National Insurance for workers from the UK working in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

Guide

Last updated 21 January 2022

If you normally work in the UK or the EU and your work location has changed temporarily because of coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions, HMRC can consider your individual circumstances to decide if you should pay National Insurance contributions in the UK.

If you need proof that you have to pay UK National Insurance contributions, you should apply for a certificate and include details of the COVID-19 restrictions.

If you’re an employee, self-employed or an employer, where you will pay social security contributions will depend on your circumstances and the country you are going to work in. If you're an employer, your liability to pay social security contributions will follow the liability of your employees.

If you go to work in:

  • the EU, you’ll only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, you may only have to pay into one country’s social security scheme at a time

This will usually be in the country where the work is being done.

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

Working in the EU and when you’ll continue to pay UK National Insurance contributions

The UK has social security agreements with the EU.

You’ll continue to pay National Insurance contributions only in the UK if HMRC has issued you with the relevant certificate as evidence that this is the case.

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate if you’re:

  • going to work temporarily in the EU for up to 2 years
  • worker working in the UK and one or more EU countries
  • a civil servant working for the UK government
  • working onboard a vessel at sea, with a UK flag
  • working as a flight or cabin crew member, where your home base is in the UK

The relevant certificate is not a work permit. You’ll need to check the immigration rules of the country you’re working in if you’re not lawfully resident there.

Working in Switzerland and when you’ll continue to pay UK National Insurance Contributions

The UK has social security agreements with Switzerland.

You’ll continue to pay National Insurance contributions only in the UK if HMRC has issued you with the relevant certificate as evidence that this is the case.

You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate if you’re:

  • going to work temporarily in Switzerland for up to 2 years
  • a worker working in the UK and Switzerland
  • a civil servant working in Switzerland for the UK government
  • working on board a vessel at sea with a UK flag
  • working as a flight or cabin crew member where your home base is in the UK

Working in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway

If you’re covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement or the Swiss Citizens Rights Agreement

You’ll be covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement if you’re a:

  • national of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, who started working in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland before 1 January 2021 and have been working there since
  • national of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway, who was resident in the UK before 1 January 2021, including if you have EU Settlement Scheme status
  • family member of a national of, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway who has status under the EU Settlement Scheme, and you are residing in the UK
  • person with dual nationality, one of which is the nationality of, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway
  • national of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway who is a multi-state worker, meaning that you were working in 2 or more countries of the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway before 1 January 2021 and continue to do so and you work predominantly in the UK

If you’re covered by one of these agreements, you’ll continue paying National Insurance contributions only in the UK if HMRC has issued you with the relevant certificate as evidence that this is the case. You, or your employer, should apply for a certificate if you’re:

  • going to work temporarily in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway for up to 2 years
  • working in the UK and one or more countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway
  • a civil servant working for the UK government
  • working onboard a vessel at sea, with a UK flag
  • working as a flight or cabin crew member, where the home base is in the UK

The relevant certificate is not a work permit. You’ll need to check the immigration rules of the country you’re working in if you’re not lawfully resident there.

If you’re not covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement or the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement

The UK has social security agreements with Iceland and Norway which are sometimes called reciprocal agreements.

If you’re not covered by covered by the EEA-EFTA Separation Agreement or the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement, you may be covered by a social security agreement. If so, you may still be able to apply to HMRC for a certificate to show evidence that you are liable to pay social security contributions only in the UK if you’re going to work temporarily in the following countries:

Going to work in Norway from the UK

You should apply to HMRC for a certificate or document to continue paying UK National Insurance contributions if you’re working temporarily in Norway for up to 3 years. You should apply for a certificate or document before you go to work temporarily in Norway but must apply within the first 4 months of going to work there. This means you will not have to pay social security contributions in Norway for that duration of work.

Going to work in Iceland from the UK

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

When you'll pay social security contributions in the country you're going to work in

If you’re going to work abroad and you’re not eligible for a certificate from HMRC, as evidence that you are liable to pay social security contributions only in the UK, you’ll need to continue paying UK National Insurance contributions for the first 52 weeks, if you meet the following 4 conditions:

  • you’re going to work abroad temporarily
  • your employer has a place of business in the UK
  • you were living in the UK immediately before starting work abroad
  • you’re ordinarily resident in the UK

HMRC consider you’re ordinarily resident in a country if you:

  • normally live there, apart from temporary or occasional absences
  • have a settled and regular mode of life there

For more information about when you must pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions and ordinarily resident read leaflet NI38.

If the conditions above apply, you may also have to pay contributions in the country you’re working in.

If the conditions above do not apply, you may need to pay contributions in the country you are working in. You’ll not be liable to pay contributions in the UK during this period, but you may be able to pay voluntary contributions.

How to apply for a certificate or document from HMRC

If you think you’re eligible for a certificate as evidence that you’re liable to pay social security contributions only in the UK when working in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, follow the table to see how to apply.

Your circumstances Form to complete
Your employer sends you to work temporarily in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland. Form CA3822
You’re normally self-employed in the UK and you’re going to temporarily carry out some activities in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland. Form CA3837
You’re working in 2 or more of the UK, EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland. Form CA8421
You’re flight or cabin crew with a home base in the UK. Form CA8421
You're a UK civil servant or other government worker Form CA3822
You’re a UK resident who works on a vessel at sea with a UK flag or an EU, Norwegian, Icelandic or Swiss flag but you’re paid by someone based in the UK. Form CA3822


If HMRC advises that you must pay UK National Insurance contributions, we will issue a certificate or document for you to use as proof that you do not have to pay social security contributions in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

Extending A1 certificates whilst working temporarily in France

If your A1 certificate has expired and you have applied for an Article 16 exception to extend it, you should continue to pay National Insurance in the UK.

Further guidance will be provided in due course.

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, for example, if your work, employment or self-employment ends earlier than expected, or you change employer
  • when the changes happened

You should send your letter to:

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

You do not need to include a street name or PO box in the address.

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