applies the detached worker rules.

These countries have already agreed to apply the ‘detached worker’ rules:

  • Austria
  • Hungary
  • Portugal
  • Sweden

The remaining EU countries have not yet indicated whether or not they wish to apply the ‘detached worker’ rules.

You should contact the social security institution in the country you reside in to find out if you can apply for a certificate or document if you are coming to work in the UK from these countries before 1 February 2021.

This guidance will be updated regularly. We’ll publish more information about EU countries that have agreed to apply the rules as soon as it is available.

Norway

You should apply for a certificate or document to continue paying social security contributions in Norway if you’re working temporarily in the UK for up to 3 years. You should apply for a certificate or document before you come to work temporarily in the UK but must apply within the first four months of coming to work here. This means you will not have to pay National Insurance contributions in the UK for that duration of work.

Switzerland

You should apply for a certificate or document to continue paying social security contributions in Switzerland if you’re working temporarily in the UK for up to 2 years. This means you will not have to pay National Insurance contributions in the UK for that duration of work.

Iceland

You should apply to the Iceland social security institution for a certificate or document to continue paying Iceland social security contributions if you’re employed and a non-UK and non-EEA national working temporarily in the UK for up to 1 year. This can be extended by a further year, but you must get agreement from HMRC before the end of the first year. This means you will not have to pay National Insurance contributions in the UK for that duration of work.

When you will pay social security contributions in the UK

You will need to pay social security contributions in the UK if you are coming here to work temporarily and you are not eligible for a certificate or document from the relevant EU country.

In the UK social security contributions are called National Insurance contributions.

How to apply for a certificate or document

If you’re resident in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, contact the social security institution in the country you reside in to find out if you can apply for a certificate or document .

If you think you’re eligible for a certificate or document from the UK, follow the table to see how to apply.

Your circumstances Form to complete
You’re flight or cabin crew with a home base in the UK. Form CA8421
You’re working on a vessel at sea with a UK flag and you are either paid by someone based in the UK or in a country other than where you live Form CA8421 or CA3822

You do not need to apply for a certificate or document if you’re resident in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein and working permanently in the UK for a UK employer.

If your situation changes

If you need to check if a change in your situation stops the existing social security rules from applying to you, send a letter to HMRC, telling them:

  • what your circumstances were
  • what has changed
  • when the changes happened

You should send your letter to:

PT Operations North East England
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN

HMRC will let you know if they need any more information.

Published 26 December 2020
Last updated 7 January 2021 
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