People will have to build up at least ten years of National Insurance payments or equivalent credits to be eligible for the single-tier state pension.
Pension minister Steve Webb (pictured) confirmed the minimum qualifying period , which will apply to anyone reaching state pension age (SPA) after the April 2016, in a written statement.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had initially said the qualifying period would be between seven years and a decade.
A DWP study published in October found that introducing a minimum qualifying period at the upper end of this range would save the government about £650m a year (in today's prices) by 2040.
It said a ten-year qualifying period would affect between 15,000 and 22,000 people reaching SPA each year from 2016 to 2020.
This represents about 2% to 3% of UK residents reaching the SPA and 18% to 23% of UK nationals living overseas.
Webb said: "Putting in place the minimum qualifying period will help ensure that state pension expenditure is targeted at individuals who have made a significant social or economic contribution.
"People can build qualifying years in many ways; for example by paying National
Insurance or by receiving credits for a wide range of reasons, including caring for children, caring for others, or being too ill to work."
People will have to build up 35 qualifying years to receive the full level of state pension, but anyone reaching the minimum period will qualify for a proportion of the benefit.
The single-tier state pension will be introduced in April 2016, set at approximately £144 a week in 2012/13 earning terms.
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