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Hong Kong BN(O) Visa: Dependent Children under 18

The BN(O) Household Child route is for the dependent child or grandchild of a person who is making an application for entry clearance or permission to stay as a BN(O) Status Holder or as the partner of a BN(O) Status Holder at the same time.

This Guide is for children under the age of 18. We have separate guides for the other applicants:

Applications for Hong Kong BN(O) visas opened on 31 January 2021.

There are validity, suitability and eligibility requirements that a child must meet to make the application. The eligibility requirements cover your:

  • Relationship
  • Care
  • Age
  • Ordinary residence
  • Adequate maintenance and accommodation
  • TB Certificate 

You do not need to apply under this route if you are a BN(O). You can instead, apply as a BN(O) Status Holder in your own right, see our Guide: Hong Kong BN(O) Visa for BNO Status Holders.

Validity Requirements for a Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

How do you apply for a BN(O) visa?

If you have a chipped HKSAR, BN(O), or EEA passport you can apply for the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa using the UK Immigration: ID Check app. Alternatively, you can apply online using the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa application form.  

What are the application fees for a BN(O) visa?

You must pay the application fee (£180 to apply to stay for 30 months or £250 to apply to stay for 5 years) and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee (£1,175 if you’re applying to stay for 30 months or £2,350 if you’re applying to stay for 5 years). 

Do you need to apply from outside the UK?

If you are not currently in the UK, you will need to apply to make your BN(O) visa application and obtain entry clearance before you travel to the UK. If you are in the UK lawfully, or if you fall within the exception for overstayers, you can apply to switch to this visa from within the UK. 

Additionally, for your BNO visa application to be valid, you will need to provide any required biometrics, and provide a passport or other travel document to prove your identity and nationality. 

Suitability Requirements for a Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

You must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal. This will consider your personal history and immigration history. If there are any concerns, you should seek immigration advice prior to applying.

Additionally, if you are applying from within the UK, you must not be in breach of immigration laws (unless paragraph 39E, the exception for overstayers, applies), or on immigration bail. See my blog for an answer to the question: What is Paragraph 39E?

If you are in the UK lawfully, or if you fall within the exception for overstayers, you can apply to switch to the BN(O) Household Child route from within the UK. 

Relationship Requirement

If you have not previously been granted permission on this route as the child or grandchild of a BN(O) or partner of a BN(O) Status Holder, then you must show you meet all of the relationship requirements:

  • You must be the child or grandchild of a person who has or is at the same time being granted entry clearance or permission to stay as a BN(O) Status Holder or as the partner of a BN(O) Status Holder;  
  • You must make an application at the same time as your relevant parent or grandparent who is applying for entry clearance or permission on the BN(O) Status Holder route; 
  • You must form part of the same household as the BN(O) Status Holder on the date of application; and
  • Each of the parents of the child must either be applying at the same time or already have permission to be in the UK other than as a visitor, unless certain exceptions apply.

Evidence of the relationship should be provided such as a full birth certificate, adoption certificate or court order.

What does ‘form part of the same household’ mean?

It means that the child must normally live with the BN(O) Status Holder. “Normally live with” is not defined in the Rules. However, currently, the government website states that the child ‘must normally live with you, unless they’re living away from home to study.’ Therefore, a child who lives away from home for academic purposes may be able to show that they normally live with their parents if this is well evidenced. 

This aligns with the definitions in the Introduction to the Immigration Rules: ‘“Must not be leading an independent life” or “is not leading an independent life” means that the person:

(a) does not have a partner; and

(b) is living with their parent (except where they are at boarding school, college or university as part of their full-time education); and

  1. c) is not in full-time employment (unless aged 18 or over); and

(d) is wholly or mainly dependent upon their parent for financial support (unless aged 18 or over); and

(e) is wholly or mainly dependent upon their parent for emotional support.’

What are the exceptions to the other parent having or applying for permission to be in the UK?

    • Exception 1: the parent who is a BN(O) or the partner of a BN(O) is the only living parent
  • Exception 2: the parent who is a BN(O) or the partner of a BN(O) has sole responsibility for the upbringing of the child
  • Exception 3: there are serious and compelling reasons to grant the child entry clearance or permission to stay with the parent who has permission on the Hong Kong BN(O) route
  • Exception 4: If the grandparent is the sponsoring BN(O), that there are serious and compelling reasons to grant the applicant entry clearance or permission to stay with the parent or grandparent who has permission as a BN(O) Status Holder on the Hong Kong BN(O) route

Arguing that a person has sole parental responsibility, is not an easy task and will require evidentiary support.  In the leading case on sole responsibility TD (Paragraph 297(i) (e): “sole responsibility”) Yemen [2006] UKAIT 00049, the Upper Tribunal held [at §52] that the ‘test is, not whether anyone else has day-to-day responsibility, but whether the parent has continuing control and direction of the child’s upbringing including making all the important decisions in the child’s life. If not, responsibility is shared and so not “sole”’ and that  ‘where both parents are involved in a child’s upbringing, it will be exceptional that one of them will have “sole responsibility”’.  We can provide detailed advice regarding the evidence you can provide to prove sole responsibility and/or serious and compelling reasons for the child to be granted under the route.

Care Requirement

The Rules state that the ‘applicant must live with a parent who has permission on the BN(O) Household Member route during their stay in the UK, unless they can demonstrate a valid reason why they should not live with that parent.’ This is a drafting error. It should state that the applicant must live with a parent who has permission on the BN(O) Status Holder Route.

Nevertheless, the import of this is that both parents will find difficulty remaining in Hong Kong, and sending their children to the UK. At least one of the parents should move to the UK and the child should live with them. Once more, it is unclear what a ‘valid reason’ would be under the Immigration Rules and the Guidance does not elaborate this term.

There must be suitable arrangements for the child’s care and accommodation in the UK, which must comply with relevant UK legislation and regulations.

Age Requirement 

A BN(O) Household Child must be under the age of 18 on the date of application. Children who are over the age of 18 and born after 1997 can apply as BN(O) Household Members, which is a route with different requirements.

Hong Kong BN(O) Visa Ordinary Residence Requirement

If you are applying from outside the UK, you must be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong at the date of application.

If you are applying from inside the UK, you must be ordinarily resident in the UK, the Bailiwick of Guernsey, Bailiwick of Jersey, the Isle of Man or Hong Kong on the date of application.

In determining where a person is ordinarily resident, the Home Office will consider if you have a regular habitual mode of life in a particular place for the time being, which has continued apart from temporary or occasional absences, and whether that residence is voluntary, lawful, and adopted for a settled purpose. We can advise you on the evidence that can be provided to show this, depending on your particular circumstances.

Maintenance & Accommodation Requirement

If you are applying for permission to stay and have been living in the UK for 12 months or more on the date of application, you will automatically meet the financial requirement. You do not need to provide further evidence.

If you are applying for entry clearance, or have been living in the UK for less than 12 months on the date of application, you must show the BN(O) Status Holder or their partner is able to and will maintain and accommodate you in the UK without recourse to public funds for at least 6 months. The BN(O) Status Holder or their partner may also rely on credible promises of future third party support to meet this requirement. 

How is adequate maintenance calculated?

Adequate maintenance is where the projected weekly income (“A”), less weekly accommodation costs (“B”), would be equal to, or more than, the amount the family would be entitled to if they were in receipt of income support or equivalent (“C”). In order to calculate whether the amount held in cash savings is sufficient, the total amount must be divided by the number of weeks of limited leave that would be granted if the application was successful (“A”). The formula for calculating adequate maintenance is the same as with weekly income: A – B ≥ C. We can assist you with the formula and advise you as to the specified financial evidence that must be submitted.

What is adequate accommodation?

Accommodation that is not overcrowded and does not contravene public health regulations.

TB Certificate Requirement

Do you need a TB Certificate? 

If you have been resident in Hong Kong for the 6 months before you apply, you will need a valid medical certificate confirming you have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis and that this tuberculosis is not present in you.

If you are in the UK, and your last grant of permission was for less than 6 months and you were present in a country listed in Appendix T of these rules for more than six months immediately prior to their last grant of permission you must provide a valid TB Certificate. A valid medical certificate is a certificate from an approved centre issued within the 6 months immediately before the date of application. There are approved clinics in the UK, listed here. The list of accepted clinics in Hong Kong can be found here.

A TB Certificate is not required,  if you provided one as part of a successful application for entry clearance in the 12 months before the date of application.

Hong Kong BN(O) Visa Decision & Conditions

You can be granted either 30 months or 5 years under the route. It will depend on the length of period for which the BN(O) Status Holder (with whom you form part of the same household) has applied, as you will be granted permission which ends on the same date as their permission.

You will not be able to access public funds. However, you can undertake work (including self-employment and voluntary work) except for employment as a professional sportsperson (including as a sports coach). You can also study, but may require an ATAS Certificate depending on your course of study. You may need to register with the police, depending on your country of nationality.

Children who come in under this route are able to attend government-funded schools in the United Kingdom. This is not considered an access of public funds.

Refusal of a Hong Kong BN(O) Visa Application

If the application is refused, it is possible to apply for an Administrative Review to challenge the decision, but there is no right of appeal. If you have been refused, we can review the reasons for refusal and advise you as to the merits of an administrative review.

Dependants of Hong Kong BN(O)s

For guidance on other applicants under the Hong Kong BN(O) routes, please see our related posts (links to be added once published):

Contact our British Nationality Lawyers in London

For expert advice regarding an application for a Hong Kong BN(O) visa or any aspect of British Nationality Law, contact our British Nationality Lawyers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

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