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Claiming a Spanish or UK Pension in Spain

- Updated: 01/01/2013
Claiming a Spanish or UK Pension in Spain

A Spanish State pension may be payable to those foreigners who have made more than the minimum social security payments required to qualify. In most cases this is 15 years. Each EU country adds together the insurance contributions from all EU countries. Then each country sees how much state pension (if any) a person would get if the insurance contributions had all been paid into that country's own social security scheme. Each country pays part of a person's pension; how much depends on how much has been paid into its scheme.

The Spanish State Pension System

The Spanish pension system is based upon earnings-related schemes which cover both employees and self-employed (Autonomo) persons.

Pensions are calculated on the individual's earnings in the 15 years previous to retirement. A full pension is reached after 35 years of contributing and at the age of 65*. However, this may be topped-up for low-earners after means-testing.

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Claiming a Spanish State Pension

Each EU country where a person has paid into social security towards a pension, including Spain, will look at the contributions under its own scheme. It will then work out how much pension is available, also under its own rules.

Any social security contributions made in another country or EU-reciprocal agreement country may be taken into account if it will help to get a State pension, or a higher State pension. Spanish Social Security Seguridad Social can supply further details or forms.

  • Tel: 900 16 65 65

Calculation of Amounts

Each country sends details of a person's social security record to the other countries. In brief, each country adds together a persons contributions made in all countries. Then each one sees how much State pension would be allowed if all contributions had been paid into its own social security scheme, for example Spain. But each country only has to pay a part of this depending on how much was paid in to it.

Claiming Pension from a Home Country ( Such as the UK ) Each country decides how it will pay a State pension; further information is available from and the authorities who run the country's State pension scheme.

For example:

  • A foreigner from the UK should ask the International Pensions Centre and complete the claim form IPCBR1
  • A person who is some time away from retirement age can complete the form BR19 which gives a State pension forecast of the benefits available from the UK

Both forms are available from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Apart from identifying pension benefits it is imperative that a claimant remembers to contact all previous employers. An enormous amount of money is lost in unclaimed, forgotten pensions.

* The Pension Reform came into effect on January 1st 2013, which brought the age of retirement from 65 to 67 for both men and women. The increase will be phased in gradually, and scheduled to take full effect by 2025. The minimum period of contributions to qualify for a 50% reduced pension remains 15 years, but increases to 22 years minimum to qualify for a full pension. You can read more by clicking >> Here <<

Comment on this Article

 
I have paid into the Spanish system for 10 years will i get a pension or part of a pension ? I am a pensioner
Michael Wilson - Mon 15th Dec 2014
If I defer my Spanish pension but pass away during that time does my next of kin receive the sum? Thank you
Nicola Osborne - Wed 12th Nov 2014
I have just had conformation that after 15 years working in spain i will be getting a pension from them for around 380 euros this will be paid by cheque or into a bank account of my choice but each year you have to prove you are still alive. hope this helps those that work abroad for 15yrs or more, its a lot more tricky to get anything if you have done less than 15yrs.
Alan Gilman - Wed 5th Nov 2014

Mike : A tricky one - our understanding is that you will receive 1 combined pension from typically the country you have made the most contributions to, who will take into account any contributions you have made in other countries. However, I would strongly advise that you check with the International Pensions dept of the DWP in the UK that this is also the case for Autonomos.

Manuel : Again, you can apply to have the contributions you made before leaving Spain exported across to the UK, however typically this will be addressed in the years shortly before you claim any pension as - as far as the DWP are concerned - you could move to any number of other countries between now and claiming your pension, so they want to ensure the minimum of paperwork.

Tumbit - Admin - Tue 30th Sep 2014
I'm spanish and I work in England since 1981 And previously I work for 10 years in Spain My retiring pension will be 2018 Will I get pay anything for the 10 years tha I contributed in Spain?
Manuel - Mon 29th Sep 2014
I am 66 years old and I draw a full state pension from the UK where I paid for 44 years my self employed stamp . For the last 7 years I have lived in Spain and I pay Autonomo every month of around 300 euro's . I know that I must continue to pay this for a minimum of 15 years to qualify for a percentage of a Spanish pension ( not a full pension ) . This is another 8 years, I enjoy working but it will take me to 74 years old . By this time I will have paid Autonomo to the amount of 300 x 12 x 15 = 54,000 euro's. My question is, do the Spanish give me a figure of what this percentage will be and if so , do they pay this separately to my UK state pension OR do the UK & Spanish Pensions get rolled into one, so I get a total of my present UK state pension whatever the Spanish say my Spanish state pension will be in 8 years time . Kind regards Mike
Mike - Fri 19th Sep 2014
Desmond : Nope, 7 years is below the minimum 15 years of contributions - However, you may be able to transfer these contributions to the country where you currently reside, to add them to your final Pension.
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 1st Jun 2014
I had school in Bilbao for 7 years. I paid my taxes. I would like to know if I have a pension entitlement over there. Please reply asasp. Thanks
Desmond Joseph Pierce - Sun 1st Jun 2014
Many thanks for your prompt reply but I am still struggling as the information in the website you indicated is in Spanish for most part. What I need is an explanation in English as to where I can get the relevant forms, and what if any further information or documents the Seguridad Social require. as I say the documents I have received show that the pension application has been cleared for payment, but the departments I have spoken to have not given me any information at all as to what is required. If you can enlighten me further I would be most grateful. Regards Len
Len Brazendale - Thu 22th May 2014

Len : The link to the appropriate website - in English - is available > HERE <

Tumbit - Admin - Tue 20th May 2014
I have received a letter from the Social Security in Alicante telling me that I qualify for a pension. This letter has all the detailed information yet does not have a form to return my bank details etc. I have been trying to contact the S/S for several days without success. Unfortunately I am not fluent in spanish. I would be grateful if you could tell me where I might obtain the relative forms. many thanks, Len Brazendale
Len Brazendale - Tue 20th May 2014
@Mike - My understanding is that if you continue to pay you Spanish social security, but do not become eligible for a pension in Spain you can have your contributions added to your UK state pension calculations. It's complicated but you will need to speak to the Dept. for Works and Pensions in the UK for advice.
Ed Bishop - Tue 14th Jan 2014
I have lived in Spain for 6 years during which time I have always paid Autonomo. I am now 65 and I get paid my UK state pension paid into my UK bank account. I want to continue to pay into my Spanish Autonomos but what if I get to say 70 and then cannot work any more ? What happens to all the contributions I will have paid in Spain for 11 years ? I am assuming I can continue to draw my UK penion the proportion of what I have pain in , in Spain . Is this correct ...?
Mike Deekes - Mon 13th Jan 2014
@John Latham - You have been given the wrong advise. Any social security payments you make in Spain can be transferred to your UK social security calculations regardless of your employment status, employed or self-employed. You will need to obtain a statement of contributions from the Spanish authorities. If you are based in the UK, the Spanish Embassy in London should be able to help you.
Ed Bishop - Sun 5th Jan 2014
@C Frewin - He must have paid into the system for a minimum of 15 years however the amount is calculated on what he paid. He may not be entitled to a full-pension, however you can have your UK contribution included in the calculations.
Ed Bishop - Sun 5th Jan 2014
Hi, I am British citizen moved to Spain in 1999 went self employed 2000 . I paid into the Spanish system for 7 years until returning back to the Uk in 2010 . I was unemployed for the extra 3 years but was not allowed to claim unemployment benefits. I have now just found out I have lost seven years stamps here in the Uk plus told I can't transfer my payments from Spain into my fund here in the Uk . Possible you can advise please as this seems to be another scam pushed on workers living in Spain who have now returned. Regards
John Latham - Fri 3rd Jan 2014
My husband has paid into the Spanish system for 17 years. He is 65 years old He stopped paying 4 years ago due to an accident . Will he still be entitled to his Spanish Pension ?
C Frewin - Wed 18th Dec 2013

Guys : It would be difficult to comment on individual incidences, but in many cases if you do not meet the minimum number of contributed years to claim a Pension you can add these qualifying years to your UK Pension.

In the first instance you should perhaps call the International Pensions Dept of the DWP on 44 191 218 7777

Tumbit - Admin - Sat 14th Sep 2013
Hi, I have worked in Spain for 10.5 years, paid autonimo because you have too! now I am 65 and been told that I am unable to have any sort of a pension from Spain because it's a minimum of 15 years! Every other country you are entitled to a percentage of what you have paid! Can you advise??
Michael H - Sat 14th Sep 2013
I am 63 and have a fully paid up UK basic pension. I also worked in spain and have 12 years 5 months and 3 days of paid pension contributions up until 1998. I have been told 15 years is necessary for a Spanish pension and they do not pay back contributions. Where do write to ask for my UK pension, and Spanish pension to combine, to provide a joint pension? My last EU country of employment was Spain.
James Black - Thu 25th Jul 2013
I am 54 years of age and I have paid 7 years Autonomo in Spain.Can this go towards a pension in Spain or the UK?
Ian Rosenberg - Thu 18th Jul 2013
I am 54 years of age - Working in Spain for last 10 years and Uk for 20 years,. How will the State Pensions be organised between the 2 countries form if I retire here after 10 more years working in Spain?
Philip John - Wed 17th Jul 2013
I am 55 live in Spain and paid for a full pension , I have my own business in Spain and paying into the system for 5 years so another 10 to go, will I get my full English pension as well as 50% of a Spanish Pension ?
Andy - Sun 14th Jul 2013
If I claim for a pension whilst living in Sspain, can I continue to work part time hours as we can in the UK?
Rita - Sat 29th Jun 2013
I will be 68 this year and have been receiving state pension from the age of 60. I have been working in Spain and have paid a total of 7 and a half years in national Insureance . Am I entitled to a small pension from Spain as well as my UK one, or do I have to carry on working until I accrue 15 years.
Rita - Tue 25th Jun 2013
When should i go to see about my Spanish pension and will they give me a forecast ????
Mrs Shirley Joan Randle - Sat 25th May 2013
Do I get the form IPCBR1 from Spain or the UK ? - I will be 65 in September and I worked for 10 years in Spain I have received my UK pension since I was 60.
Mrs Shirley Joan Randle - Sat 25th May 2013
BHW : I am sure that you already know that the minimum number of years you must make to quilify for a Spanish Pension is 15 years. This amount of contributions currently entitles you to claim EU340 per month, paid double in December & July - so basically EU4760 per year.
Tumbit - Admin - Tue 19th Mar 2013
I am a UK national but resident in Spain and have just completed 15 years paying social security contributions as 'autonomo' (circa 300 Euros per month). I am 69 years old. Can you give an indication of the amount I may receive under the Spanish pension system ?
Bhw - Tue 19th Mar 2013
Hi, I,m writing to inform you that a lot of people who receive their pensions from UK might not realise that if their bank has merged with another bank, their Swift and Iban number will be changed and pensions Department will not be able to pay it into their account in Spain, contact pensions Department in Uk after getting your new swft and Iban from your bank, hope this is helpful to some people.
Una-faye Marie - Fri 1st Mar 2013
Sr Valino : This site is generally concerned with UK citizens moving TO Spain - NOT vice-versa - so you will have to excuse us if we are not up to speed with the exact procedures.... if you are asking about how to claim a Pension from Spain whilst living in the UK I would suggest that the Spanish Embassy in London may be a good place to start.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 7th Jan 2013
I am claiming a retirment pension in England from Spain, but yearly I have to produce a "fe de vida" - what is that, and more important, where can I get it ?
M.garcia Valino - Mon 7th Jan 2013
I am having a problem claiming my uk pension as I worked for 4 years autonomous in Spain, the form they have given me to fill in is in complicated spanish & they want copies of my kids birth certificates, does anyone know anything about these forms can I get them in English, why do they need my kids birth certificates ?
Maggie - Fri 23rd Nov 2012

Tony : If you are working and making social security contributions here in Spain you should ask the Spanish authorities (the INSS) about any Spanish pensions rights you may have from those contributions.

Any entitlement you have in Spain would be in addition to your United Kingdom State Pension (i.e you would receive a pension from the UK and a separate pension from Spain).

HOWEVER, I would add that personal circumstances and situations vary so you should check to ensure that this will be the case for YOU.

Tumbit - Admin - Wed 11th Jul 2012
If I have paid in the full amount in the uk and 20 years in spain. Will I only get the full spanish pension as I live in spain or will I also get some from the UK too ?
Tony - Wed 11th Jul 2012
Tony : This very subject was recently discussed in our forum, please click HERE to see if any of the comments answer your question.
Tumbit - Admin - Wed 11th Jul 2012
I have paid 30 years pension contribution in the UK And 20 years pension Contribution in Spain Can I claim Both ?
Tony - Tue 10th Jul 2012
Janet, where are you legally resident at the moment ?
C Shaw - Fri 30th Mar 2012
I can claim my UK pension from may this year, but have been told by UK works and pension dept that I have to claim through Spain because I have worked in Spain for the last 10 years, could you tell me which form I have to ask for when applying please ?
Janet - Thu 29th Mar 2012
I am divorced from my former spouse while I was in the USA, and now live in Sevilla, and am not working anywhere, becouse I am on Disability in both countries : USA and in Spain. I do not work as a self-employed or anything else - am I entitled to claim any pension ?
Rafaela E, Aitken ( In The Usa ) - Sat 3rd Mar 2012
Now 65, I am claiming my Spanish pension after having worked and contributed in Spain for 24 years as an autonomo. I paid UK ex-pat contributions and have been receiving in my UK bank account my (not full) UK pension since I was 60. Will I be able to get the full Spanish pension (or 24 years' worth) AND keep my UK one? if not, why not as I paid for both separately? Thanks Susana
Susana Stuteley - Sat 31st Dec 2011
Ian, sorry for late response. When I came to Spain almost 10 years ago I was 58 but paid the rest of my contributions in the uk in other words 7 more years payments that of course concluded my input to the uk. I then started paying into the Spanish system for 7 years before retiring. My uk pension was basic plus serps and my spanish pension paid seperateley or should I say credits because I had not completed 15 years. My spanish was originally 240 euros pm but was recently reduced by 94 euros because of my wifes death. My solicitor says this is basically theft, but is the same in the uk if your wife dies.
Peter S Farnhill - Sun 13th Nov 2011
Sir, I retire in july 2012. I plan to be living back in the UK by next July, and will have accrued 13 yrs into the Spanish system. DO I QUALIFY FOR AN EXTRA SMALLER PENSION FROM SPAIN AS WELL? Regards.
Keith J. Wood - Mon 7th Nov 2011
Sam, can you clarify regarding the number of years you had credit for, is it 44? If so did the extra 14 years get credited to Spain and added to your 6 years here? Also what amount did you originally receive from Spain? Thanks
Ian Clack - Thu 8th Sep 2011
Before I left the uk in 2002 I had paid up all contributions to my state pension. I worked another 6 years here in Spain and on retirement got my UK pension plus the credits from working here in Spain, so I am paid my UK pension from the UK and receive a small pension here re the credits. I have received a notification today to turn up at the seguridad social with all my papers to prove I am resident in Spain and that I get the UK pension also. I have also noted that they have lopped off almost 100 euros from my Spanish pension. I am in the uk at present so can't do much, have you had any thing like this before ? Thanks
Sam Farnhill - Thu 25th Aug 2011
Guys, please accept my apologies for the slow response. You may find quicker, different and maybe even more up to date replies to your questions by checking out the 'Pensions & Benefits' section of our Forum, by clicking HERE
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 21st Aug 2011
Buzz : I honestly don't know, but will look into this one. It seems a bit odd and I can only wonder if it is indirectly linked to carers benefits and so on ...?
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 21st Aug 2011
Steve : Yes, you can apply for these contributions to be transfered. It is normal practice for the UK to take this into account just before you apply to receive your final Pension, due to the fact that you situation could change several times between now and that point in time. It would do no harm, though, to contact the International Pensions Centre at the DWP in the UK on 0044 191 218 7777 to ask them if there is any paperwork you should be collating in order to make the process easier for you in the future.
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 21st Aug 2011
Bev : Obviously things can and probably will change between now and in 17 years time, but at the moment yes, you will be entitled to both.
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 21st Aug 2011
I'm so relieved to have found your website. I've worked in Spain for well over 20 years and am finally reaching 65. I already receive my UK pension since reaching 60 and have now got an application form for my spanish pension. I don't know if I'm over reacting but one of the questions on the form is to give the names and details of my adult children (also british) who do not live with me. Is this really necessary under European regulations? Appreciative thank yous
Buzzinspain - Sat 20th Aug 2011
Hi I have paid 12 years social security payments in Tenerife. Iam now living back in UK and have not paid NI contributions since that time. My question is that can i transfer all/part of these social payments back to UK to top up my NI contributions? Many Thanks
Steve Johnson - Mon 15th Aug 2011
Hi Again, With these changes now in place will this still mean that by the time I retire in 17 years time, and I would have paid 17 years Spanish atonimo and have paid FULL UK stamp will this still mean that I will be able to claim full UK pention and a small Spanish pension?? Many thanks again for your wonderful support to all us expats Cheers Bev
Bev Harrison - Thu 21st Jul 2011
S.J. : Whilst I appreciate that it doesn't answer your question, you may find today's news of interest to you - Click Here...
Tumbit - Admin - Thu 21st Jul 2011
Thanks for the detailed reply. However, I tend to be pretty 'thick' about these things. What I am still unsure of is, whether, when I reach my 65th birthday in April 2013, will I be able to claim a Spanish pension or will I have to wait until my 67th birthday? Another issue regards my wife's pension. She has been receiving her UK state pension since Oct. 2009 (17 years of UK contributions). By Oct. 2014 she will have contributed at least 15 years into the Spanish Seguridad Social for her pension. Will she have to renegociate her British & Spanish pension to receive a single sum from one or the other or will the Uk pension remain as at present and receive an additional pension from Spain? Complicated eh!! Hope that you can work it all out and shed a glimmer of light on our predicament. Thanks again S.J.
S.j. - Mon 18th Jul 2011
SJ : Yes, you still qualify to receive the minimum Spanish pension, as you will a 22/30th pension from the UK, however the increase in retirement age from 65 to 67 will start to be phased in from 2013, becoming fully effective by 2025.
Tumbit - Admin - Sat 16th Jul 2011
I am 63 and have contributed for 15 years towards my Spanish State Pension (not autonomo). I am, at present, receiving unemployment benifit following my redundancy 12 months ago. I was assured at that time that my Social Security contributions would be continued. I accepted the redubdancy on the understanding that 15 yrs was the min. to qualify for a Spanish pension. Following the changes in late 2010, do I still qualify with 15 yrs contributions and will I get it at 65 or will I have to wait till 67? I also have 22 years contributions in UK.
S.j. - Sat 16th Jul 2011
Based on the DWP website, my understanding of the situation is this : If you have paid into the social security scheme of another EU member state for at least 1 year, your entitlement to pension from that state will be considered under the EU Regulations. You need to have paid at least 15 years of Spanish insurance to get a pension under Spain's rules. Under the EU Regulations, Spain can use your insurance record from the UK to help you qualify for a Spanish pension, but Spain will only pay the proportion of pension based on Spanish insurance to you. You will therefore get two pensions - one from the UK and one from Spain. HOWEVER - Any years of UK insurance over the 30 years now required to get a full pension CAN NOT be passed to Spain. Insurance is not transferable from one state to another UNLESS you have paid less than 52 weeks of contributions in any one member state.
Old Timer - Fri 1st Jul 2011
I will be 65 in November 2011 and I have 42 qualifying years in the UK. I am self employed here in Spain and will have contributed 6 years to the INNS. Will the UK transfer the surplus 12 years to Spain? Also added to the 6 years I have, will Spain pay me a half pension? Thank you
Ian - Thu 16th Jun 2011
You should speak with the International Pensions Centre at the DWP in the UK on 0044 191 218 7777 - ask for a Pensions Forecast for yourself at the same time.
Jo Green - Wed 18th May 2011
I qualify for U.K. pension january 2012 having contributed for 10 years.I live in Spain with my husband. He has contributed as a self employed person for 15 years here. He will be 65 this November, and will draw his pension then. He will get a small allowance for me because I have never worked in Spain. Can I recieve my pension in U.K. and have it paid into a relatives bank account as I do not have one of my own. If I claim my pension will my husband lose the small proportion he gets for me as a dependent. Or can the pensions be combined as it makes 25 years and we have no other savings or income.
Sue Smythe - Wed 18th May 2011
No, you can not claim that money back - but you can arrange for the contributions that you have made to be 'moved' back to the UK to count towards your contributions there.
Tumbit - Tue 10th May 2011
What happens to moniey the i have paid into social security in spain,t i have paid in for over 6 years,and have now left Spain and returned to UK because of family. iam now coming upto 65 but i am still on the spanish electral roll can i claim any money back that i have paid in??,
Terry Jackson - Tue 10th May 2011
Bev : I have spoken with my contact at the DWP in the UK and he assure me that you WILL be eligible to claim both Pensions seperately. The amount you can claim will depend upon the contributions you have made - so in your case the UK max Pension, and the Spanish min pension (whatever amounts they may be at that time).
Tumbit - Admin - Fri 6th May 2011
sorry to confuse you. I have paid 28 years therefore have 2 years left to which I will be pating over the next 2 years to top me up. Now I am paying into the Spanish system and it is my understanding that if I pay my autonomo for 15 years I will then be able to claim a full UK pention plus the lower Spainish pension is this correct??? As I am 50 now, I shall reach both pension ages at the same time. This would then so I am told, give me roughly £400.00 per month from the UK and 800euros from Spain. Many thanks Bev
Bevharrison - Tue 3rd May 2011
Bev, just to clarify : You have to date paid 2 years UK contributions, but plan to make voluntary NI contributions in the future in order to top this up. The minimum no. of NIC's you need to have made in order to get the Max. UK pension is 30 yrs, and the min. years you need to have made contributions for in order to get a reduced UK pension is 10/Men & 9/Women. - If you are wanting to consider claiming BOTH a UK AND Spanish pension, but will reach the eligible age for the UK pension before the Spanish one, you should claim from the INSS in Spain as opposed to from the UK as the system allows you to do this (at the moment, at least).
Tumbit - Admin - Tue 3rd May 2011
Hi I have been living in Spain for 7 years and have for the past 6 months I have been selfemployed here and paying Autonomo. I have only 2 years contributions needed for my full pension in the UK(which I plan to pay seperately) but plan to stay here working for the 15 years so that I can obtain both a UK & Spanish pention but reading the above makes me wonder if I am being misinformed that I would not be allowed to claim full UK and Minimum Spanish pensions. Please advice me.
Bev Harrison - Tue 3rd May 2011
The situation regarding private pensions is a complex one, and accurate advise would require knowing much more about your personal situation. A good starting point for no-obligation advice would be by contacting our "Pensions" partner by clicking on the "Savings, Pensions & Investments" Button on the toolbar, above.
Tumbit - Admin - Mon 26th Jul 2010
I recently changed my local authority pension to private. I was informed that on the 6th april for the next 5 years, I can withdraw min of £3700 per year. Can i sell these rights? Are there companis who would buy them from me? Can I get a loan against these? The 1st payment is due on the 6/4/2011. I now live in spain, thankyou for your time.
Russell Davey - Mon 26th Jul 2010