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Hong Kong BN(O) Visa for BNO Status Holders

The BN(O) Status Holder route is for an adult BN(O) who is ordinarily resident in Hong Kong or the UK. The route opens on 31 January 2021.  

There are validity, suitability and eligibility requirements that you must meet to make the application. The eligibility requirements include having BN(O) Status, proving your ordinary residence, showing adequate maintenance and accommodation, and providing a TB Certificate where required. 

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 BN(O) visa 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 (£1,560 if you’re applying to stay for 30 months or £3,120 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 BN(O) 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. The Home Office 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) Status Holder route from within the UK. 

BN(O) Status Holder Requirement

You must be a British National (Overseas) under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986. I explain BN(O) Status in detail in my blog on British Nationality Law: Britain’s Colonial Obligations to Hong Kong.

A person who was a British Dependent Territories citizen by virtue (wholly or partly) of his having a connection with Hong Kong must have applied to be registered as a British National (Overseas) prior to the end of 1997. No person born after 30 June 1997 is a British National (Overseas). Additionally, BN(O)s cannot pass that nationality by descent to their children.

BN(O) status would only be lost in limited circumstances. A person who registered before 1 July 1997, who ceased to be a British Dependent Territories citizen before that date (for example by renouncing or being deprived of it), would automatically cease to be a British National (Overseas), per section 4(3) of The Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986. A person could also be deprived or could renounce their British National (Overseas) status, but should be aware if either of these happened. 

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 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 as a Hong Kong BN(O) 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 as a Hong Kong BN(O), or have been living in the UK for less than 12 months on the date of application, you must show you can adequately maintain and accommodate yourself without recourse to public funds for at least 6 months. You may also rely on credible promises of future third party support.

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 

As above, you can be granted either 30 months or 5 years under the Hong Kong BN(O) visa route, depending on the length for which you have applied.

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.

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 application by dependants of BN(O)s, 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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