You need to obtain a Frontier Worker permit if you want to work in the UK but live in another country.

You may be eligible if all of the following apply:

  • you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein;
  • you live outside of the UK;
  • you began working in the UK by 31 December 2020.

You must usually have worked in the UK at least once every 12 months since you started working here. You may still be able to apply if you’ve had periods of unemployment or were unable to work during this time.

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.  You’ll be eligible if you’ve spent less than 180 days in total in the UK over the course of any 12-month period.

If you’ve spent 180 days or more in the UK within 12 months

You’ll still be eligible 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 meaning you could not travel to your country of residence in this period, such as an illness or accident.

You must:

  • have started working in the UK while living elsewhere by 31 December 2020, either as an employed or self-employed person;
  • do eligible work;
  • usually have worked in the UK (as an employed or self-employed person) at least once every 12 months since you started working here.

Eligible work

You’ll be eligible as long as your work in the UK is ‘genuine and effective’. This means it must be more than small, one-off tasks, such as:

  • an interview;
  • taking part in a one-off competition or audition;
  • signing a contract.

If you’ve been unable to work or unemployed in the UK during a 12-month period

You might still be eligible if you’ve been unemployed or not worked during this time because you were:

  • temporarily unable to work because of an illness or accident;
  • temporarily unable to work because you were pregnant or had given birth;
  • unable to come to the UK and work because of coronavirus (COVID-19);
  • voluntarily unemployed and doing vocational training related to your last occupation’
  • involuntarily unemployed, and either looking for work in the UK or doing vocational training.

This is known as having ‘retained worker’ or ‘retained self-employed person’ status.

If you became involuntarily unemployed and are looking for work, you’ll keep your status for:

  • 6 months if you worked in the UK for less than a year before becoming unemployed;
  • as long as you continue to look for work, if you worked in the UK for a year or more before becoming unemployed.

You’ll need to be registered as a jobseeker with an employment office (such as Jobcentre Plus) and provide evidence that you’re looking for work in the UK.

For further information please call 0207 654 3797 or email