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Can I transfer an overseas pension to the UK?

  • 2 min read
  • Last updated 10 Jan 2023

Can I transfer an overseas pension to the UK? You may be wondering this if you work abroad and have decided to retire in the UK.

If we were you, we’d be wondering the same thing! Sure you can probably find the answers on the official government website somewhere (hidden behind a bunch of confusing jargon) – but true to form, we’re breaking it down into much simpler terms.

You’re welcome!

What is an overseas pension… or a pension at that?

A pension is a savings scheme which preps you for retirement:

  • Pension contributions are automatically deducted from your wages each month
  • Your employer may also contribute (depending on how generous the company is)

State pension is another type of pension offered by the government. This pension depends on how many years you’ve dedicated to the workforce. 

E.g; if you’ve worked and paid National Insurance for 35 years, you’ll get the full amount of state pension compared to someone who has 15 qualifying years.

A pension simply becomes an overseas pension if you move it abroad.

How do I transfer my overseas pension to the UK?

Transferring your overseas pension to the UK might seem a little tricky due to all of the rules and regulations, but it doesn’t have to be:

  • Get in touch with multiple UK pension providers as not all will accept the transfer
  • Let your original pension provider know you are transferring your pot to the UK
  • Check the terms of UK pension providers as well as the overseas provider

So it doesn’t have to be super complicated! The most difficult part will be finding a pension provider that is willing to accept the payment.  

This is where QROPS comes to the rescue! 🦸

Wait, what on earth is QROPS?

QROPS are a type of overseas pensions that meet a set of rules set by HMRC. UK providers are more likely to accept pension transfers if they meet these rules! 

QROPS = credibility.

⚠️ Watch out for pension scammers hiding behind QROPS verification. You can check the official list of qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes here. ⚠️

Even if your overseas pension provider is officially recognised by HMRC, UK pension providers will most likely still carry out checks to verify the source of money. Better to be safe than sorry, eh?

What’s the risk of transferring an overseas pension?

These days you have to question everything – and twice! There are actually a few risks or perhaps just things to bear in mind when transferring a pension:

  • You may be charged a fee for transferring – this could be at least 40% if your provider is a non-QROP 😮‍💨
  • You could lose any rights you had to take pension at a certain age
  • You may lose the right to take a tax-free lump sum from your pot
  • Losing fixed protection on your pension is also a risk
  • Money transferred to the UK could lose value due to fluctuation 📉

Don’t be put off though! You can simply double check with your pension provider if any of the above will apply when transferring your pension!

We’re always on hand 🫡

If you need your tax return sorted or simply need a bit of advice – we’re here to help you with all things tax! Find out more here.

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