Additional Information Released on New Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa

July 27, 2020 | United Kingdom

The UK government has released additional information on the new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BNO) Visa, after announcing the simplified immigration route for BNO status holders earlier this month. 

BNO visa route details

The BNO Visa route will be available beginning in January 2021 and will authorize five years of leave to remain in the UK, either in one period of five years or two periods of 30 months. Visa holders will be permitted to live, study and work in the UK. BNO visa holders will not be eligible to receive public funds but will be eligible for free healthcare provided they pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

The new visa will allow its holders to qualify for settlement (permanent residency) after five years of continuous residence and to apply for citizenship after a year of settlement. Visa holders who elect not to apply for settlement or have their settlement applications denied will need to leave the UK. 

Eligibility

Holders of BNO status and their spouse/partner and children under 18 (whether or not they have BNO status) will be eligible to apply for the Hong Kong BNO Visa, provided they meet the following requirements: 

  • They must ordinarily reside in Hong Kong.
  • They must provide evidence that they can support themselves in the UK for at least six months.
  • They must commit to learning English if they do not already speak it. 
  • They must hold a current tuberculosis test certificate from a medical provider approved by the Home Office.
  • They must have no general grounds for denial, including having no serious criminal convictions.
  • They must pay a visa application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge when applying.

Application process

Hong Kong BNO Visa applications will be submitted online, so can be made from any location. Applicants will generally not be required to submit documents by mail or be interviewed. However, all applications will require biometric data. BNO status holders will need to submit facial biometrics but not fingerprints. Dependents of BNO status holders who are not also BNO status holders will need to submit fingerprints.

Applicants are not required to hold or obtain a valid BNO passport, however those with valid or expired BNO passports should submit them with the visa application as proof of BNO status. Hong Kong BNO Visa holders will receive a digital visa and will be allowed to travel on a valid Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport if they do not have a BNO passport.