Cross-border commuters

If you work in one EU country (In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) but live in another and return there daily, or at least once a week, you count as a cross-border commuter under EU law (sometimes called cross-border or frontier worker).

Make sure you check:

  • what impact working in one EU country and living in another will have on your social security:
    • healthcare
    • unemployment
    • family benefits
    • retirement
  • where you will have to pay taxes during your stay abroad

See also:

Your right to live in another EU country

Car registration for cross-border commuters

Which country's laws apply?

In everyday life, you are subject to the laws of both countries.

The laws where you work cover:

  • employment and income taxes
  • most social security rights

The laws where you live cover:

  • property taxes and most other taxes
  • residence formalities

Sample story

Make sure you don't lose out if you have worked in another country

Evelien from the Netherlands worked as a cross-border commuter in Germany for 10 years. In that time, she set up a German private pension and obtained a savings-pension bonus from the German authorities.

When she retired, the German authorities asked her to pay back all savings-pension bonuses she had been paid over the past 10 years. They said it was because she had stopped paying taxes in Germany. But as soon as Evelien stopped working in Germany, she had to pay taxes in her country of residence, the Netherlands.

Evelien took this matter to the German courts. They agreed that, as a cross-border commuter, she was entitled to the bonus, which counts as a supplementary benefit. Evelien did not have to pay back the bonus.

If you are refused a supplementary benefit granted to workers in the country where you work, contact a European employment adviser or our information and assistance services.

Sample story

Benefits you are entitled to in the country where you work

Rosita lives in Italy with her husband and 3 children but works in France. She applies for a discounted train pass for large families but had it refused because neither she nor her children live in France.

Rosita should insist and, if necessary, seek help from the various EU assistance services. All EU workers with large families (in many countries, 3 or more children) are entitled to cheaper train travel in the country where they work from the day they start work — if such reductions are available to nationals of that country.

Bank account for salary payments

Your employer might want you to open a bank account in your country of employment to pay your salary.

  • Inside the eurozone — Your account in your home country should be sufficient and your employer cannot force you — provided both your country of residence and country of employment are in the eurozone.

    All your employer needs to transfer your salary — without any additional costs — is the IBAN and BIC numbers for your bank account. Banks cannot charge more for international bank transfers in euro than for purely national transfers.

  • If you live or work in a country outside the eurozone, it might be legitimate for your employer to require you to have a local bank account if he/she can prove that it will cost him more to transfer your salary abroad.