Do international students pay National Insurance contributions?

Updated on 7 October 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.

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.

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. If you are returning to a country within the EEA, you will need to determine whether you can ‘aggregate’ periods of contributions in this way under the terms of the UK’s withdrawal agreement from the European Union. There is more information on this at How does the UK state pension work for migrants?, though we recommend you seek advice based on your personal circumstances.

Alternatively, you may be able to take periods of contributions into account for determining benefit eligibility if you are returning 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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