Discover the Estonia work permit processing time in this comprehensive guide. Learn about the steps and factors influencing the duration.

Frontier Worker Permits

In December 2020, EU citizens had to endure a big change with the Free Movement coming to an end because the break-off of the UK occurred. Following this change, EU citizens who work in one country and live in another country were granted the Frontier Worker Permit which now are employed as an alternative to visas for the EU countries.

What Exactly is the Frontier Worker Permit?

The Frontier Worker Permit is a specialized visa, which was sponsored by the Tiring of Free Movement in December 2020 (as of the day of writing). Within the framework of the connector, the welfare of these workers is also under consideration. Such people are hereby referred to as Frontier Workers. They introduced and successfully adopted the disciplines of Frontier Working as all travel barriers within the EU were being removed.

Yet, after Brexit and the end of the Brexit transition period, restrictions on the free movement of EU citizens meant that UK citizens could no longer move freely to undertake short-term activities such as posting workers to another EU country or seeking higher education in an EU country. To protect the Frontliners who have been working in the UK before December 31, 2020 already, we have set up the Frontier Worker ‐ Permit. This complies with their rights of free movement.

Eligibility for Frontier Worker Status

To qualify for Frontier Worker status and apply for the Frontier Worker Permit Scheme, you must meet certain criteria:


Then, restrictions are placed only on nationals from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. They will be able to apply for the Frontier Worker Permit.


You must be primarily resident outside the UK. This means you should have spent less than a total of 180 days in the UK over any 12 months.

Work History: 

Your work history should meet the following requirements:

  • You started working in the UK while living in another country by December 31, 2020.
  • The type of work you do must be eligible for the permit.
  • You must have worked in the UK at least once every 12 months since you started working there.

Types of Eligible Work

For Frontier Workers eligibility, the contestable jobs include both employed and self-employed related work. Accordingly, the said rule may be subject to scrutiny going forward, as it can be interpreted that the tasks performed by the employees should be “genuine, and not just light tasks.” Labor of the kind which encompasses attending interviews, signing contracts, and involvement in specific competitions are not classified under the category of registerable engagements.

Unemployment and Retaining Frontier Worker Status

Even if you’ve been unemployed in the UK for 12 months, you may still be eligible for a Frontier Worker Permit if you’ve retained Frontier Worker status. Reasons for unemployment that allow you to retain this status include:

  • Temporary inability to work due to illness or accident.
  • Temporary inability to work due to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Inability to work in the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Voluntary unemployment for vocational training related to your last job.
  • Involuntary unemployment while actively seeking work in the UK or participating in vocational training.

For those involuntarily unemployed and actively seeking work, the duration of retaining frontier worker status varies depending on your work history in the UK.

Applying for the Frontier Worker Permit

To obtain a Frontier Worker Permit, you must apply online through the official form available on the website. You will need:

  • A valid passport or national identity card.
  • Supporting documents, such as your employment contract, payslips, or copies of invoices for work carried out in the UK (requirements vary based on your circumstances).
  • Proof of identity can be done using the UK Immigration: ID Check app or, if necessary, through an in-person appointment.

Applicants with retained status as frontier workers must also provide evidence that they qualify for retained status, which may include medical documentation or copies of job applications.

Upon approval, successful applicants will receive either a digital or physical permit, depending on their application method.

Do You Need a Frontier Worker Permit to Work in the UK?

Although the Frontier Worker Permit targets EU citizens working in the UK, you should explore other immigration options that might better suit your situation. If you already have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you do not need a Frontier Worker Permit to work in the UK.

For those without settled status, various UK visas may be more suitable, including the Skilled Worker Visa, Temporary Worker Visa, and other occupation-based visas. These visas offer different benefits, including pathways to Indefinite Leave to Remain, making them ideal for those seeking permanent residence in the UK.

The Versatility of Frontier Worker Permit Holders

Holders of the Frontier Worker Permit enjoy the flexibility to work in the UK as either employed or self-employed individuals, as long as their work qualifies as “genuine and effective.”In addition to working, Frontier Workers have certain rights and privileges:

  • Property Rental: Frontier Workers can rent property in the UK.
  • Access to Benefits: Eligible Frontier Workers can access benefits in the UK, subject to specific eligibility requirements.
  • Healthcare Access: Frontier Workers can avail themselves of NHS healthcare services and are exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge.

Bringing Family Members Along

Frontier Worker Permit holders can also bring their family members to the UK. However, it’s important to note that family members are not automatically included in the permit. Each family member must apply individually for an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.

In conclusion, the Frontier Worker Permit is a valuable option for EU, Swiss, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Liechtenstein nationals seeking to work in the UK while maintaining their primary residence outside the country. Understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and alternative immigration routes is essential to making an informed decision about your work status in the UK.

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