British Nationals (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong
The status was created in 1987 by the Hong Kong Act 1985 and the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986. It was part of the 10-year handover preparations that entitled Hong Kong residents previously classed as British Dependent Territories citizens, to apply to register for BNO status before Hong Kong was handed back to the People’s Republic of China to became one of China’s Special Administrative Regions in 1997.
To progress to citizenship, BNOs with indefinite leave to remain will not need to apply to naturalise. Instead they will be able to register as British citizens under section 4 of the British Nationality Act 1981.
Who is eligible for this visa route?
To prove BN(O) status applicants can use an expired BNO passport. If their BNO passport is lost they can prove their status by using historical records held by Her Majesty’s Passport Office.
What other requirements must be met?
What are the conditions and entitlements of this visa?
What is the application process?
Applicants can make an online application from inside or outside of the UK.
BN(O) citizens will be required to provide facial biometrics as part of their application. Dependants of BN(O) citizens who aren’t BN(O) citizens themselves will also need to provide their fingerprints.
BN(O) citizens already in the UK, whose leave is due to expire before the Hong Kong BN(O) visa is available, will need to extend their leave in line with the rules of their existing route and then apply for the new visa.
Further details from the government will follow for those on a visa without the possibility to extend.
Arrivals at the border
BN(O) citizens and their accompanying dependants who choose to travel sooner may be granted Leave Outside the Rules (LOTR) for a period of 6 months if they are able to demonstrate that they meet all eligibility requirements.
Further details, such as visa costs, will be announced by the government in the coming months.
Hong Kong citizens who do not meet the eligibility requirements will be able to apply to come to the UK under the Youth Mobility Scheme if aged between 18-30 or under the terms of the UK’s new Points Based System, which will enable individuals to come to the UK in a wider range of professions and at a lower general salary threshold than in the past.