1. Cross-Border Trade Hub
  2. Employment, people and cross-border workers

Article: Frontier Worker permits

The Frontier Worker permit is for EU or EEA citizens who travel to the UK for employment but who live outside the UK. Here we provide more information about the criteria and how to apply.

What is the Frontier Worker permit?

The Frontier Worker permit is for EU or EEA (including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein) citizens who travel to the UK for employment but who live outside the UK.

Irish nationals are exempt from the need to apply for a Frontier Worker permit due to protection under the Common Travel Area. 

Who can apply for the Frontier Worker permit?

Frontier Worker permit applicants must:

  • Be from the EU or the EEA (including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein).
  • Live outside of the UK.
  • Have started working in the UK before 31st December 2020.

If you were not working in the UK by the end of 2020, you will need to apply for a visa rather than a Frontier Worker permit.

How do I apply for a Frontier Worker permit?

Applications are free of charge. You must apply online on the GOV.UK Frontier Worker application page.

Applicants need a valid passport or national identity card when applying for the Frontier Worker permit. You’ll be told which documents you need to provide when you apply. Some depend on whether you’re employed or self-employed, for example:

  • An employment contract, or contracts to work in the UK.
  • Payslips, or copies of invoices for work carried out in the UK.

If your application is unsuccessful, you’ll get a decision notice explaining why your application was refused.

How long will the permit last?

You will need to renew your Frontier Worker permit every five years, or every two years if you applied with a retained worker status. When you renew your permit, you’ll need to show that you continued to meet the eligibility and suitability requirements over the period of time since you last applied. Visit GOV.UK to renew your permit.

Does a frontier worker need to pay tax where they live and/or where they work?

As a frontier worker you must pay income tax in the country where you earn your income, but your ultimate tax responsibility is with the country where you live so you must submit an annual self-assessment each year. Visit the Border People website for more information for frontier workers living and working in Ireland/Northern Ireland.


icons8-speech-bubble-66  Do you need further assistance?

InterTradeIreland support can be accessed by engaging with our chat function. You may also be eligible for fully funded consultancy advice, subject to criteria.

Simply click the icon at the bottom right to get started.


Article reviewed: May 2023