Do international students pay National Insurance contributions?

Updated on 18 May 2019

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.

Following the 2016 European Union (EU) membership referendum in the UK, on 29 March 2017 the UK provided notice to the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. At the time of writing (in March 2019), the date and terms of the UK’s departure from the EU have not yet been finalised. Therefore, please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applies before the UK’s departure from the EU.

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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