Country – United Kingdom

2. United Kingdom of Great Britain

British Embassy in Manila:

Support for British Nationals Abroad:

Leave copies of your passport, insurance policy (plus the insurer’s 24-hour emergency number), ticket details, your itinerary and contact details with your family and friends.

If you are going to live abroad Going to live abroad is a major decision and you should get a wide range of information and advice to help you plan and make sure the move goes smoothly. British nationals who live overseas can receive the same support as visitors. Our travel advice and British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate websites provide useful information about living abroad, as well as providing contact details for government and other organisations in the UK and overseas.

Find out about the healthcare system, including costs, and get a full health plan. Many countries do not provide government-funded healthcare and your eligibility for treatment under the NHS may change. However, you might be entitled to healthcare paid by the UK, but this will depend on whether you live abroad permanently, or only work outside the UK for a set period and whether or not you receive a UK state pension or other UK benefits. For further information see NHS Choices website

Consider taking out health insurance to cover private medical and dental treatment, as well as the costs of being brought back to the UK for medical treatment. Travel insurance will, in many cases, not provide enough cover if you plan to live overseas and may be invalid if you move abroad permanently. Useful websites for more information include and

Find out about welfare rights abroad. Some UK benefits are not paid outside the UK. Others apply only in countries which have agreements with the UK (for more details, see Tell your social security office, HM Revenue & Customs’ National Insurance Contributions Office (International Services) and the Department for Work and Pensions when you move abroad and give them your contact details. You should also tell them if you change address again or return to the UK to live.

Remember that British nationals generally must have lived in the UK for five years to be entitled to income-related UK benefits. This may affect you if you have to return to the UK for any reason. You can find more information about the ‘habitual residency test’ on the Department for Work and Pensions’ website or the Citizens Advice website (

Be clear about your financial situation and allow for changes to the exchange rate and inflation. Find out about tax liability in the UK, social security benefits and National Insurance contributions, and get a State Pension forecast. Useful websites include and You should also make a will. Remember that you may need a will for any property or possessions in the UK and a separate will for any property and possessions you hold abroad.

It is important you have a valid passport (fill in the details of two relatives or friends on the back page) and any necessary visas.

If you are retiring overseas Contact associations or charities for advice. Age UK ( and have advice on planning and preparing for your move abroad, as well as what to do and who to contact if things don’t go according to plan. Organisations such as Saga ( can provide information on what it’s like to live overseas.

Get independent tax advice about the implications of living overseas.

Give your friends and family, and authorities such as HM Revenue & Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions, your new address and tell them if it changes in the future.

Open a foreign bank account. If you are retiring, your pensions can be paid into your bank account direct in many countries.

Contact British associations, clubs and charities, as these can help you settle. Lists are usually available from the British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate in your area.

You can find more information in our leaflet, ‘Going to live abroad’, which is available on

Foreign and Commonwealth Office “Going to Live Abroad”

Work out what your retirement income will be You must be clear about your financial situation on your retirement. Remember to allow for exchange rate fluctuations and inflation.Get an estimate of your UK State Pension For information on how you can get an estimate of your UK State Pension you should: visit and follow the State Pension Forecasting links or contact the Future Pension Centre – see page 14 for information on how you can contact them.

Getting your UK State Pension if you live outside the UK:

Usually you can get your State Pension paid anywhere you live. However, if you live outside the UK and get a UK State Pension, it will only be increased yearly if you live in a country that belongs to the European Economic Area, Switzerland or, a country that has an agreement with the UK that allows for annual increases.

If you are living in a country where your State Pension is not increased, you may get the yearly increases for temporary visits to the UK. You may also be able to get the yearly increases for temporary visits to the other EEA countries and Switzerland, and certain agreement countries.

If you return to live in the UK permanently, your State Pension will be increased to current levels. To find out the countries in which the yearly increases are paid, or to get more information on how UK State Pensions are paid to people living outside the UK, please visit

QROPS: Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme

On their page (, Wikipedia states:

A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), meeting requirements set by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), can receive the transfer of UK pension benefits without incurring an unauthorised payment and scheme sanction charge. The QROPS programme was launched on 6 April 2006 as a part of legislation to simplify pensions.

Typically this occurs when a UK resident emigrates or retires abroad having built up a pension fund within a scheme approved by HMRC, or when a person born abroad who has built up benefits in a HMRC approved UK Pension Scheme decides to return to their home country with an expectation of retiring there. The QROPS does not have to be established in the new country of residence, thus providing greater flexibility and stability, along with choice of scheme provider.

HMRC states that:

Under section 150(8) a recognised overseas pension scheme is an overseas pension scheme that meets the following requirements prescribed under The Pension Schemes (Categories of Country and Requirements for Overseas Pension Schemes and Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/206). It must:

  • be established in a Member State of the European Union, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland, or
  • be established in a country or territory with which the UK has a Double Taxation Agreement that contains exchange of information and non-discrimination provisions – see the list in RPSM14101046 (there is more information on the provisions of particular Double Taxation Agreements in the Double Taxation Relief Manual), or
  • satisfy the requirement that, at the time of the recognised transfer, the rules of the scheme provide that:
    • at least 70% of the funds transferred will be designated by the scheme manager for the purpose of providing the member with an income for life,
    • the pension benefits (and any associated lump sum) payable to the member under the scheme, to the extent that they relate to the transfer, are payable no earlier than they would be if pension rule 1 in section 165 applied, and
    • membership of the scheme is open to persons resident in the country or territory in which it is established.

Pension rule 1 in section 165 provides that no payment of pension may be made before the day on which the member reaches normal minimum pension age, unless the ill-health condition was met immediately before the member became entitled to a pension under the scheme.

To become a QROPS, a pension scheme must be approved by HMRC. A list of QROPS that have consented to have their names published is available on the HMRC website and is regularly updated.

In April and May 2012 HMRC introduced regulations that had the effect of shifting the jurisdictions in which QROPS could be established. Guernsey had previously been the premier jurisdiction for QROPS but due to a conflict in between local legislation and HMRC regulations over 300 schemes were de-listed, having the effect of migrating them to Malta. Since the new regulations came into force QROPS were also closed in Cyprus and are now principally available in Malta, the Isle of Man, and Gibraltar.

QROPS are increasingly popular for British expats due to the tax advantages on the pension draw downs and death benefits. Pension funds left in the UK are heavily taxed, in some cases up to 55%. Transferring to a QROPS can avoid UK taxation.

For more detailed information and inquiries, please go to:
The British Embassy, Manila:
These websites seem informative, but ELRAP neither endorses them nor asks that you use their services; they are included here for information purposes only:


Find out about your tax liability abroad:

If you retire abroad you may still have to pay UK tax on income you receive from the UK, over and above your age-related personal allowance.

You may also have to pay tax on UK income in the country in which you live. But if you go to live in a country that has a double taxation agreement with the UK, and you are liable to pay tax there on your UK income, the double taxation agreement should allow tax relief on UK tax paid, up to certain limits.

Find out about your welfare rights abroad:

If you are going to another country in the EEA, or to a country that has a social security agreement with the UK, you may be able to claim a benefit that you would not normally get abroad. Or you may be able to claim a benefit of that country. The benefits you receive in the UK may also be affected by your move abroad. Each benefit has different rules and some cannot be paid outside the UK.

Your welfare rights outside the EEA:

The UK has reciprocal social security arrangements with: Barbados (SA43), Bermuda (SA23), Canada (SA20), Guernsey

(SA4), Israel (SA14), Jamaica (SA27), Jersey (SA4),Mauritius (SA38), New Zealand (SA8), Philippines (SA42),Turkey (SA22), USA (SA33) and the republics of former Yugoslavia (SA17) (applies to the Republics of the former Yugoslavia). The leaflets explaining what these agreements mean for you can be obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Remember that British nationals generally have to have lived in the UK for five years to be entitled to income-related UK benefits. This may affect you if you have to return to the UK for any reason. You can find out more about the ‘habitual residency test’ on the DWP’s website or the Citizens Advice website

Let people know your change of address:

Let your Jobcentre Plus/Social Security Office, HM Revenue & Customs, National Insurance Contributions Office – Centre for Non-Residents and the DWP know when you are going to leave and give them your address abroad.

Let them know if you later change your address. If you come back, let them know that too. Then if anything needs to be done about your contributions or benefit rights, it can be done straight away

Find out about health costs abroad:

If you go to a country in the EEA and you are entitled to UK state pension, incapacity benefit at the long term rate, widows’ benefits or bereavement benefit, you need form E121.

When you ask the DWP about getting your pension paid to you in another EEA country, they will automatically check to see if you can get the E121 as well. If so, you will receive the same free or reduced-cost medical treatment as a qualified pensioner of the country you are in, under its state health care scheme. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid for non-UK residents and is no longer valid once you move abroad. It is highly recommended to get health insurance to cover private medical and dental treatment, and medical repatriation to the UK.

Ask for advice

If you are retiring overseas, Age Concern and have advice on planning and preparing for a move abroad, as well as what to do and who to contact if things don’t go according to plan. The Saga website has information about what it’s like to live overseas.

Get in touch with expatriate organisations in the country you plan to live in. The Internet is a very good source of information, for example, for research on schools and education opportunities.

Ask the foreign embassy in London for information on living in their country, e.g. tax regime, healthcare provision. Read any relevant books and magazines.

Register with the local authorities:

This may give you access to the local welfare services after a short period of time. If you are moving to another EEA country you must apply for a residence permit within three months of arrival.

If you do not register, at best you may be unable to access local benefits to which you are entitled and at worst you may be breaking local law.

Contact the local Embassy/High Commission/Consulate:

In countries with large expatriate communities the Consulate may also have a fact sheet to help retired UK expatriates settle in. You should keep the details of your nearest British Embassy or Consulate with you. In the event of any major crisis, we provide advice and travel updates on and on Facebook and on Twitter.

Ensure your passport is valid.

Fill in the contact details of two relatives or friends who can be contacted in an emergency on the back page.

To renew your passport overseas visit for latest guidance.

For EEA countries your residence permit also serves as an identity document, so you do not need to carry your passport around with you all the time.


We are committed to helping British nationals in trouble overseas. The main Consulate is usually in the capital city. There are often small consular offices, including Honorary Consuls, in other cities and towns. These are available on the FCO website

Department for Work and Pensions

The Pension Service International

Pension Centre (IPC)
Tyneview Park
NE98 1BA
Tel: 00 44 (0)191 218 7777
Fax: 00 44 (0)191 218 7021
The IPC deal with queries about UK benefits payable to overseas customers.

Electoral Commission

Trevelyan House

Great Peter Street
Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7 271 0500
Fax: 00 44 (0)20 7 271 0505
For details of UK Income Tax while abroad contact:

HM Revenue & Customs Centre for Non-Residents

St John’s House,
Merton Road
Bootle, Merseyside
L69 9BB
Tel: UK 0845 070 0040/
Abroad 00 44 (0)151 210 2222
Fax: UK 0151 472 6067/
Abroad 00 44 (0)151 472 6067
For National Insurance Contributions contact:

HM Revenue & Customs

National Insurance Contributions Office

International Caseworker
NE98 1ZZ
Tel: UK 0845 9154811/
Living outside the UK + 44 (0)191 203 7010
For online advice on, and contact details of, all UK public services:
To contact the Future Pension Centre:

Future Pension Centre

The Pension Service
Tyneview Park
Whitley Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1BA

(include United Kingdom if you are writing from abroad)

Tel: UK 0845 3000 168/
UK Textphone 0845 3000 169
Lines are open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday.
Tel: Living outside the UK +44 191 218 3600
Textphone +44 191 218 2051
Lines are open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday


Reunite International

Child Abduction Centre
PO Box 7124
Advice line: +44 (0) 116 2556 234
Age UK

Tavis House
1-6 Tavistock Square,
Phone: 0800 169 87 87


Causewayside House
160 Causewayside,
Phone: 0845 125 9732


John Pathy
13/14 Neptune Court,
Vanguard Way,
CF24 5PJ
Phone: 029 2043 1555

Northern Ireland

3 Lower Crescent,
Phone: 028 9024 5729


Before you go, you should:

  • Make sure you have a valid passport, any visas you might need and a full health plan

Be clear about your financial situation. For example, find out about tax liability in the UK, social security benefits and National Insurance contributions, and get a pension forecast. Useful websites include the Department for Work and Pensions; HM Revenue and Customs

  • You can also find out whether offshore banking is appropriate
  • Make a will
  • Check whether you can continue to vote in UK parliamentary and European parliament elections on the Electoral Commission website
  • Find out about accommodation. We can provide lists of lawyers to help you buy property, although we cannot give you legal advice ourselves or get involved in purchases or disputes
  • Make sure your car is in line with local regulations and you have the necessary driving permit
  • Try to learn the language before you go
  • Contact associations and charities for advice. For example, if you are retiring overseas, you could contactageUK. There is also a guide to going abroad for the over-50s on the Saga website. We also have a leaflet called Going to Live Abroad, which you can find on our website
  • It sounds obvious but let people know your new address (and any future changes). As well as friends and family you also need to inform the authorities such as HM Revenue and Customs, National Insurance and the Department for Work and Pensions
  • When you arrive, register with the local authorities and get a residence permit. Check with your local British Embassy to see if you can register with them. You may also need a local bank account
  • British nationals who live overseas can receive the same support as visitors
  • And you’ll need full travel insurance for your trip, or health care and other appropriate cover if you are living abroad. The Government cannot cover medical costs or refund you for lost property.

There is a charge for some types of consular support. This is to help cover the cost of providing support worldwide. We do not make a profit from these charges.



HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is a first point of contact for most people not resident in the UK who receive income from a source in the UK or pay UK National Insurance contributions or both. HMRC handle a wide range of operational and technical work (including compliance) relating to non-resident individuals, non-resident trusts and non-resident companies.

HMRC aim to provide a first class tax and National Insurance contributions service to ensure that everyone understands and receives what they are entitled to and understands and pays what they owe. If there is any information you would like to see on these pages, please send us your comments clearly marking your feedback for Residency.

National Insurance

  • UK National Insurance liabilities whilst abroad
  • the EC regulations and bi-lateral convention rules on Social Security


Tax matters specific to non-resident trusts

Non-resident trusts and foreign estates including:

  • Trustees abroad
    This provides information on residence rules for trustees, Self Assessment and trustees who are not resident in the UK for Capital Gains Tax purposes.
  • Beneficiaries of foreign trusts
    Foreign trusts are either ‘Baker’ types or ‘Garland’ types.
  • Transfer of assets abroad
    HMRC deal with operational and technical work relating to the transfer of assets abroad.


HMRC can only comment on whether or not you are due to pay tax in the UK. If you would like to know about overseas tax laws, you may find the Useful links section to overseas government taxation websites useful.

Where Can Expats Live Abroad and Pay Less Tax?

Now that the highest rate of tax in the UK has gone up to a whopping 50%, (with historical evidence weighted more firmly in favour of the fact that most taxes in Britain are seldom removed or reduced once they’ve been created), there are plenty of places around the world where we can all move to live, work or retire if we specifically want to reduce our tax bill – which is very good news!

Britain was once considered a fairly taxed nation – but those days have long gone. And with governments having knee jerk reactions to claw back money that they unwisely spent or gave away to banks, we can all see clearly that the UK is no longer a nation in control of its economy.

If you’re unhappy with the amount of tax you have to pay, with the proposed spending cuts or you’d just like an adventure abroad and ideally you’d like it to be in a country where you can retain more of your salary each month, we’re going to be exploring where expats can go and live abroad and pay less tax.

Where Can You Work Abroad and Pay Less Tax?

There isn’t a single country that won’t tax you on your locally sourced income once you’ve become a fully-fledged tax resident of that nation. However, the good news is that there are plenty of nations where the tax you will be liable for locally will be far less than you’d be looking at paying in the UK!

What You Need to Know About Your Tax Status

If you’re intending to go abroad and work you need to be aware of your tax liability and who you are responsible for paying your tax to. For example, if you go overseas on a short-term contract you may still be resident or ordinary resident in the UK and therefore still liable for UK tax. Some people can end up in the unfortunate situation where they are also liable for tax abroad at the same time! Often there are double taxation agreements in place that protect the individual from paying tax twice – but you really do need to understand your tax position because ignorance is no excuse.

If you move abroad permanently or for the longer-term, you may well become non-resident in the UK and a tax resident of your new nation. You should fill in HMRC’s P85 form which relates to determining your tax status, and you should complete the necessary steps in your new nation to make sure you are fully tax compliant there. For more details please refer to HMRC’s own site where you will learn about the 183 day rule, and how many days you can visit the UK for each year once you’re an expat without becoming resident again for tax purposes!

Which Countries Tax Workers’ Salaries Less?

Countries and states such as Dubai and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East are well known for the fact that they offer residents a chance to earn a tax-free income – so if you want to move abroad and pay 0% tax, consider a move to this region but beware, your tax benefits may be outweighed by the cost of living you will face! Alternatives closer to home include Andorra and Monaco, or you might prefer the Bahamas or lesser-known Norfolk Island!

If you’re okay with paying some taxation but you’d simply like it to be fairer and less than the 50% upper limit in the UK, certain nations have a flat tax rate on personal income in place. This can work well for workers because they always know what they will have to pay each month depending on how much they earn. They don’t have the same fears that Brits do that one morning a new Chancellor will wake up and decide to hit the workers even harder to fund his ‘bail out habit!’

Countries that have a flat tax rate include Bulgaria, Lithuania and Estonia – but there are almost as many arguments against the flat tax as there are for it. For example, many believe that the rich should pay more tax – however, I feel that those who do earn well and are successful should not be penalised for their efforts.

France, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and Switzerland all have lower personal income tax rates for workers than the UK, and this list offers you a very diverse range of choices of country to live and work in if you’re currently contemplating your options.

Where Can You Live Abroad and Pay Less Tax?

If you’re not going to be earning all of your income from the local economy there are some countries you can live in where you only pay tax on that which you earn in the country or remit in to the country. So, you can legitimately retain some, (or even all), of your foreign sourced wealth offshore and keep it free from income taxation erosion in your new nation.

There’s a definite caveat required at this point however, and that is you have to be fully aware of your tax status and liabilities in a) your originating nation, b) your new country of residence and c) the location where you choose to ‘offshore’ your wealth. As stated previously in this report, ignorance of your liabilities and position is no excuse, and you and only you are ultimately responsible for meeting your liabilities. There are tax and wealth advisers out there who specialise in assisting expatriates like you and those with complex financial positions to determine the best, most advantageous paths for your money’s management, so make sure you seek advice.

In terms of the countries where you only pay tax on the money you earn in that nation or which you remit to it, they include the UK! But only if you are non-domiciled in Britain – so this benefit does not apply to Britons unfortunately. Countries we Brits can consider include the likes of Belize – where there is also a retired person’s incentive programme that I will discuss further below. This benefit also exists in New Zealand, but only for the first four years of your residency.

It’s worth speaking to your wealth adviser about any specific methods of saving and investing that can be used to legitimately shield you from tax in your new nation too.

Where Can You Retire Abroad and Pay Less Tax?

Unlike in the UK where pensioners receive very little in the way of an advantage, there are nations in the world that welcome retirees and go out of their way to make their integration smoother thanks to incentives such as reduced tax rates. Cyprus is one such country very popular with retirees who can reduce their annual tax bill to just 5% on qualifying pension income on this stunning Mediterranean island.

As Cyprus is in the EU, relocation is easy – and as it is a popular tourist island with a large British influence, integration is very straightforward too. Healthcare standards are high, the lifestyle available is excellent – the only downsides are the high costs of living and property in Cyprus.

Alternatively, in countries such as Belize, the Philippines and Malaysia there are retired person’s incentive programmes that allow qualifying retirees to live in these countries 100% free of any personal income tax liability. Each nation mentioned also has an affordable cost of living, and real estate in these countries can be cheap too.

In Conclusion

Whether you want to live abroad and work, you’re ready to retire or you just want to travel or take a short-term contract overseas, many countries will tax you less on your income than the UK will. There are also options available for some people to offshore their wealth and legitimately shield it from tax – so what’s holding you in the UK, why not go abroad in search of an adventure and save yourself some tax at the same time?



The Electoral Commission:

When you move abroad, take your right to vote with you:

“No matter how far from the UK you go, your right to vote goes with you”

This is the message from the Electoral Commission in a new campaign designed to encourage British citizens living abroad to register to vote in UK elections. The campaign has been launched today (15 September), the United Nations international day of democracy.

UK citizens living abroad are significantly under-represented on the UK Electoral Register, according to Head of Campaigns and Public Information at the Electoral Commission, Clinton Proud:

“There are fewer than 13,500 British expatriates on the electoral register, a tiny fraction of the estimated six million Britons living abroad.

“Many British expats simply don’t realise that they are still eligible to vote in UK elections once they have moved abroad. But even if you are living abroad, as long as you have been registered to vote in the UK at some point within the past 15 years, you can still be on the register as an “overseas voter”.

Registered overseas voters are eligible to vote in elections to the UK Parliament and European Parliamentary election. The European Parliamentary elections take place on 4 June 2009, and a UK Parliamentary election can be called at any time between now and 2010.

To mark UN international day of democracy and to make sure you have your say as to who represents you, here are three steps to registering:

  • Download an overseas registration form here
  • Sign the declaration and ask another British citizen living overseas (but not a close relative) to sign the witness declaration
  • Return the completed form as soon as possible to the electoral registration office where you used to live (contact details are available at

Once registered, you can vote by post, by using a proxy in the UK or, if you are in the UK on polling day, voting in person.

To encourage UK citizens not to lose their right to vote, the Electoral Commission is running a campaign with posters, leaflets and online advertising.

Mr Proud added: “Our campaign last year was very successful and we want to build on that this year. We want to reach people wherever they are on the globe and remind them that however far away from the UK they are, they still have their chance to vote back home.”

“ More and more folks are retiring at an earlier age, while they are still healthy enough to enjoy their lives. The problem is, in the First World, even a couple in their late fifties that have a $500,000 investment portfolio, which includes their home equity and other investments, won’t have enough retirement income to take advantage of their hard-won freedom. ”

By Bruce Silverman
“ELRAP is a friendly website! On our pages please--no vulgarity, and no politics or religion discussed!”