UK Frontier Worker Permit

If you’re looking to make an application for a UK Frontier Worker Permit, our immigration lawyers are here to help make sure you are eligible for this scheme.

Our expert immigration solicitors are here to provide advice and guidance on the application process for Frontier Worker Permits. All of our solicitors are knowledgeable about the latest changes to UK immigration law and can help you to navigate the UK immigration system.

To speak to a solicitor about applying for a Frontier Work Permit, call us on 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185, or fill in our contact form to request a call back.


How Latitude Law can help

We specialise in all aspects of work and business immigration law to ensure that employees have the right to work in the UK. Our specialist immigration lawyers can help with the application process for Frontier Worker Permits by:

  • Checking if you are eligible for a permit
  • Preparing and submitting applications on your behalf
  • Liaising with the Home Office on your behalf regarding your application
  • Making an extension application
  • Handling refusals for applications

We can also discuss your long-term plans and individual circumstances and help you to understand what visa options are available.

What is a Frontier Worker?

Frontier workers are people who live in one country but regularly work in another. This includes any EU citizen or citizen of the EEA or Switzerland who is employed or self-employed in the UK but lives elsewhere. These individuals are also referred to as cross-border workers.

For this reason, frontier working comes in a variety of forms, for example, a Spanish employee of a multinational company could share their time between offices in Madrid and London.

What is the Frontier Worker Permit?

The Frontier Worker Permit allows EEA and Swiss nationals to work in the UK while living in another country.

Individuals with a Frontier Worker Permit will be able to:

  • Work or rent in the UK
  • Travel freely in and out of the UK for the purposes of work
  • Access benefits and services, if they have the right
  • Access NHS healthcare

Irish citizens do not need to apply for a permit; they have the right to enter, live and work in the UK under the Common Travel Area arrangements.

Am I eligible for a Frontier Worker Permit?

To be eligible for a Frontier Worker Permit, you must:

  • Have begun working in the UK by 31st December 2020, either as an employed or self-employed worker
  • Do eligible work
  • Usually have worked in the UK for at least once every 12 months since you started working here

Eligible work is defined broadly. You must demonstrate your work in the UK is ‘genuine and effective’, which essentially means it must be more than small, one-off tasks.

The requirement to have worked in the UK for at least once every 12 months since first working here will pose problems for new applicants. This is because more than 12 months have passed since the 31st December 2020 deadline.

You may still be eligible to apply for a Frontier Worker Permit despite the gap of more than 12 months if you were:

  1. Temporarily unable to work because of an illness or accident
  2. Temporarily unable to work because you were pregnant or had given birth
  3. Unable to come to the UK and work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  4. Voluntarily unemployed and undertaking vocational training related to your last occupation
  5. 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 become involuntarily unemployed and are looking for work, you will keep the frontier worker status for as long as you continue to look for work, as long as you worked in the UK for a year or more before becoming unemployed.

How to apply for a Frontier Worker Permit

The application for a Frontier Worker Permit is free of charge and can be made online from either inside or outside of the UK via the gov.uk site. Applicants will be required to prove their identity as part of the application, which can be done either via the UK Immigration ID check app or by attending a visa application centre to submit biometric information.

Documents that you may need in order to apply for a permit include:

  • A valid passport or valid national identity card
  • Employment contract, contract to complete work or employment letter/agreement, which should include:

    – Evidence of your employment start date, your place of work and the nature of your work
    – Confirmation from the employer that the frontier worker is required to travel to the UK for work purposes

  • Payslips or invoices demonstrating the pay you have received in exchange for your work
  • Evidence of social security contributions in the UK based on work undertaken here
  • Copies of business accounts showing proof of payment for work
  • Email or text communications showing work organised in the UK
  • References from clients or examples of business advertising in the UK
  • Letters outlining proof of self-employed status
  • Income tax letter from HMRC

If an application is approved, a digital permit will be provided – a physical permit will be available. Permits will be valid for five years unless you hold retained frontier worker status, in which case, permits are granted for just two years.

Contact Us

If you need support or advice on any matters relating to the Frontier Worker Permit Scheme, get in touch with us today. Call on 0044 161 234 6800 or 0044 207 046 7185, or complete our contact form and we will get back to you shortly.

FAQs about Frontier Worker Permits

How long does it take to get a Frontier Worker Permit?

Frontier workers should receive their permits within 10 days of receiving the decision notice about your application. You should receive an email with information about your permit being sent to you.

How much does it cost to apply for a Frontier Worker Permit?

There are no application fees for a Frontier Worker Permit application, and individuals are not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Can I apply for settlement under a Frontier Worker Permit?

A Frontier Worker Permit does not not lead to settlement (indefinite leave to remain) as it acts as a right of admission for a person who is exempt from immigration control. However, permits can be extended indefinitely provided the applicant continues to fulfil the requirements of a frontier worker or cross-border worker.

Can family members apply as dependents under the Frontier Worker Permit?

Family members are not able to apply as dependents.

Can Frontier Worker Permit applications be refused?

Like most immigration applications, applications can be refused if the immigration status of that individual is lost (i.e. that person stops working and loses their frontier worker status), or for reasons of public policy, security or health. Appeals and administration reviews can be sought against refusals in certain circumstances.

What countries is the Frontier Worker Permit open to?

The Frontier Worker Permit Scheme is open to nationals of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 15/02/2023