Updated: July 23, 2019

Pension transfers from UK to Spain

You'll need expert advice if you're relocating to Spain and want to take your pension with you. Find out how to get it in this article

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Tony Stevens

Author: Tony Stevens - Finance Expert

Updated: July 23, 2019

If you’ve recently retired, you may be considering starting the new chapter of your life in the warmer climes of sunny Spain – and you wouldn’t be the first.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 26% of British citizens living in the EU are aged 65 and over. And Spain is clearly a popular destination, with 37% of the total British expat population residing there.

As pensions are often the main source of income for retirees, it’s important to know how to manage your funds if you’re thinking of leaving British shores to retire overseas and how to transfer your pension there.

Fortunately, we’re at hand to help.

In this article we’ll be covering all you need to know about transferring your pension from the UK to Spain:

Can you transfer your UK pension to Spain?

Yes, if you have a defined contribution or money purchase pension, you have the option of either transferring your funds to a Spanish scheme, or leaving them in your UK plan.

If you move your pension overseas, be aware of the risks attached; the value of your funds will fluctuate in line with exchange rates and you may be subject to additional penalties if you decide to move back to the UK later on.

Leave your savings in the UK, and your pension provider may charge a fee for international transfers. If this is the case, you could consider having the payments made into a UK account and manually transfer them each month.

Before deciding, seek advice from a pensions expert specialising in overseas transfers. They can recommend the most financially viable option for your circumstances, and guide you on how to best protect the value of your transfers.

Can you transfer a UK State Pension?

Yes, you can claim your state pension if you move abroad, provided you’ve paid enough UK National Insurance contributions to qualify.

It can be paid into a UK bank or building society, or into an overseas account. Again, how the local currency fluctuates will impact the value of your retirement savings if you choose to transfer your UK State pension to Spain.

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How to transfer a UK pension

Before you transfer your retirement funds to Spain, you are required to inform the International Pension Centre (and the Northern Ireland Pension Centre if you’re from Northern Ireland). You should also seek professional advice – one of the independent pensions advisors we work with can guide you through the process and offer bespoke advice every step of the way.

The overseas plan you’ve chosen must be a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). The QROPS regulations set by HMRC are designed to complement and be consistent with those of the UK.

Once you’re a Spanish tax resident, you can transfer your pension pot from the UK account into a QROPS in the same way that you would transfer between UK pension providers.

Although it is possible to transfer funds before you move, note that any transfer to QROPS is subject to a 25% tax charge until you are resident in the country where the transfer is being received is based.

Where can you find international pension specialists for transfers?

To make the most of your overseas retirement income options and to find out how to best manage your financial transfers and taxes, contact us and we’ll connect you with a specialist advisor who can help you with the transfer of your UK pension to Spain.

The team we work with have successfully helped many people move their UK pensions overseas, and will ensure that the value of your pension pot is protected while getting the most out of your transfers.

Can you transfer a pension from Spain to the UK?

If you’re a British expat that has been working and saving into a Spanish pension scheme, or if you retired overseas and transferred your pension pot at the same time, you may be wondering what the implications are when returning to the UK.

If you’re returning home permanently, you will be required to inform the UK and Spanish authorities. If you receive the UK State Pension or benefits payments, you must tell the International Pension Centre and the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social.

To transfer your Spanish pension back to the UK, again, this is again possible via a QROPS, following a similar procedure as if you were moving funds out of the UK.

It may be possible to transfer private pension earnings without incurring charges, but this all depends on your circumstances. Get in touch to discuss this in more detail with an overseas pension transfer specialist.

Why speak to a pensions specialist?

Pension transfers can be difficult beasts at the best of times, and with the added complications associated with overseas transfers, it’s very important to seek expert advice for the most beneficial financial outcome.

So whether you’re looking to transfer UK funds to Spain, or move a Spanish pension to the UK, the specialists we work with can provide you with the most up to date advice, bespoke to your own unique circumstances.

Contact us on 0808 189 0463, or make an enquiry to arrange a no-obligation chat with a member of the team.

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We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in pensions. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Tony Stevens

Tony Stevens

Finance Expert

About the author

Tony has worked in a vastly diverse array of areas in the pensions industry for over 20 years. Tony regularly writes for trade press, usually on topical and pensions pieces as well as acting as a judge at prestigious national events.

Tony is also a highly qualified Independent Financial Adviser in his own right. His mantra has always been “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst”, and believes that the biggest impact that an adviser can have on a client’s life journey is to take them on a journey from generally having little or no real idea of what their retirement will look like, to giving them the understanding of what their retirement looks like now, then helping them navigate a path to what they want their retirement to be.

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*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

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