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The British National Overseas (BNO) Visa route open to Hong Kong citizens and close family members with British National (Overseas) status. This new immigration route opened on 31 January 2021.


Length of stay for BNO Visa allows up to five years. Following this five year period, you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and finally British Citizenship. 




The BNO visa came about from the new national security law for Hong Kong which is considered by the UK as violating agreements made between UK and China during Honk Kong handover in 1997.


This route recognises the UK’s historic and moral commitment to BNO citizens in Hong Kong, providing them the opportunity to reside in the UK if they wish to.


Who has British National (Overseas) (BNO) status?


A British Overseas Territories Citizen by connection with Hong Kong was able to register as a British national (overseas) before 1 July 1997. Those not registered as BNO but had no other nationality or citizenship on 30 June 1997 would also have become British Overseas Citizens on 1 July 1997. BNOs can use a type of British passport and seek consular assistance and protection from most UK diplomatic posts – apart from in China, Hong Kong or Macao. However, BNO’s do not maintain the right to live in the UK and are subject to UK visa requirements.

What you can do:


You can do the following:


  • Work with exception of roles as professional sportsman or coach.
  • Study
  • Access NHS.
  • Send children under 18 to school and children between 16-19 to education and training.


What you can do:


  • Claim public funds


Length of stay:


The BNO allows length of stay in UK for a period of 30 months. This can be extended by a further 30 months or a period of 5 years. The BNO may lead to indefinite leave to remain, and one year later you can be eligible to apply for British citizenship.


Financial requirement:


You must prove your ability to financially support yourself and your family for a minimum of 6 months in the UK. This includes:


  • Yours and your family members income and savings.
  • Money that will be earned in your current job in the UK.
  • Money that will be earned if transferring to a job in the UK with your current employer.
  • Help from family or friends.


It may not be necessary to prove your financial stability if you have lived in the UK for 12 months.

You must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge when applying for the visa.


How to apply:


Online applications may be made from both inside and outside of the UK  (depending on individual circumstances). The main applicant will receive a unique reference number upon application which the remainder family members can you to apply together.


We at White Horse Solicitors and Notary Public can help with your application and ensure that the process goes smoothly.


How long is this Visa valid for:


The two options you can apply for are:


  1. 2 years and 6 months (30 months)
  2. 5 years


Can I extend my Visa?


You may extend your visa as many times as necessary to meet your desired length of stay. After five years, you may apply for ILR if you meet all the criteria.


Contact White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public for expert advice by experienced professionals on all areas of Immigration law. The many conditions and immigration requirements that must be met are handled by White Horse Solicitors and Notary Public with excellent professionalism, reliable conduct and integrity. We will ensure that our advice focuses on your personal circumstances and will always aim to achieve brilliant results for our clients.


White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public is well placed and highly qualified in providing professional advice and assistance on making an application for British National Overseas (BNO) Visa. We recommend getting in contact with us on 020 7118 1778 for our specialist and professional advice on such an application before any action is taken.

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. White Horse Solicitors & Notary Public makes every effort to keep this information current, however prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on


  • Be 18 and a British National (Overseas)
  • Obtain a permanent home in Hong Kong, (if applying from outside the UK)
  • Have a permanent home in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Hong Kong (if applying in the UK).

Close family members of BN(O) status holders are eligible as your ‘dependant’ if they live with you. Application can be made for `the same BN(O) visa as you (either 2 years and 6 months or 5 years)


Those who fall under the category of dependants include:


  • Spouse, civil partner 
  • Unmarried partner (minimum 2 years of cohabiting at the time of application).
  • Children (under the age of 18), or adult children born on or after 1 July 1997 (and their spouse, or child under the age of 18).
  • Under exceptional circumstances of dependency, other family members may apply such as: parents, grandparents, brother, sister, son or daughter.


You should provide evidence of your relationship and living arrangements when applying for you and your family members. 


After applying for BNO visa, you will be given a Unique Application Number (UAN) or a Global Web Form (GWF). This UAN must be quoted with application for family members so the applications are submitted together within 2 days.

You partner needs to be 18 or older when applying.


  • Your adult child’s partner can also apply.
  • You need to prove your relationship and that you have been living together for at least 2 years. 

Children must apply with both parents unless one parent or grandparent has sole guardianship over them. The child must be living with you unless they are studying away from home.

If the child is born on or after 1 July 1997, they can apply as your dependent. Application must be made at the same time as yours. Unless child is studying away from home, it is a requirement that the child be living with you.

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