Frontier Worker Permit Scheme

EU Settlement Scheme

Following the end of free movement, the Frontier Worker Permit Scheme was opened on 10 December 2020. The scheme is intended for frontier workers who had begun working in the UK before 31 December 2020 but lived in another country and who still continue to do so.

Once granted, a Frontier Worker Permit is valid for 5 years and can be extended indefinitely so long as the applicant continues to meet the definition of ‘frontier worker’ as set out below. The permit does not lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

It is important to note that although there is no deadline to apply for a permit, frontier workers who wish to continue working in the UK should secure immigration permission under this scheme or another scheme by 31 June 2021.

Family members of a frontier worker can join them in the UK but should not apply under this scheme. They can apply for a family permit, settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme instead, depending on their eligibility.


Am I a frontier worker?

A frontier worker is someone who, before 31 December 2020 was, and continues to be:

  • An EEA or Swiss national
  • Not primarily resident in the UK
  • A worker, or self-employed, or treated as a worker or self-employed in the UK

To be a frontier worker, an individual must have been working in the UK at least once in the 12 months before 31 December 2020. Similarly, to maintain the frontier worker status, an individual must be working in the UK at least once in every 12-month period from the date the permit is granted.

Please note that those who have been unable to travel due to COVID travel restrictions, self-isolation, being ill, or having been instructed to work from home may still be eligible to apply for the permit.


How do I show that I am “not primarily resident in the UK”?

To be deemed not primarily resident in the UK, an individual must:

  • Have been in the UK for less than 180 days in the 12 months immediately before the date of application or the date on which the permit was granted; OR
  • Have returned to their country of residence at least once every 6 months or twice every 12 months before any given date.

Where the applicant is seeking to rely on the first point (less than 180 days), the Home Office is only concerned with time spent in the UK from 1 January 2020 onwards.

An individual will only have to show that they fulfil the requirements of the second point (returning to their country of residence) if they are unable to meet the first point.

Applicants will have to provide a non-UK address as their primary residence via a simple declaration of address and will also have to provide details of travel outside of the UK.


What do I need to show if I am a worker or self-employed?

For workers, it must be shown that there is an agreement with a UK based employer to be paid for tasks undertaken in the UK. For example, this could be an employment contract or letter from the employer.

For those who are self-employed, it is crucial to demonstrate that they have regular and permanent work. Evidence that could be provided are those such as invoices and contracts for future work.


What if I have had to stop working?

A frontier worker can keep their status and their permit only if they have had to stop working due to certain circumstances.

If an individual falls within one of the specified circumstances, retention of their frontier worker status depends on the reason for having to stop work and their status can be retained for a period time between 6 months to 2 years. Such individuals will have “retained worker status”.

To be eligible for retained worker status, individuals will have to provide evidence of their employment or self-employment before they had to stop working. Permits under this status will only be valid for 2 years.


How do I apply?

All applications are free and must be made online either inside or outside the UK.

Applicants will have to prove their identity through the UK Immigration: ID check app or attend a visa application centre.

We will continue to update this page with information. If you have any queries in relation to these matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.