If you’re an EU citizen who lives elsewhere but works in the UK you may be able to apply for a Frontier Worker Permit.
What is a Frontier Worker Permit?
A Frontier Worker permit lets EU nationals come to the UK to work here whilst living outside of the UK.
Who can apply for a Frontier Worker Permit?
You can apply for a Frontier Worker Permit if:
- ♠ you’re an EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein natioal; and
- ♠ you live outside of the UK; and
- ♠ you have worked in the UK by 31 December 2020; and
- ♠ you have continued to work in the UK at least once every 12 months since you started working here.
Do I have to be living outside the UK to qualify for a Frontier Worker Permit?
In order to qualify for a Frontier Worker Visa 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.
For instance, you’ll be eligible for the Frontier Worker Permit if you’ve spent less than 180 days in total in the UK over the course of any 12 month period.
Do I qualify for a Frontier Worker Visa if I have spent 180 days or more in the UK within 12 months?
You’ll still be eligible for a Frontier Worker Visa 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 due to which you were not able to travel to your country of residence in this period, such as an illness or accident.
What kind of work in the UK qualifies for a Frontier Worker Visa?
To qualify for a Frontier Worker Visa you must have:
- started working in the UK whilst 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 casual, one-off work activities, 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, book a consultation for legal advice.
Do I qualify for a Frontier Worker Visa if I have not worked in the UK during a 12 month period?
You might still be eligible to apply for a Frontier Worker Visa if there has been a 12 month period where you’ve not come to the UK to work.
However, 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 due to pregnancy or child 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.
Who does not need to apply for a Frontier Worker Visa?
You will not need to apply for a Frontier Worker Visa if you:
- ♠ are an Irish citizen
- ♠ are a dual British citizen
- ♠ have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK
- ♠ have indefinite leave to enter the UK – for instance, you have a Returning Resident visa
However, your family members from outside the UK and Ireland will need to apply for permission to enter and live in the UK.
Can I apply for a Frontier Worker Permit if I 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 Skilled Worker visa or another suitable visa.
The visa you’ll need depends on the type of work and how long you want to come for. Get advice on which kind of visa you’ll need.
What does a Frontier Worker Permit allow me to do?
You can use your Frontier Worker permit to come to the UK and show your right to:
- work in the UK
- rent a property in the UK
- access public services, including NHS healthcare, and benefits so long as you meet the relevant eligibility requirements
What is the fee for Frontier Worker Application?
There’s no fee to apply for the Frontier Worker 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).
When and how can I apply for a Frontier Worker Visa?
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 should consider getting legal advice and representation for your Frontier Worker Visa application.
Can I apply for Frontier Worker Permit for my family members?
Family members cannot apply for a Frontier Worker permit.
Your family member may however be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for settled or pre-settled status.
Get advice to protect your rights
A significant number of visa applications get refused simply because the applicants fail to understand and comply with the underlying legal requirements.
What are you waiting for? Book your consultation so our specialist UK Immigration lawyers can advise you on your eligibility and the way forward to protect your right to reside and work in the UK.