Hong Kong BN(O) Visa: More Details Announced
In response to the breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration by the Chinese government in restricting the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people, the UK government is ready to welcome BN(O) citizens and their close family members.
A new Hong Kong BN(O) Visa will be open for applications from 31 January 2021.
British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) citizens and their close family members will be able to move to the UK, to study and work.
Who will be eligible for the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa?
All those with BN(O) status will be eligible, as will their family dependants, provided they satisfy the residence requirement outlined below.
The following family members will be eligible to apply as dependents of the main BN(O) Visa applicant, if they normally live with them:
- a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
- a child (under the age of 18)
- an adult child born on or after 1 July 1997 (and their spouse, or child under the age of 18)
- other family members (parent, grandparent, brother, sister, son or daughter) in exceptional circumstances where there is a high level of dependency
The main applicant and family members must all apply together at the same time. Family members will not be able to apply for a Hong Kong BN(O) visa to join a main applicant later.
Where can an application for a Hong Kong BN(O) Visa be made?
Applications will be able to be made from outside or inside the UK.
What is the residence requirement for a BN(O) Visa?
If applying from outside the UK, the main applicant and any family members applying at the same time must normally live in Hong Kong.
If applying from within the UK, the main applicant and any family members applying at the same time must normally live in Hong Kong, the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man.
Will there be a limit on the number of Hong Kong BN(O) Visas?
There will be no quota on the number of Hong Kong BN(O) visas issued.
How long will the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa be valid for?
Applicants will be able to enter or remain in the UK for either a period of 30 months (which can be extended by a further 30 months) or a period of 5 years.
Will the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa lead to British citizenship?
The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa will provide a route to settlement after 5 years. Time already spent in the UK on another route to settlement (i.e. Tier 2 (General)) will count towards the 5 years.
Hong Kong BN(O) Visa holders will be able to apply for British citizenship 12 months after being granted settlement.
How much will the Hong Kong BN(O) visa cost?
A 30-month visa will cost £180 per person, whilst a five-year visa will cost £250 per person, both considerably lower than many other visa routes to the UK.
BN(O) citizens will also need to pay the immigration health surcharge in order to receive access to the National Health Service in the UK, and they will also need to demonstrate that they can support themselves and their dependants financially for at least six months in the UK.
Will a valid BN(O) passport be needed to apply?
A valid BN(O) passport will not be required to apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa, but it will be possible to submit an expired BN(O) passport with an application. It will also be possible to apply using a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport.
Will Hong Kong BN(O) visa holders be able to work and study in the UK?
BN(O) Visa holders will have a right to work in almost any role, consistent with UK employment laws and subject to having the appropriate skills and qualifications.
Dependent children will be able to attend school (if under 18) or education and training (if aged 16 to 19).
When will the BN(O) Visa route open?
British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) citizens and their close family members will be able to apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) visa from 31 January 2021.
Detailed Immigration Rules and policy guidance will be published in advance of the route opening.
Contact our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance with preparing an application for a Hong Kong BN(O) visa, settlement or British citizenship as a BN(O)) citizen, contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.