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Claiming a UK State Pension when retiring in France
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It’s an unsettling time for UK nationals living in Europe, but as long as the UK remains part of the EU there are no changes to your rights, including healthcare and pensions.

Are you a UK expat living in France and wondering how you can claim your UK State Pension? Here’s everything you need to know.

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How to claim your UK State Pension if you live in France

If you live in France and want to retire, you can claim a UK State Pension, as long as you’ve paid enough UK National Insurance to qualify for it. You have to be within 4 months of your State Pension retirement age to make a claim.

To claim your UK State Pension from France, you need to contact the International Pension Centre, fill in the international claim form and send it back to them.

However, if you divide your time between France and the UK you will have to choose which country your pension is paid in when you formally decide to retire. You can’t have your pension paid in two countries at once!

NB: If you’ve already retired and are thinking of transferring your pension, you’ll need to check with authorities in the country your pension is issued in, as well as the country you’re thinking of moving to. Read on for more information on approved pension transfer schemes.

Your UK State Pension can be paid into a French bank (you’ll need to submit your international bank details) or a UK bank or building society — but not both. This can be your account, a joint account, or an account in someone else’s name providing you have permission.

You’ll receive your State Pension in Euros — the amount will change according to exchange rates — every 4 or 13 weeks. But if your State Pension is less than £5 per week, you’ll receive an annual payment each December.  

Remember, if you’re a man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953, you are eligible to apply for an Additional State Pension (extra funds on top of your State Pension). Once your claim has been accepted, you don’t need to do anything else - the Additional State Pension will be automatically added to your State Pension.

Claiming or transferring your supplementary pension abroad

In 2016, HMRC ceased to recognise French-based pension schemes as part of its list of approved QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme).

This means you can no longer transfer a UK pension to a French QROPS. But there are options!

You can continue to receive your supplementary pension via a UK bank account, or you can create an International SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension) using a financial advice solution to move the funds for you.

APRIL International health insurance for expats living in France

Just moved to France or about to do so? Remember you’ll need a top-up to French Social Security. Find out more about our expat healthcare in France here.

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