The British National (Overseas) Visa, also referred to as the BNO Visa, was introduced by the UK in 2021. It is specifically targeted at individuals who are from Hong Kong and who hold British National (Overseas) status, as well as their family members. It is possible to apply for a BNO Visa from both within and outside of the UK.
Applicants for a BNO Visa must hold British National (Overseas) status, or be the child of someone who does and have been born on or after 1 July 1997. Their permanent home must be in Hong Kong, the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
It is possible for immediate family members such as children or a partner to submit their own applications for a BNO Visa as a dependant. When the first family member submits their application they will be issued a ‘Group Reference Number’, which must be used by any dependants when they apply.
What is permitted with a British National (Overseas) Visa?
Eligible individuals can apply for a BNO Visa lasting for either two-and-a-half years or five years, and are permitted to apply to extend their visa as many times as they wish.
Once granted, this visa allows holders to work (except in professional sports) and study in the UK. It also permits access to benefits in certain circumstances e.g. homelessness, not having enough money to support a child’s wellbeing.
After living in the UK for at least five years, BNO Visa holders are able to apply for permanent settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain)..
Process and fees
An application for a BNO Visa costs £180 for a two-and-a-half year visa and £250 for a five-year visa. Applicants will also have to pay a healthcare surcharge before a BNO visa can be issued, the cost of which can vary but is likely to be several thousand pounds per applicant.
Applicants from outside the UK will need to show they have enough money to support themselves and any family members for at least six months. Applicants from inside the UK are usually exempt from this requirement provided they have already been in the UK for at least a year (unless they hold a Youth Mobility Scheme Visa).
All applicants (including any family members) will have to visit a visa application centre in order to have their photographs and fingerprints taken. Once the application and all supporting information (including photograph and fingerprints) have been submitted to the Home Office, decisions are usually made and communicated within 12 weeks.
When applying for a BNO Visa, individuals should expect to provide:
- evidence of their British National (Overseas) status
- proof of their relationship to any dependants
- proof of address
- a tuberculosis certificate (if applying from Hong Kong)
- proof of sufficient funds (if applying from Hong Kong)
Neveen is a UK Immigration Solicitor with over 20 years experience in UK Immigration Law. She represents corporate and individual clients seeking assistance with any visa category to the UK. Neveen is a graduate of Westminster University, from which she was awarded the 2021 Westminster Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award.
Neveen’s rapid career trajectory saw her progress at pace from paralegal to Head of Department level, and then to earning a place on her firm’s Board of Directors by the age of 28. This achievement was recognised by Who’s Who placing her in their directory of ‘Britain’s Business Elite’ in 2008. Neveen then went on to establish her own boutique Immigration Law Firm in the City of London in 2015. She also co-founded the Hexagon Legal Network in 2017.
Neveen is passionate about all aspects of UK immigration law, and is committed to providing bespoke residence and citizenship solutions to citizens across the globe that wish to relocate to the UK. Neveen’s immigration advisory services are predominately geared towards highly skilled workers and companies wishing to have a UK presence, however she and her team of experienced immigration advisors can also assist with partner-based applications, student visas and all other personal and business immigration matters.
If you would like to discuss your UK immigration matter or have any questions about your options for immigrating to the UK, you can book a consultation here.