Overseas pension transfers

If you’re thinking of moving abroad, or indeed moving back to the UK, learn more about how overseas pension transfers work.

Transferring a defined contribution pension abroad

If you have a UK-based defined contribution pension, you should be able to transfer your pension abroad to any recognised overseas pension scheme (ROPS).

Transferring to a ROPS is important because these schemes are recognised by HMRC as being ineligible for the overseas transfer charge, meaning you won’t have to pay additional tax when you move your pension abroad.

Should you transfer your pension to a ROPS, it’s important to know that your pension benefits will be tested against the lifetime allowance to assess whether HMRC charges should be incurred. This is known as a benefit crystallisation event (in this case, BCE 8).

View a list of overseas ROPS pensions.

Overseas pension transfers for defined contribution pensions are much the same as transferring to a new pension within the UK and should take about the same time.

See How do I transfer pensions? for more information.

Transferring a defined benefit pension abroad

It’s usually possible to transfer a defined benefit pension abroad, but you’ll first need to make sure you’re aware of any valuable benefits which you’ll lose upon transferring it. If the pension is worth more than £30,000, then you must also seek advice from an independent adviser.

If you work in the public sector, you may find that your defined benefit pension isn’t eligible for an international pension transfer. For example, it’s not possible to transfer an NHS pension overseas, regardless of whether the overseas pension is ROPS. So check with your provider first.

See How do I transfer pensions? for more information.

Transferring multiple pensions overseas

If you have more than one pension, and you plan on living abroad or already live abroad, you may find it easier to first consolidate your pensions into one easy-to-manage plan.

If you want to consolidate your pensions into a UK-based plan before transferring it overseas, PensionBee can help. We’re a leading online pension provider that makes it easy to combine, contribute and withdraw from your pension online.

Risk warning

As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.

Last edited: 06-04-2024

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