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