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Everything to Know about the New British National (Overseas) Visa for Hong Kong Nationals

The Home Office has officially opened the Hong Kong British National Visa (BNO) for applications starting 31st January 2021. This route will allow the eligible BNO citizens and their dependents to apply for a five-year UK visa to work and study in the country. This blog summarises everything that you need to know about this new visa. If you have any further queries, you may contact our UK immigration solicitors at Osbourne Pinner in London. Our Immigration law firm will help and guide on each and every immigration rule of this visa and how it will affect you and your dependents.


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The Background


Hong Kong has historically been associated with Britain and was a part of the British Empire from the mid-19th century till 1997 when it was handed over to China. Hong Kong was handed over under a special agreement that would allow it to maintain its own governing and economic systems different from that of mainland China.


What is British National Overseas?


In 1985, Britain developed a new nationality for which people living in Hong Kong could apply before the territory was being handed over to China. This new category of British nationality was created to allow Hong Kong people to retain a link with the UK. This is what we know as British National Overseas (BNO). This class of British nationality was awarded by voluntary registration to the residents of Hong Kong before 1997. This did not make them British citizens, but they could travel to the UK without a visa for a period of 6 months.


New BNO Visa


This visa intends to offer a gateway to UK citizenship for around 3 million Hong Kong nationals. Under this visa, the Hong Kong British national overseas will be allowed, with all their dependents, to reside, work, and study in the UK for a period of 5 years. After the initial five years, they will be eligible to apply for permanent residency under the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). The ILR will allow the BNO to permanently stay in the UK and apply for citizenship after one year of the Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you are looking to apply for the BNO visa and need help with the application and legal procedure, then get in touch with the UK immigration solicitors.


Who Can Apply?


Only the British National Overseas aged 18 or more can apply for this visa. They must have a permanent residence in Hong Kong, and if applying from within the UK, they must have a home in the UK, the Chanel Islands, or the Isle of Man. The applicants are also allowed to bring:


  • A spouse, married or unmarried and a civil partner
  • Children or grandchildren under 18
  • Children aged 18 or older born on or after 1st July 1997
  • Other dependants of the applicant such as parents, grandparents, siblings, son or daughter

Terms of Visa


You can apply for the BNO visas either for 2.5 years or five years with the facility of extending the visa as many times as you want. During the term of the visa, the BNO will be able to live, study or work in the UK without any restrictions.


Get Visa Assistance with the UK Immigration Solicitors


Osbourne Pinner is the best immigration law firm in London, having decade-long experience in providing visa consultancy to people from all over the world. If you are confused with the new BNO visa rules and want to apply for this visa, connect with our UK immigration solicitors. They have years of experience and expertise in advising and guiding clients on making a perfect application for various visa routes and maximising their chances of getting approved for immigration to the UK. Get in touch with the best immigration law firm in London to ascertain your dependant’s eligibility for the new British National Overseas visa for Hong Kong Nationals.

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