Frontier Worker Permit

You need to get a Frontier Worker permit if you want to work in the UK but live in another country.

You may be eligible if all of the following apply:

  • you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • you live outside of the UK
  • you began working in the UK by 31 December 2020

You must usually have worked in the UK at least once every 12 months since you started working here. You may still be able to apply if you’ve had periods of unemployment or were unable to work during this time.

If you’re an Irish citizen, you do not need to apply for a Frontier Worker permit but you can choose to do so.

You cannot apply if you’re a British citizen (this includes dual citizenship).

If you have not worked in the UK by 31 December 2020

If you want to work in the UK from 1 January 2021, and were not working here before, you’ll need to apply for a visa.

The visa you’ll need depends on the type of work and how long you want to come for.

You do not need a visa if you’re a British or Irish citizen.

What the permit allows you to do

Your permit allows you to enter the UK as a frontier worker.

It proves your right to access benefits and services, including NHS healthcare, if you meet the relevant eligibility requirements.

If you have a digital version of your permit you can also use this to prove your right to work or rent.

If you have a physical permit, you must prove your right to work and prove your right to rent online.

For more information on our Frontier Worker Permits, please get in contact where we would love to discuss further on how we could help you.

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There’s no fee to apply for the permit, and you do not have to pay the immigration health surcharge. You may have to pay to submit your biometric information (photograph or fingerprints).

How to apply

You must apply online.

You’ll be told if you’ll also need to go to an appointment at a visa application centre or UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point.

You will not usually need an appointment if you can use a smartphone app and have a passport or ID card with a biometric chip.

Family members

Family members are not covered by your Frontier Worker permit.

Your family member may be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settled or pre-settled status.

Who can apply

You can only apply for a Frontier Worker permit if you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and you:

  • live outside the UK
  • meet the requirements for working in the UK

Living outside the UK

You must live ‘primarily’ outside of the UK. How you meet this requirement depends on how much time you’ve spent here since 1 January 2020.

You’ll be eligible if you’ve spent less than 180 days in total in the UK over the course of any 12 month period.

If you’ve spent 180 days or more in the UK within 12 months

You’ll still be eligible if, in that 12 month period, you returned to the country you live in at least either:

  • once every 6 months
  • twice in the 12 month period

You’ll still be able to apply if there are exceptional circumstances meaning you could not travel to your country of residence in this period, such as an illness or accident.

Working in the UK

You must:

  • have started working in the UK while living elsewhere by 31 December 2020, either as an employed or self-employed person
  • do eligible work
  • usually have worked in the UK (as an employed or self-employed person) at least once every 12 months since you started working here

Eligible work

You’ll be eligible as long as your work in the UK is ‘genuine and effective’. This means it must be more than small, one-off tasks, such as:

  • an interview
  • taking part in a one-off competition or audition
  • signing a contract

If you’re not sure if your work is eligible, the Home Office has guidance on what counts as genuine and effective work.

If you’ve been unable to work or unemployed in the UK during a 12 month period

You might still be eligible if you’ve been unemployed or not worked during this time because you were:

  • temporarily unable to work because of an illness or accident
  • temporarily unable to work because you were pregnant or had given birth
  • unable to come to the UK and work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • voluntarily unemployed and doing vocational training related to your last occupation
  • involuntarily unemployed, and either looking for work in the UK or doing vocational training

This is known as having ‘retained worker’ or ‘retained self-employed person’ status.

If you became involuntarily unemployed and are looking for work, you’ll keep your status for:

  • 6 months if you worked in the UK for less than a year before becoming unemployed
  • as long as you continue to look for work, if you worked in the UK for a year or more before becoming unemployed

You’ll need to be registered as a jobseeker with an employment office (such as Jobcentre Plus) and provide evidence that you’re looking for work in the UK.

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The Frontier Worker Permit provides an easy, convenient way to obtain special access to work in the Frontier. By simply obtaining this permit, you will have all the necessary permissions and clearance to work without delay.

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Get in Touch

With years of experience working in UK immigration and British nationality law, our advisors can help you understand the process and take the right steps to obtain your visa. Get in touch today.