BNO Hong Kong Visa
Initial 5 Years
Therafter Permanent Residence
Can bring family members
Very flexible: Start a business, work, study, or retire.
The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa is for people from Hong Kong who have British National (Overseas) – ‘BN(O)’ – status. Also their close family members.
The Visa was created by the UK Government in response to the new national security law for Hong Kong, which is seen to deprive HK residents of rights which were supposed to have been guaranteed when the UK handed over HK to the Peoples Republic of China.
The visa is open to
a) BN(O)s, their dependant partners, children under 18, and adult family members with a high degree of dependency
b) BN(O) Household Members: BN(O) citizens’ adult children (born on or after 1 July 1997) and the adult child’s dependant partner and children under 18. All applicants must form part of the same household as the BN(O) citizen (i.e. normally live together) and be applying alongside the BN(O) family member.
NB Adults born in HK, after the 1997 handover to mainland China, are not directly eligible for BN(O) status, and so have no independent eligibility for the visa. They can only apply if
1. They have a BN(O) parent
2. They are in the same household as the BN(O) parent
3. The BN(O) parent also wishes to move to the UK at the same time.
You do not need to have a BN(O) passport or a specified level of English.
You will need to show an ability to accommodate and maintain yourself for their first six months in the UK.
Successful applicants will be able to work and study but will not automatically be eligible for taxpayer funded benefits defined as public funds.
Nor will they be classed as home students for tuition fee purposes immediately upon arrival in the UK.
Of HK's c7.5million population, there are c2.9million BN(O)s, and c2.5million potentially eligible dependants and family members. The Home Office projection of 1/4m-1/3m applicants over 2020-2025 implies that only 1% - 1.5% of those eligible will apply each year.
The visa does not cater to young pro-democracy activists who are not living with BN(O) parents, or whose parents want to stay in HK. If you are such an activist, get in touch and we will see what other options may work for you.
Historical note on BN(O) status
While HK was British, most of its people had British Dependant Territories Citizenship (BDTC). On 1 July 1997, HK ceased being run by the British, and its people stopped being BDTCs. They could apply for BN(O) status (applications opened in 1987 in anticipation of eventual handover).
The UK issues passports to BN(O)s; they are not the same as the passports given to British Citizens, as they don't allow unrestricted residence in the UK, but BN(O) passport holders can seek consular assistance and protection from UK diplomatic posts (apart from in China, Hong Kong or Macao). BN(O)s are subject to UK visa requirements, and, until the creation of the BN(O) visa were not given preferential access to the UK. That has now changed. If you are a BN(O) and want to come to the UK, please get in touch.