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The Hong Kong British Nationals Overseas Visa

On January 31st 2021, the UK announced the new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa. Hong Kong BNOs are able to apply for this visa to come and work, live or study in the UK. It is thought that just under 3 million Hong Kong British Nationals (and many more dependants) will be able to benefit from this.

The Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) visa route enables individuals and their dependants to live in the UK for up to five years after their application. After these five years, individuals are free to apply for indefinite leave to remain. With a successful leave to remain application, individuals are able to settle in the UK without having to reapply for a visa. Once an individual succeeds in this application, then they can subsequently apply for British citizenship should they meet the eligibility criteria.


In order to be eligible for this visa and be successful in your application then you must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be a Hong Kong British National Overseas.
  • Applicants must be aged 18 years-old or above.
  • An applicant’s permanent address must either be in Hong or the UK.
  • Applicants must have a valid travel document.

With this visa it is possible to bring other family members with you to the UK, providing that they are:

  • Your spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner*.
  • Your child or grandchild who is aged below 18 years-old.
  • Any other dependant children born on, or after, 1st July 1997 (and their spouse and children aged under 18 years-old).
  • Adult dependant relatives who are cared for by you and are living in the same household as you.

*An unmarried partner who you have been in a relationship with and cohabiting with for the past 2 years.



Individuals (and their dependants) with this visa are able to freely live, work and study in the UK. Visa holders are also able to access the NHS (providing they pay the surcharge) and children can attend state school. However, visa holders cannot claim benefits and cannot undertake work as a professional sportsperson or coach.


Where we fit in

As an immigration solicitors, our personal and family immigration team is able to provide the following services:

  • Making an initial application: we are able to provide guidance and assist individuals with their application.
  • Applying to extend your leave: should you wish to extend your leave then we are able to assist in this application process. Our immigration solicitors are also able to provide the relevant evidence and representations to the Home Office.
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain: after your 5 years is up, you become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain. If you wish to choose this option then our immigration solicitors are able to advise and support you with the application process.
  • British Citizenship: after being granted ILR you can become eligible for British Citizenship. Whilst there are many routes to gain British Citizenship, we are able to assist you in identifying the most appropriate route and aid you with the subsequent application.

For further assistance then please contact us, alternatively download our free brochure to read more about our services.