National insurance refund for foreigners

If you are a UK non resident who pays national insurance you could be eligible to claim a refund of the class 1 national insurance payments deducted from your salary.

The tax office collects national insurance contribution payments to pay for things like pensions and is deducted through the PAYE system automatically by your employer on a monthly or weekly basis.

A national insurance refund is possible in some circumstances with you needing to meet very strict criteria to be eligible.

Do I qualify for a national insurance refund?

It is always best to check if you qualify before you start the process of claiming your NI refund. You should be eligible to claim if:

  • You are resident outside the UK
  • You are not a UK national
  • You have paid national insurance in any of the last six UK tax years

Six year national insurance refund deadline

If you have due a national insurance refund you are allowed to backdate a claim for the last six UK tax years. The timescale is different to claiming a tax rebate under PAYE or through self assessment which is four tax years only.

National insurance refund for foreigners example

Gary Van Gerwen lives in South Africa and is a South African national. He works for a UK company and has an NT tax code meaning he doesn’t pay any UK income tax. For the last five years Gary’s employer has been automatically deducting class 1 national insurance payments from his salary.

Because Gary is a UK non resident and not a UK national he could claim back all of the national insurance he paid in the UK for the last five tax years. In addition his employer now does not deduct national from his salary meaning a continued saving moving forward.

Foreign nationals sent to work in the UK

If you are a foreign national who has been sent to the UK to work by your employer you could be exempt from paying national insurance contributions or entitled to a refund for the first 52 weeks employment in the UK.

You shouldn’t need to pay national insurance contributions if you are from another EEA country or Switzerland. In addition other countries have an agreement in place with HMRC meaning UK national insurance should not be deducted by your employer for the first 52 weeks of working in the UK.

NIC’s refund leaving the UK

If you have left the UK you could be entitled to a NI refund or be able to transfer the NIC’s you have made into a pension scheme in the country you now reside. In addition, a PAYE tax rebate may be owed to you for the tax year in which you leave the UK.

Leaving the UK tax refunds

You can learn more by using our free leaving the UK tax refund guide and UK tax back calculator to work to work out the value of your income tax rebate.

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