Retiring in Ireland with UK Pensions

Working in the UK, retiring in Ireland

It is estimated that over half a million Irish citizens currently reside in the UK. Most are part of the working population, intending to return home for retirement. Those with a history as a UK taxpayer are likely to have accrued some UK pension wealth, as well as UK State Pension entitlement.

There are many planning points to consider, from State Pension qualification to currency conversion. Here, we’ve taken some of the key things to think about for those with UK pensions, retiring in Ireland. 

If you’d like more help, contact us to be put in touch with a UK pension expert. 

Can I keep my UK pensions?

Yes. Your UK pensions are yours alone and won’t be ‘lost’ when leaving. UK pensions come in various forms, so it’s important to understand your pension plans, how they work in retirement, and your options for investing funds and taking pension income.

Can I bring my UK pensions to Ireland?

Pensions held under UK legislation can be moved to a qualifying overseas arrangement such as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). 

A QROPS offers the option to move UK pension wealth to the EU, which can be beneficial to those not returning to the UK in retirement.

What is a QROPS?

See our QROPS guide for further information about QROPS and whether a new EU-based pension arrangement could suit you.

Will I get a UK State Pension?

Your UK State Pension entitlement is dependent upon your National Insurance Contribution (NICs) record. You’ll need a minimum of 10 years’ NICs contributions to qualify. Find out more about your UK State Pension entitlement here.

The UK State Pension is payable in GBP, but can be paid to banks outside of the UK. If you’ve worked in the UK for a good period of time, the UK State Pension could offer you with a great inflation linked ‘backbone’ to your retirement plan.

What about currency?

UK pensions are generally held and payable in GBP. For those retiring in Ireland, long-term currency conversion can be costly and present a long term risk. Pensioners living their financial lifestyle in Euros could find themselves with the added planning risk of currency (therefore income) fluctuations. 


Transferring UK pension funds to an International UK Pension, such as the International Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) or QROPS, offers the option to hold cash, investments and draw income in Euros. This reduces long term exchange risks and costs.

Retiring in Ireland Baltimore beacon coast

What about UK tax?

UK pensions typically offer income payments under PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax payroll. This means income is taxed at source, with ‘net’ (after tax) income being received by the pension member. UK tax is aligned with your UK tax code.

Those living outside of the UK may apply for an ‘NT’ (No Tax) code with HMRC. This allows the member to receive UK pension income ‘gross’ (without tax deduction), and report this income instead under their home country. For those retiring in Ireland, income would then become subject to Irish tax only. 

See the UK and Irish government websites for guidance with cross-border taxation and details of the international tax agreements. 

Do your research

Before considering what to do with your UK pension wealth, research your plans and planning options. If you’ve worked in the UK and paid UK tax you’ve likely got some form of pension. 

Use the pension forecast website to find out your UK State Pension entitlement. Trace any ‘lost’ pensions with just the name of your former employer by using the UK Government’s pension tracing service.


Our range of financial planning guides offer a great start to personal financial planning for Irish residents. Use our free research toolkit to write to your pension providers and ask all the right questions to find out the important detail in your pensions.

Get in touch

If you need any help, get in touch. We can link you to a qualified and regulated EU-based professional with cross-border experience. Some UK pensions require a UK FCA advisor; we can help connect you to the right experts.

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