Do international students pay National Insurance contributions?

Updated on 23 March 2020

Migrants

Students who work in the UK have to pay UK National Insurance contributions (NIC) if they are aged 16 or over. This applies to most full-time students in higher education. We explain how this may apply to you.

The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and entered a transitional period, currently due to end on 31 December 2020, during which EU law continues to apply in the UK. The UK’s relationship with the EU beyond the end of the transitional period has not yet been finalised. Please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applied before the UK’s departure from the EU, and as it will continue to apply throughout the transitional period.

Do I have to pay NIC if I work in the UK while studying?

Students who work in the UK have to pay UK NIC if they are aged 16 or over. This applies to most full-time students in higher education. It also applies to postgraduate students who are paid for teaching while in the UK and to placement students who receive earnings during work experience.

There is more information on NIC for the employed in the employment section.

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Is it possible to get a refund of NIC or transfer NIC to another country?

Migrants who work in the UK are liable to NIC. It is not usually possible to obtain a refund of any of the NIC paid.

The NIC might be taken into account, however, when determining eligibility to state benefits in another country. This is likely to be the case if you are returning to a country within the EEA or to a country that has a social security agreement with the UK.

There is more information in the pages on NIC.

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