Living abroad as a part-time expat

Living abroad as a part-time expat

Do you dream of moving overseas for a few months each year to enjoy warmer climes? Living abroad as a part-time expat is becoming an increasingly popular option for retirees or those with a more flexible work life. But there are certain factors to consider, including your state pension. We look at the rules if you’re considering living abroad for some of the year.

Moving overseas as an expat

Spending three to six months in the Mediterranean, USA, or Asia is an attractive prospect for many people. Not only can you enjoy more sunshine and hotter temperatures, but this gives you an extra base to live instead of paying out for hotels and holiday rentals. Some people also create an additional revenue stream by renting out their property when they’re not there.

While you’re living abroad, there could be income and inheritance tax implications. Since Brexit, the rules have changed for British people living in an EU country. If you’re looking to live in the EU permanently, you will need to secure permanent residency status. This applies to countries such as France, Spain, and Portugal. Your income tax liability will move with you, but you will still need to declare your worldwide income to your new tax authority.

If you live abroad but rent out property or have investments in the UK, you will still have to pay UK tax. However, tax relief might be available in some circumstances, as the UK has a double-taxation agreement in place with certain countries. If in doubt, speak to our team.

You must abide by the country’s visa rules even if you’re only considering living abroad for part of the year. In the EU and neighbouring countries, the Schengen Agreement applies. This is a treaty that allows free and unrestricted movement across specific areas for 90 days at a time. You can find a list of Schengen Area countries on

How can you receive your pension living abroad?

“You can claim State Pension abroad if you’ve paid enough UK National Insurance Contributions.”

Whether you are retired or semi-retired, living abroad could affect your state pension income. You will need to make sure you have made enough pension contributions to receive your state pension – see our previous blog Topping up NI for your state pension.

If you have made enough contributions and qualify for the state pension, you can receive it in your new country. The pension income can be paid into a bank account in the UK or overseas. If you’re still working and plan to live abroad for many years before you retire, there could be the possibility of receiving a state pension from another country. You will need to check the criteria and get professional advice on the pension rules of that country.

If you have a private or personal pension, then you can also have this paid into an account in the UK or overseas. However, it’s worth bearing in mind there could be costly transaction and currency converter fees when moving money into an overseas account. So you could consider setting up an international account to reduce or avoid paying additional fees.

Remember, unlike UK bank accounts, international accounts won’t fall within the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This scheme protects your savings, investments, mortgages, and insurance cover up to £85,000 per person.

What else should part-time expats consider?

Healthcare is a significant factor when you live overseas. Until Brexit, the UK had an agreement with the EU, but since our departure, things have changed. Previously, you could obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Although existing ones are still valid until their expiry date, these are being replaced with the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The new card entitles British citizens to emergency healthcare in an EU country.

If you are retiring in an EU country and are eligible for the state pension, you’ll need to apply for an S1 Healthcare Certificate. This enables you to claim healthcare within an EU country on the same basis as a resident.

Before you make the move abroad for some of the year or permanently, get advice from a professional financial planner. We will carry out a review to help you identify any tax implications. We will also help you create a sound financial plan to ensure you can enjoy your lifestyle overseas and to protect your savings and investments.

If you’re thinking of living abroad, please get in touch to speak to our financial planners for advice.