Frontier Worker Permit

If you are a cross border worker or work in the UK but are primarily resident in another country, you might be eligible for the Frontier Worker Permit.

Our specialist Newcastle immigration solicitors can help with your application. For expert support and professional legal advice, call us on 0191 303 8965 or contact us online.

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What is a Frontier Worker Permit?

A Frontier Worker Permit is a visa that caters to EU citizens who work in the United Kingdom but are primarily resident in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or the European Union. Irish citizens do not need to apply for a Frontier Worker Permit but can do so if they wish.

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, EU citizens no longer have the right to move freely between the UK and other EU member states. The Frontier Worker Permit is part of the protection offered in the EU-UK withdrawal agreement to protect the free movement rights of frontier workers who are working in the UK and have been working in the UK prior to 31st December 2020.

With this UK visa, frontier workers can work in the UK without violating any immigration act as long as their permit is valid. In addition, they can rent property and access benefits if they meet the eligibility requirements.

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Who is eligible for a Frontier Worker Permit?

Existing frontier workers that started working in the UK on or before 31st December 2020 are eligible for the frontier worker permit scheme if they are a national of a country in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein. If you started frontier working in the UK after 1st January 2021, you aren’t eligible and will need any other UK work or business visa routes.

In addition, you must not be primarily resident in the UK and have worked in the UK at least once over every 12 months doing eligible work. While living outside the UK, you must have spent less than 180 days in total in the UK over any 12 month period.

If you have spent over 180 days in the UK within 12 months, you will still be eligible to apply for a frontier work permit if you returned to your home country at least once every six months or twice in any 12 month period.

What is eligible work?

Eligible work is any work that is more than a small or one-off task. According to the UK Government, your work in the UK must be ‘genuine and effective’ with a UK-based employer or under the umbrella of self employment. That excludes an interview, taking part in an audition or one-off competition, and signing a deal or contract.

The Home Office has strict immigration rules in the Citizens’ Rights (Frontier Workers) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 for what constitutes eligible work.

If your work doesn’t fall under eligible work, it’s advisable that you discuss with immigration experts to ensure you can meet the eligibility requirements of the Frontier Worker Permit and if not, take any other appropriate UK visa routes. If you’re not sure of your eligibility, contact Newcastle Immigration Lawyers for expert advice and guidance.

Am I eligible for the Frontier Worker Status if I am unemployed or self-employed?

Self employed persons are eligible for the permit if they meet other eligibility requirements.

If you’re unemployed, remote working, or unable to work during a 12 month period, you may be eligible to retain your frontier worker status as a retained worker or retained self employed person, depending on your circumstances.

The circumstances allowed by the Home Office for retained Frontier Worker status include that you were:

  • Temporarily unable to work because you were ill or had an accident
  • Temporarily unable to work because you had given birth or were pregnant
  • Unable to come to the UK for work due to COVID-19
  • Unemployed voluntarily because you were doing vocational training related to your previous employment
  • Unemployed involuntarily and are doing vocational training or looking for work in the UK

For people who are involuntarily unemployed but looking for work, eligibility differs depending on how long they worked before becoming involuntarily unemployed. If they worked in the UK for less than a year before becoming involuntarily unemployed and are looking for work, they can only retain their frontier worker status for six months.

However, if they worked in the UK for more than a year, they can keep a retained status for as long as they continue looking for work but must be a registered job seeker with an employment office and show evidence that they are looking for work in the UK.

Required documents for frontier workers

For a frontier worker permit application, you will need to provide a valid passport or national identity card and supporting documents.

The documents you provide will depend on your employment status and circumstance. If you’re employed, the necessary documents may include the employment contract or contracts covering your work in the UK with your UK employer. For self employment, the necessary documents may include copies of invoices for your work in the UK.

If you are applying with retained frontier worker status, you must provide evidence of that. What constitutes evidence will depend on your circumstance; it may include doctor letters if you claim retained frontier worker status because of an illness and recent job applications if you’re unemployed and actively looking for a job.

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How do I get a Frontier Worker permit?

To become a registered frontier worker, you must apply online by starting an application process for a valid frontier worker permit on the UK Government gov.uk website. If you are applying from outside the UK, you must fill this form, while those applying from within the UK will need to fill this form.

When making your Permit application, you will provide the required documents and proof of identity. How to prove your identity depends on the identity document you use to apply for the permit and whether you can use the UK Immigration: ID check app.

You will need a smart phone with the right specifications to install the app and create an account to scan your identity document and face to verify that your document is genuine and belongs to you. If you have a UK Visas and Immigration account, you can sign in with that instead.

If you cannot use the app or do not have a smartphone that supports the app, you will need a physical appointment to prove your identity. If you are applying from inside the UK, you will have your photograph taken at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point. If you are applying from outside the UK, you can make an appointment at a visa application centre to have your photograph and fingerprints taken.

You can change or cancel your application after it has been sent. To change something in your frontier worker permit scheme application, you will need to contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). For cancellation, the cancellation process is the same as cancelling the application for any other UK visa but will depend on how you applied.

What happens after a successful frontier worker application?

If your frontier worker application is successful, you will receive a decision notice that says your application is approved. If you used the UK Immigration: ID check app to apply, you would be issued a digital permit. You will receive a physical permit if you applied from within the UK at a service point. Applicants that made an application from visa application centres outside the UK will receive an email informing them of where and how to collect the permit in the UK.

The validity period is 5 years, or 2 years if an application was made with retained status.

You can extend the permit as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.

How to appeal a refused frontier worker permit

If your frontier workers application was refused, you will receive a notice from the Home Office explaining why it was refused and your options which may be an administrative review or immigration decision appeal. From the date you receive the notice, you have 28 days to appeal the decision.

If your application is refused, it is strongly advised that you seek legal advice from an immigration solicitor for the best way forward and support with your appeal. This will save you time and money and ensure you have the best-presented case.

Newcastle Immigration Lawyers understands how tasking it can be to appeal a permit decision. If you need advice or assistance with your immigration case, contact us today at 0191 303 8965.

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How can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers help me?

Newcastle Immigration Lawyers can help you with your frontier worker permit scheme application. Our expert immigration solicitors are knowledgeable in UK immigration law and can help you get a valid frontier worker permit and navigate the immigration system.

The services we provide include to:

  • Advise on making an application, including the procedure and requirements
  • Check your eligibility to let you know whether you are likely to be granted a frontier permit and advise on better immigration routes if you are not eligible
  • Liaise with the Home Office on your behalf during and after the application process
  • Represent and support you in frontier worker matters
  • Advise in the case of a refusal and provide legal assistance if you will benefit from an appeal

For more information about our services or professional immigration assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our immigration team today on 0191 303 8965.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Cross border workers are people who work in one country but are primarily resident in another. It is another word for frontier workers. A frontier worker can be an employed worker or a self employed person.

The end of the Brexit transition period and free movement between the rest of Europe and the UK has caused some complications for cross border workers. Post-Brexit transition period and free movement, cross border workers must get a permit to enable them to continue frontier working in the UK without violating immigration rules.

British and Irish citizens who have their primary residence outside the UK do not need to apply for the frontier worker permit scheme. If you have acquired settled or pre settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you don’t need to apply for the frontier permit.

Frontier workers with a permit can do anything covered in the frontier workers rights without disrupting their working pattern.

They can rent a property and work in the UK doing “genuine and effective” work as an employed or self employed person. In addition, they can access benefits if they are eligible for such benefits, including NHS healthcare, without having to pay the immigration health surcharge.

If you are an EU citizen doing cross border work or self employment in the UK, reach out to us on 0191 303 8965 for help with your application.

A Frontier Worker Permit does not lead to settled status or indefinite leave to remain.  if you want to settle in the UK, you need to consider other immigration routes that can provide you with that opportunity.

Many of the UK work visas can be used to work towards indefinite Leave to remain. If you do not have a form of settled status, you may consider any of the UK work visas within the new points based immigration system, including the Skilled Worker route.

No. Although your family members can join you in the UK, they will need to apply individually for an EU settlement Scheme family permit. Family members are not included in frontier workers rights.

For assistance with bringing your family members to the UK, contact Newcastle Immigration Lawyers on 0191 303 8965, email info@newcastle-immigrationlawyer.co.uk or use our live chat.