British National Overseas Visa
The Hong Kong BN(O) visa provides eligible applicants with the ability to enter or remain in the UK for up to 5 years. Applicants and their family members will be able to live, work and study in the UK but will not have access to public funds. After these 5 years, successful applicants will have the choice to apply for indefinite leave to remain and, after a further 12 months, you will be able to apply for citizenship. BN(O) status holders do not need a valid BN(O) passport to access the Hong Kong BN(O) visa
BN(O) status is a form of British nationality created for people from Hong Kong so they could retain a form of British nationality after the handover in 1997. Registration for BN(O) status was a time-limited offer for those that wished to maintain connections with the UK following handover.
Who can apply BNO Visa
Anyone who is a BN(O) status holder and normally resides in Hong Kong can apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) visa. Applicants do not need a valid BN(O) passport to demonstrate eligibility and you don’t need to request a new passport if it has expired or been lost.
You will need a valid travel document and you can use a valid Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport or EEA passport to travel if you have one. Family members who normally live with a BN(O) status holder may also be able to apply. This includes:
- a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
- children (under the age of 18)
- adult children born on or after 1 July 1997 (and their spouse, or child under the age of 18)
- other family members (parents, grandparents, brother, sister, son or daughter) in exceptional circumstances where there is a high level of dependency
Children under 18 must intend to live with their parents during their stay in the UK, unless there is a good reason why they cannot.
Applying and travelling as a family
The Hong Kong BN(O) visa is designed to enable a BN(O) status holder and their dependants to come to the UK as a family unit.
If you’re applying as a family unit you must apply together. The main applicant who is a BN(O) should apply first and get their unique reference number. Any family members applying will need to quote this unique reference number in their applications.
Family members applying with a BN(O) status holder who do not hold a BN(O), HKSAR or EEA biometric passport will need to make an appointment to attend a VAC or UKVCAS location to give their fingerprint biometrics.
If your family members do not apply with you, they will not be able to apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) visa to join you later. Children under 18 should apply with both of their parents, although there are some exceptions.
If you or your family members travel to the UK at different times, you may not all qualify to settle in the UK at the same time and may have to make further applications for permission to stay in the UK to meet the 5 years required.
Applying from within the UK
There have been some BN(O) status holders who have wished to travel sooner. In these exceptional circumstances, UK Border Force officers have been able to consider granting leave outside the rules (LOTR) for a period of 6 months to BN(O) status holders and their accompanying dependants at the UK border.
If you are a BN(O), or a family member of a BN(O), and are already in the UK, you do not need to apply straightaway unless your existing leave is shortly expiring.
This also applies to applicants with leave in another category which is due to expire, for example skilled workers (Tier 2), students (Tier 4) or visitors: they can also switch to this route if they wish to remain in the UK.
What you can and cannot do with this visa
- work (except as a professional sportsperson)
- study (including applying for higher education courses)
- use the NHS
- claim public funds (social welfare benefits)
Your children will be able to:
- attend school if they are under 18 (all state schools are free)
- attend education and training if they are aged 16 to 19
Additional eligibility requirements
If you’re applying from outside the UK, you and your family members must normally live in Hong Kong. If you’re already in the UK, you must normally live in the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man or Hong Kong.
As part of your application, BN(O) status holders will need to be able to show that they can support themselves and their dependents for at least 6 months when in the UK.
You can show this through:
- money in your bank account
- income you get from a current job in the UK (including self-employment)
- any other income you get (for example from renting out a property)
- offers of support or accommodation from friends or family
You’ll need to provide evidence such as:
- bank statements
- letters from friends or family with evidence they have the money to support you and your family members
These documents must be in English, or in their original language with a certified English translation. You won’t need to meet this requirement if you’ve been living in the UK for more than a year when you apply further information, please see the guidance on the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Speak to Our BNO Visa Specialist Advisers
Our expert advice, assistance and particular expertise with applications for BNO Visa to enter the UK, contact our immigration advisers in London on 0203 909 8399 or contact us online.
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