French pensions for UK ex-pats


I used to work for a UK IT company and was posted to France (Valbonne) between 1985-1988. During those 3 years I paid into 2 supplementary French pension schemes, IRNIS and AGPC(AGIRC).

Does anyone know the process for accessing those pension schemes now that I’m back in the UK and approaching retirement? Looking at my photo I know that’s hard to believe :slight_smile:

If the answer is “leave it all to the DHSS” then that’s fine. I just want to know if I should be doing anything at my end.

A bientot!

Hi Ian,

I just came across this website and your post while looking for information about French pensions. I find myself in a similar position to yourself in 2011, trying to find out what’s happened to my IRNIS and AGPC pensions.

We may even have worked for the same UK IT company. In my case I transferred “permanently” from UK to Valbonne in 1988 and left the company, and France, in 1994.

Did you ever manage to find out how the process works, or even better are you now receiving anything as a result of your contributions to IRNIS and AGPC?


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Hi Pete,

I left DEC Valbonne in August 1988 so it’s possible our paths crossed midi La Manche. I do indeed receive three French pensions - Carsat (French State Pension Service) and ARRCO / AGIRC (Supplementary professional pension service. I was there for three years so it’s not a massive amount but useful income nonetheless. It depends what schemes HR enrolled you into as to what pensions you’re entitled to.

All foreign pensions have to be initiated/coordinated by UK DWP. So that’s your starting point. If you Google IPC BR1 it will take you to their pensions site and the form you have to complete. I personally would give them a call in Newcastle to explain who you are and what you want to claim.

On the form I recall I had to provide details of all my income for the three years so they could calculate my pension. I didn’t have all that info so they asked me to contact the French authorities directly so they could calculate it. Golden rule: Always keep all your French paperwork until death and 20 years after.

The Carsat Normandie website is

AGIRC and ARRCO are administrated by Malakoff Mederic at

If you use the Chrome Browser and right click on the page there is a Translate option if you need it. Worth having a nose around although I think you have to be registered to access some pages.

I’ve just been on the DWP website and their forms have changed since 2011 so not sure I can help you much there. It seems straightforward though. You obviously have to be 65 and have access to all the information they require. As I say, I would give them a call on 0191 218 7777.

You might want to get it all organised before Brexit :upside_down_face:

Hope this helps. The key is to go through DWP in your own country first (UK).

Reply if you need more. /Ian

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Forgot to mention. IRNIS and AGPC became ARRCO and AGIRC who were then taken over by Malakoff-Mederic who now run their schemes. That caused confusion and turmoil trying to sort it out with language translation difficulties.

It might be an idea for you to register and log into the Malakoff site and quote your IRNIS/AGPC numbers and see if they can find you. You could do that in parallel with whatever DWP might set up for you. As I recall it took much argy/bargy with DWP in terms of who could/should provide payroll details etc. It was some months before my pension started flowing but it comes every month. You can select whether you want to pay tax in France or here in UK. I opted to pay tax here in UK and have my pensions paid gross.


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Hi Ian,

I guessed you probably worked for DEC, like me. I started in Valbonne in July '88 so we overlapped by a few weeks.

Thanks for the quick and helpful replies. The info you’ve provided should be very useful, particularly regarding the name change and takeover of IRNIS and AGPC. Also I didn’t know that DWP should be my main point of contact. I don’t need my contributions in France to count towards my UK state pension as I currently have enough NI contributions for the full UK state pension and I wasn’t expecting to get anything from Carsat.

That thought leads me to another question… I’m assuming I won’t get anything from Carsat because I don’t need the years in France to count towards my UK pension. Is my assumption correct? I see that you’re receiving a pension from Carsat. Is that because you didn’t have the required number of years of UK NI contributions for the full UK pension or do you receive full UK pension and one from Carsat?


Hi Pete,

As far as I understand, and bear in mind I’m no expert, the UK pensions (DWP) and the French basic state pension (Carsat) are two different entities.

As part of the DEC relocation deal, HR was obliged to maintain my UK pension contributions so that it was unaffected. Whilst in France you would have contributed to Carsat for 6 years so, in my view, you are entitied to six years worth of Carsat pension. I now receive the full UK state pension plus the Carsat pension on top (3 years worth in my case).

The only difficulty is if you were not in a standard 3 years relocation deal and simply emigrated to France for 6 years. I don’t know if UK HR were obliged to maintain your UK pension if that was the case. However if you have sufficient UK contributions it shouldn’t matter.

From what you’ve said, you seem to be entitled to a full UK state pension, plus six years worth of French Carsat pension. Plus the ARRCO / AGIRC) pensions.

The best thing I can suggest is to call DWP to clarify/confirm your UK pension status and ask them for advice on claiming a French pension. They will probably send you the form I mentioned earlier. Also just write to Carsat and Malakoff with your employment history, badge numbers, IRNIS (etc) account numbers and any other relevant employment information and let them sort it out. Despite what we say about the French (admin) they do seem to have a slick pensions system.

Just in case the addresses are unclear on their websites the addresses are:
CARSAT Normandie, 5 Avenue Du Grand Cours, CS 36028 76028, ROUEN Cedex 1, France.

Malakoff Mederic, Gestion des Coordonnees Retraites, , 45805 Saint-Jean-de-Braye, Cedex, France.


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Thanks Ian, that’s very helpful. I went to Valbonne on a permanent transfer and there was supposed to be an arrangement, which was never very clearly defined, to avoid employees who went abroad on this basis losing out on their pension. In my case this isn’t an issue as I do now qualify for the full UK state pension (as well as the DEC UK pension from my time there before going to France).

If I can sort out the ARRCO / AGIRC pensions the Carsat one will be an added bonus if I’m entitled to that too, which it seems like I should be. I’ll contact DWP and take it from there.

See also French pensions for UK ex-pats 2