Frontier worker permit - | Hudson McKenzie

Frontier worker permit

In light of Brexit, the UK has introduced a new type of visa for EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein nationals who previously benefited from the free movement of persons. 

The free movement of persons allowed EU, EEA and Swiss nationals to move freely between the respective member states. Nationals could live, work, study and travel without restrictions in any other member state under the regulations. Now that the UK has left the EU, these rights are no longer applicable and other measures are in place since the Brexit transition period ended on 31st December 2020. 

What is a frontier worker?

Frontier workers are cross-border workers who are from the EU,Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, but work in the UK. Their primary place of residence is in another country outside of the UK. 

In order to apply for this permit, frontier workers must have worked in the UK before 31st December 2020 and continued to work in the UK at least once every 12 months since they arrived. 

Who is eligible for the frontier worker permit?

  • Those who are from the EU,Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • Those who predominantly live outside of the UK
  • Those who have spent less than 180 days in the UK in any 12-month period
  • You will also be eligible if you returned to your home country once every 6 months or twice in 12 months
  • You should have started working in the UK as employed or self-employer prior to 31st December 2020
  • Your work should be “genuine and effective” meaning it should be more than just one-off tasks

If there has been a 12-month period where you have not worked in the UK, but you have done so prior to 31st December 2020, you may still be eligible to apply. 

What is “genuine” employment?

In order to satisfy this requirement in the eligibility criteria, you should have an employer, and an agreement must be made between yourself and your employer confirming that you will perform certain tasks that you will be paid for. 

There are no minimum hours that should be worked, however you will have to demonstrate that your work is both genuine and effective. In saying this, when deciding your application, the Home Office will take account of the amount of hours worked in the UK along with how much you earn and whether you have a formal contract/agreement with an employer.

What is “effective” employment?

The work that you do in the UK should not be so minimal in terms of time and money that it has irrelevance to your life. Examples of minimal and ineffective work would include: one-off competitions, negotiations made in the UK where work is carried out elsewhere, short meetings.

Please contact one of our professionals at Hudson McKenzie for further advice, as you may still be able to apply depending on your situation.

How do you apply for the frontier worker permit?

In order to be eligible for the permit you will need to show proof of work and proof of identity. You are able to apply using the UK Immigration:ID check app or the online form.

The permit is free of charge, however you will need to pay to submit your biometric information. Your permit will last for 5 years if you are employed or 2 years if you are self -employed.

The frontier worker permit allows you to work and rent in the UK along with receiving benefits such as NHS access. 

The information provided does not amount to legal advice, if you require legal advice on this matter please contact one of our professionals at Hudson McKenzie. 

Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your corporate, employment or immigration matter, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.