British National (Overseas) Visa

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.

Required documents

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)

Demetris Demetriou

Demetris is a dual-qualified lawyer in the UK (Solicitor) and Cyprus (Advocate) with 10+ years of experience in UK immigration. He completed his legal studies at University College London and City University London. Over the course of his career, he held key roles as Head of Immigration at Legal 500 firms and within the Big4, overseeing teams of 15+ fee earners handling 2000+ applications annually.

Demetris went on to co-establish his firm in London and continues to offer innovative solutions and strategic immigration planning to multinationals, SMEs, and private clients.

He personally represented 1500+ clients in 30+ visa routes including investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, sole representatives, students, family visas, global talent, UK ancestry, administrative reviews and appeals. Demetris has managed corporate relocations, conducted immigration law training and implemented post-Brexit immigration policies for corporate clients.

Demetris has been featured in various events and publications focusing on UK immigration, notably at the Cambridge Network, the Westminster Policy Forum and most recently at DGEMS, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

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.

Tatiani Preifelt

Tatiani has a wealth of expertise in global mobility and corporate immigration. Her ample skills were acquired within leading immigration practices including three out of the Big4 firms in both the UK and Sweden. Tatiani went on to co-establish her firm in London where she continues to advise clients predominantly in corporate, business and skilled work migration.

Having personally relocated to 10 different countries, Tatiani understands the importance of an expedient and successful immigration process and takes pride in delivering a seamless experience to her clients as well.

Over the course of her career, she has assisted over 500 individuals and businesses to obtain the appropriate visa permits in the UK.

Her awarded academic work at The University of Oxford, The London School of Economics, and at The Geneva University is in the fields of Political Science, International Human Rights Law, and Global Migration Governance.

She regularly provides immigration training and has recently participated as a speaker and panellist at DGEMS 2023, a global mobility summit hosted by Forbes India.

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.