Hong Kong BNO passport holder’s new visa option for UK immigration
The UK government has recently announced plans to change the Immigration Rules regarding holders of BNO passport holders (British National Overseas) following the announcement by the Chinese government that it will impose a national security law on Hong Kong.
What Is A BNO Passport Holder?
BNO passport holders are permanent residents of Hong Kong, who are entitled to British diplomatic and consular protections outside of Hong Kong and China. However, they are subject to immigration control in the UK as BN(O) status is not equivalent to being a British Citizen due to the lack of ‘right of abode’. This effectively means that BN(O) passport holders require a suitable visa to work and study in the UK in line with other non-EU nationals.
Proposed Changes To The BN(O) Passport Policy
Currently BNO passport holders are allowed to stay in the UK for up to 6 months as a visitor.
The proposed changes include opening a new route for work or study for an extendable period of 12 months and offering BN(O) nationals a path to British citizenship. The proposed route will allow BN(O) passport holders to apply for either a five-year visa or two periods of 30 months’ leave, permitting them to live, work, and study in the UK during that time.
At the end of those five years, and presumably subject to a continuous residence requirement, BNO passport holders will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. One year after obtaining indefinite leave, they will be able to apply for British citizenship.
Dependants of BNO passport holders who were born after 1 July 1997 are not eligible to apply for a BN(O) passport since they are born after the UK’s handover of Hong Kong to China. However, if the parents are BN(O) passport holders, they will also be eligible for this route to obtain British citizenship.
BN(O) Citizens Coming To The UK
BN(O) citizens coming to the UK will have access to the job market at all skill levels and without the requirement of having a minimum salary threshold.
However, under this route BN(O) citizens will not have access to public funding.
Increase In BN(O) Passport Applications
There are currently an estimated 2.9 million people who are eligible to apply for a BN(O) passport in Hong Kong and about 290,000 people who have already obtained a BN(O) passport.
Her Majesty’s Passport Office is already seeing a significant increase in applications for BN(O) passports and renewals.
How To Apply For Or Renew A BN(O) Passport
BN(O) Visa Route Application
The Hong Kong BN(O) Visa route will start accepting applications from January 2021. Eligible BN(O) citizens will be able to apply for this route inside and outside of the UK.
BN(O) citizens taking up this route do not need to have a valid Hong Kong BN(O) passport. A valid or expired BN(O) passport can be used to show proof of BN(O) status. If you believe you have BN(O) status but do not have a physical BN(O) passport with you, the Home Office may be able to check your BN(O) status without one.
You will need to have a valid passport to show proof of identity, but the passport can be of any nationality.
How Our BN(O) Visa Immigration Lawyers Can Help You
Once the UK government announces the details and guidance of this new visa category our BN(O) passport team can help you in the preparation of your application for a visa, then apply for your indefinite leave to remain and thereafter apply for your UK citizenship.
Our expert BN(O) immigration lawyers shall help you ensure that you application meets the eligibility requirements and ensure you submit all the correct supporting documents.
We can also assist with your future requirements, for example:
Our international team can provide seamless legal services in the following languages:
In addition, our network of trusted business partners, can help you source and set up premises, obtain a business bank account and help you and your family settle in the UK.
As a full-service law firm, we can help you buy residential and commercial property in the UK, set up your business and deal with any other legal support you require.
Free UK Business Visa Guide
To assist companies and workers through the business visa options available, please see our FREE PDF GUIDE ON PERSONAL IMMIGRATION or download a copy from the right-hand side of this page.
Our free personal immigration guide covers:
- Standard (Business) Visitor Visa
- Sole Representative of an Overseas Company
- Turkish Businessperson (Ankara Agreement) Visa
- Turkish Worker Visa
- Innovator Visa
- Start Up Visa
- Tier 1 – Investor Visa
- Tier 1 – Global / Exceptional Talent Visa
- Tier 2 – Sponsored General Work Visa
- Sponsor Licence
More information about sole representative visa can be found at the government website GOV.UK – Work Visa.
Price & Service Transparency
At Monarch Solicitors we provide highly competitive legal fees for clients wishing to apply for the BN(O) visa. We will provide you with a breakdown of the routine legal costs for the visa application from the outset so that you can budget the visa costs and fees.
Contact Our UK Standard Visitor Visa Solicitors
Our expert immigration lawyers are available to discuss your UK BN(O) passport visa option and the eligibility requirements.
Please contact our UK BN(O) immigration lawyers for immediate assistance by sending an email to us at [email protected] and one of our UK BN(O) immigration solicitors shall call you back.
Alternatively, please call our BN(O) immigration team on 0330 127 8888 for a free no obligation discussion.
Call us for a free initial consultation
A British National (Overseas) passport known as a BN(O) passport, is a travel document with no citizenship rights attached to the passport. The BN9O0 passport was first issued in 1987 allowing any resident in Hong Kong the right to apply for a BN(O) passport up until the handover of Hong Kong from United Kingdom to China in 1997. Approximately, only 350,000 Hong Kong residents have a BN(O) passport, which provides British consular protection for life and allows BN(O) passport holders to be able to renew their BN(O) even after the handover.
There are 2.6 million people who are eligible to apply for a BN(O) passport.
Anyone born before the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 are eligible to apply for the BN(O) passport, even if you have not previously applied for a BN(O) passport.
Anyone born after July 1997, are not eligible to apply for a BN(O) passport. Instead, they will be granted the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport.
BN(O) passport holders have the right to remain in the UK for up to six months, but are not entitled to reside or work in the UK, and are not permitted to pass this special status on to their children.
Due to the imposed national security legislation in Hong Kong announced by China on 28 May 2020, which contradicts certain conditions of the agreement between the UK and China, such as allowing Hong Kong a high level of autonomy and freedom of speech, when Hong Kong was transferred back to China, the UK government has offered a route for BN(O) citzens and their dependants for residency in the UK, and ultimately lead to British citizenship.
People with a BN(O) status and their dependants will be allowed to live and work in the UK for five years where they can obtain settled status. The following year, BN(O) citizens will then have the right to obtain British citizenship.
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