On 31 January 2021, the UK government introduced a new immigration category for British Nationals (Overseas) citizens who are resident in Hong Kong.
The new Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) Visa will allow eligible applicants to settle with their families in the UK.
Immigration and visa expertise
At Halliday Reeves Solicitors we specialise in immigration and visa applications, meaning we have genuine expertise in the area and an excellent track record of success for our clients.
We can help you ensure that your Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) Visa application is correct and that the right supporting documentation is included. We understand how important it is for you and your family to have the peace of mind of a successful application and we will go the extra mile to make sure we support you every step of the way.
We offer a free 15-minute enquiry service to discuss your requirements and advise you on the best course of action in your circumstances.
Introduction of the new British Nationals (Overseas) Visa for Hong Kong residents
British National (Overseas) citizenship was created for Hong Kong residents in 1997 when the UK handed Hong Kong over to China. It allowed holders to visit the UK for six months without applying for a visa.
As a result of recent developments in Hong Kong, the new visa was created to allow those with British National (Overseas) citizenship to live and work in the UK.
Who can apply for the new Hong Kong BNO Visa
Application is open to those aged 18 or over who are British National (Overseas) citizens.
Their permanent home must be in Hong Kong or the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man.
Family members can also apply for the visa at the same time. This includes a spouse, civil or unmarried partner, a child or grandchild aged under 18, a child aged 18 born on or after 1 July 1997 and their partner and child aged under 18 as well as a parent, grandparent, sibling or child who lives with the applicant and is very dependent on them for their care.
Working in the UK under a British Nationals (Overseas) Hong Kong visa
Once the visa has been granted, the holder and their family members will have the right to work in the UK. This includes in employment, starting a business, contracting work or self-employment.
Study is also allowed under the visa, subject to obtaining an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate in respect of certain subjects where sensitive knowledge is included.
Employment as a professional sportsperson or sports coach is not permitted.
Online application for the British Nationals (Overseas) Hong Kong Visa
Some applicants with biometric passports will be able to apply from an app on their phone which scans their passport and verifies their identity, avoiding the need to go to a visa application centre.
This means that their passport will not be endorsed with a visa, but their right to be in the UK will be noted in online records. Ultimately, the government intends to digitise immigration status for all.
How long does the Hong Kong Visa last for?
The new system grants a visa for an initial period of either 30 months (which can be extended for a further 30 months) or five years. After five years, an application can be made for Indefinite Leave to Remain, which means that no further visa applications will be necessary and the holder can continue to live and work in the UK permanently.
One year after receiving Indefinite Leave to Remain, application for British citizenship can be made.