What is a frontier worker permit?

A frontier worker permit allows European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals who live outside the UK to commute to the UK to work. Frontier workers had until 30 June 2021 to apply for a permit.

To be eligible for a frontier worker permit, the individual must not be primarily resident in the UK and they must:

  • have already begun working in the UK by the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020;
  • do eligible work; and
  • have worked in the UK at least once every 12 months since they began working in the UK.

To establish that they are not resident in the UK, they must have:

  • spent fewer than 180 days in total in the UK over the course of the previous 12 months; or
  • returned to their country of residence at least:
    • once every 6 months; or
    • twice in the 12-month period,
unless there are exceptional reasons for not returning.

The work that the frontier worker carries out in the UK must be "genuine and effective, and not marginal and ancillary to their situation as a whole in the UK". Government guidance gives attending a short meeting or signing a contract as examples of work that may be considered to be marginal and ancillary.

A frontier permit will last for five years (or two years if issued to someone who is temporarily not working, eg due to illness), and can be renewed as long as the applicant has continued to meet the eligibility requirements, including working in the UK at least once in every rolling 12-month period.