Will you need to apply for a Frontier Worker permit?
A Frontier Worker permit allows you to continue entering the UK for work while living elsewhere.
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 have worked in the UK by 31 December 2020
- you have kept working in the UK at least once every 12 months since you started working here
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).
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If you do not meet the above criteria and what to know what other options are available to you, please feel free to reach out to our team at email@example.com or you can request a callback at a time that is convenient to you.
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. Check which type of visa you’ll need.
You do not need a visa if you’re a British or Irish citizen.
What the permit allows you to do
You can use your permit to enter the UK as a frontier worker and show your right to:
- access benefits and services, including NHS healthcare, if you meet the relevant eligibility requirements
There is 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).
If you’re a frontier worker, you’ll need a permit to enter the UK to work from 1 July 2021. You can use your passport or national identity card until then.
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.
If you need an appointment
Allow extra time to arrange your appointment and travel to the centre - there may not be one near you. You may need to pay for your appointment.
The centre may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application.
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
- have worked in the UK by 31 December 2020
- have kept working in the UK at least once every 12 months since you started working here
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 on or before 31 December 2020, either as an employed or self-employed person
- come to the UK to work at least once every 12 months since then
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 not worked in the UK during a 12 month period
If there has been a 12 month period where you’ve not come to the UK to work, you might still be eligible.
You must have worked in the UK, while living elsewhere, by 31 December 2020. During the 12 month period you were not working, you must have been:
- temporarily unable to work because of an illness or accident
- temporarily unable to work because you were pregnant or had given birth
- involuntarily unemployed, and either looking for work or doing vocational training
- voluntarily unemployed and doing vocational training related to your last occupation
- unable to come to the UK and work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
This is known as having ‘retained worker’ or ‘retained self-employed person’ status.
Apply online now
Once you’ve started your application, you can save your form and complete it later.
Documents you’ll need to apply
When you apply you’ll need a valid passport or national identity card.
You’ll be told which documents you need to provide when you apply. Some depend on whether you’re employed or self-employed, for example:
- an employment contract, or contracts to work in the UK
- payslips, or copies of invoices for work carried out in the UK
If you have ‘retained’ status, you’ll be asked for evidence for which criteria you meet. For example, a letter from a doctor if you have an illness, or copies of recent job applications if you’re unemployed and seeking work.
The Home Office has more examples of the types of evidence you will be asked for.
How you’ll prove your identity
As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity. How you do this depends on what identity document you use and whether you can use the UK Immigration: ID check app.
- use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document (you’ll also create or sign into your UK Visas and Immigration account)
- have your photograph and fingerprints taken at a visa application centre (if you’re applying from outside the UK and cannot use the smartphone app)
- have your photograph taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point (if you’re applying from inside the UK and cannot use the smartphone app)
You’ll be told what you need to do when you apply.
Apply from outside the UK
Apply online for your Frontier Worker permit.
Apply from inside the UK
You can apply online now for your Frontier Worker permit if you can use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app. Check if you can use the app.
If you cannot use the app, you’ll be able to apply online from 22 January 2021.
If you were a frontier worker on or before 31 December 2020, you can use your passport or national identity card to travel to the UK and work until 30 June 2021.