TN 16 (11-96)

RS 02001.370 Exceptions to the General Coverage Rule for Employment - U.S. United Kingdom Agreement


A detached worker is one who is sent by his/her employer in one country to work temporarily in the other country for the same employer or an overseas affiliate of the same employer. Under the agreement, a detached worker remains subject only to the social security laws of the country from which he/she was sent, provided the following conditions are met:

  1. 1. 

    The employment relationship must exist before the employee is transferred from the home country, although the transfer need not be directly from the home country to the host country but may be via a third country.

  2. 2. 

    The employment in the host country must be expected to last no longer than 5 years. The 5-year period begins with the date the employment in the host country begins or the effective date of the agreement, whichever is later. However, the two countries may agree to a longer period in an individual case (see RS 02001.370B.).

  3. 3. 

    In the case of a worker who is sent by an employer in the United States to work for an affiliate in the United Kingdom, the American employer must have entered into an agreement under section 3121(l) of the Internal Revenue Code (see RS 01901.070) with respect to the U.K. affiliate.

The detached worker rule does not apply to workers employed as officers or crew members of a ship or aircraft (see RS 02001.370D.).


Ordinarily, the detached worker rule can apply only if the temporary assignment in the host country will last for no longer than 5 years. Employment in the host country for a period in excess of the 5-year limit may remain subject to the laws of the home country only if both countries agree to grant an extension. A request for an extension should be made before the expiration of the 5 years. If it is expected before the transfer that the temporary assignment will last for more than 5 years, the employer or employee should request an extension before the transfer takes place. If the transfer is from the United States, the request for an extension must be made to SSA at the address in RS 02001.385. If the transfer is from the U.K., and the person wishes to remain subject to coverage under the U.K. social security system, the request must be made to the U.K. Department of Social Security at the address in RS 02001.385. Neither country will grant an extension without the concurrence of the other.


The agreement provides that, in general, the categories of government workers mentioned in the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations will not be affected by the coverage provisions of the agreement. The Conventions, to which both the United Kingdom and the United States are parties, apply to members of the staff of a diplomatic or consular mission, including the diplomatic, consular, administrative and technical staffs; dependents of members of those staffs; the domestic service staffs of the missions; and, under certain conditions, the private servants employed by members of such missions.

In general, nationals of a country who work abroad in the diplomatic or consular service of their country are exempt under the Conventions from social security coverage and contributions under the laws of the host country unless they specifically waive their exemption. Persons who waive their exemption under the Conventions, are subject to the coverage provisions of the agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, a U.S. or U.K. national who is not covered by the Vienna Conventions but who is employed by his/her government in the other country is subject only to the laws of his/her own country.


Under the agreement, a worker employed as an officer or crew member on a ship or aircraft who would otherwise be covered under the laws of both countries will be covered only under the laws of the country in which he/she is resident. (See GN 01702.230 concerning determinations of residence.)

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RS 02001.370 - Exceptions to the General Coverage Rule for Employment - U.S. United Kingdom Agreement - 06/14/2004
Batch run: 06/14/2004