Frontier Worker Permits

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Frontier Worker Permits

Frontier workers are defined as those who work in one country but live primarily in another one. The UK frontier worker permit was introduced to help workers continue to work in the UK while living in a different country following the UK’s exit from the EU and the end of the transition period. It is available to those who were working in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 and who are from EU countries or from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

At IBB Law, our immigration experts can assist you in obtaining a Frontier Worker permit. The process is not always straightforward, and errors can mean that you lose the opportunity to work in the UK. We work across a full range of immigration issues and can help you with your application as well as advising you of your options if you have received a refusal or rejection.

We represent clients from across the globe, ensuring they have the documentation they need to live and work where they want. We can advise you on your eligibility and guide you through the application process to ensure you have the best possible chance of success.

We can also advise you as to whether a Frontier Worker permit is the right choice for your circumstances or whether a different option might be more appropriate. We deal with all types of UK work visas and will be happy to speak to you to ensure you are applying for the correct permit.

Complete support for UK Frontier Worker permit applications

We help individuals from around the world secure permits and visas enabling them to work in the UK. Our immigration services include:

  • Assessing your eligibility for a UK Frontier Worker permit
  • Preparing an application for a Frontier Worker permit on your behalf
  • Putting together the correct supporting documents to accompany your application
  • Advice and representation in the event that you have had your Frontier Worker permit application rejected or refused
  • Preparing an application to renew a UK Frontier Worker permit
  • Advice in respect of retaining your status as a UK Frontier Worker

Our team also advises businesses that employ overseas workers, ensuring they have the necessary permits in place to take on the employees they need.

For more information regarding our services, see UK business immigration lawyers.

Why choose IBB Law for help with applying for a Frontier Worker permit?

At IBB Law, our expert immigration team can offer you:

  • In-depth knowledge of UK Immigration laws, policies, and procedures.
  • Hands- on support from experts who keep up-to-date with developments in the law so that you always receive practical and accurate advice.
  • A cost-effective and timely service with great attention to detail.
  • Independently accredited immigration expertise with our team being ranked by leading client guide the Legal 500 for Immigration Law.

Looking for immediate help with a UK Frontier Worker permit application?

If you need advice and guidance in respect of an application for a UK Frontier Worker permit, our business immigration experts will be happy to assist.

To talk through your situation with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email

How to apply for a Frontier Worker permit for the UK

Our guide below sets out information in respect of the following:

Making a Frontier Worker permit application

To make a Frontier Worker permit application, you will need to have been working in the UK by 31 December 2020, while living in another country. The permit is only available to workers from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein.

You will generally need to have worked in the UK at some point during each year, although if you have been unable to work for a genuine reason, such as illness or unemployment, you can still apply.

Your application will need to be made online and you will have the option of making your application from within the UK or from outside of the UK. You may need to make an appointment at a visa application centre to provide identity information. You will need to take your passport, which may be retained while your identity is processed.

It is important to ensure your application is right first time wherever possible. Our team of experienced immigration solicitors can work with you to ensure that your application is sound and that the right documents are included.

Frontier Worker permit application refusals and rejections

If you make an error in your application or UK Visas and Immigration believe that you are not entitled to the permit, it may be rejected or refused. You will be given notification of the reason for the rejection or refusal.

You may be able to apply again if you made a mistake on your original application. If you believe that an error has been made in the processing of your application, you may be able to request an administrative review in respect of the decision. The notice you receive from UK Visas and Immigration will advise you if you have the right to an administrative review or an immigration decision appeal.

It is recommended that you seek legal advice, to ensure that your application covers the correct points.

Renewing a Frontier Worker permit

If you wish to renew your Frontier Worker permit, you will need to show that you still meet the eligibility requirements and that you have done this continuously during the time you have held the permit.

If you have had to stop work temporarily, for example, because you are unwell, you have been made unemployed or you have had a child, you may have ‘retained status’ which means you are still able to apply to renew the permit.

Having retained worker or retained self-employed person status means you keep your status as a permit holder as long as you are seeking work, provided you worked in the UK for a year or more before you were made unemployed. Where you worked in the UK for less than a year before being made unemployed you can retain your status for six months.

You will need to demonstrate that you are seeking work by registering as a jobseeker with a jobcentre. Any evidence you have that you are looking for work should also be included with your renewal application.

Alternatives to a Frontier Worker permit

Where a Frontier Work permit is not suitable, for example, if you were not working in the UK by 31 December 2020, or you wish to have a different type of consent to be in the UK, an alternative visa may be appropriate. Examples of other visas which might be relevant are as follows:

Global Talent visa – for talented and promising individuals who wish to work in the UK, to include being self-employed or running a business.

Skilled Worker visa – for those who have been offered an eligible job by a licensed employer.

Intra-company Transfer visa – where you work for an overseas business but will be based at their UK branch.

Sole Representative visa – for a senior employee of an overseas operation who wishes to come to the UK to set up a new branch of the enterprise.

Frontier Worker permit fees

There is no application fee for a Frontier Worker permit, nor will you be required to pay an immigration health surcharge. You may need to provide biometric identity information, for which there is a charge.

What rights does a Frontier Worker permit give you?

If you are granted a Frontier Worker permit, you will have the right to come to the UK to work, as specified by the permit, and also be able to rent a home. You may also be entitled to some benefits and services, to include NHS health treatment.

You will usually have to pay UK tax on your UK income and you may also need to pay social security contributions. This could be in the UK or in the country in which you live.

You can change jobs or start working on a self-employed basis without the need to notify the authorities. However, if you stop working in the UK and you do not qualify to have retained status as a frontier work, you should notify UK Visas and Immigration of this.

The permit does not give you the right to bring family members to the UK with you, although they may be able to make a late application for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Frontier Worker permit requirements

To be able to apply for a Frontier Worker permit you must be from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. You should also be living outside of the UK, but be eligible to work in the UK.

To be eligible, you should not have spent 180 days or more in the UK over the course of any twelve-month period. If you have spent more than 180 days in the UK, you will still be eligible provided that you returned to the country you live in either one every six months or twice in twelve months.

If you were unable to return to the country you live in, for example, because of illness, then you can still apply for a permit.

You will need to be able to show that you started working in the UK, while living elsewhere, by 31 December 2020. This can be either as an employed or self-employed person and you must have worked in the UK at least once every twelve months.

The work you have been doing must be eligible. This means it should be ‘genuine and effective’ and not single one-off tasks.

Supporting documents for a Frontier Worker permit application

You will need a valid passport or identity card from your country of origin. You will also need to provide evidence of your employment status. If you are employed, you will usually need to show your employment contract and payslips. If you are self-employed, then UK Visas and Immigration will need to see evidence of the work you have done in the UK such as invoices for work carried out.

Where you have retained status as a frontier worker, for example, through illness or unemployment, you will need to provide relevant evidence. This could be medical records or reports if you have been unwell or evidence that you have been applying for jobs and attending a jobcentre if you are unemployed and looking for work.

You will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration as to your identity. This can be done by attending a visa application centre if you are outside the UK or by using the UK Immigration: ID Check app, which scans your passport or other identity document.

If you are applying from within the UK and cannot use the app, you can attend a UK Visa and Citizenship Application service point.

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

The time taken for UK Visas and immigration to process a Frontier Worker permit application varies, but if the permit is granted, then you should receive it within ten days of receiving the decision notice.

Once you receive your permit, you should check it carefully to ensure that it does not have any errors on it, to include the correct spelling of your name and your correct date of birth. Errors should be reported straightaway. This can be done by phone, either by you or by your legal representative.

Get immediate expert advice on applying for a Frontier Worker permit

If you need expert advice and support with a UK Frontier Worker permit application, our highly experienced business immigration team will be happy to assist.

To discuss your situation with our industry-leading business immigration solicitors, you can call us on 03456 381381 or email