Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

visas completed

success rate

Apply for UK Permanent Residency in the 5th year, and British citizenship in the 6th year

Can apply with non BN(O) family members

Introduction of Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

The BNO visa application threshold is low and many visa applicants think that the approval is relatively straightforward. But in fact, there are many complexed cases which show that the UK government is still very strict about the applications.

According to the latest figures released by the UK Home Office, since the BNO scheme was launched in 2021, the UK has received a total of 140,500 visa applications, 95% of which have been approved, with a total of 133,124 people. As for visa refusal cases, there have been 335 cases since the 2021 Q4.

From our experience, most of these refusal cases are due to the applicants’ special records or personal circumstances, making them difficult to meet the visa requirements. During this period, we have received many requests and enquiries from a wide range of visa applicants, and we have given them full support to increase the success rate and conduct administrative review when necessary.

Hong Kong BN(O) Visa Requirements

Date of Application

The UK starts accepting applications on 31st January 2021

Application requirements

  • Main applicant needs to hold BNO status (can be a valid or expired BNO passport)
  • Good character (if the applicant has any criminal record, bankruptcy record, visa refusal record, further declaration and explanation are required, and the UK authority might request for additional documents)
  • Permanent residency in Hong Kong (if the applicant is currently residing overseas, or holds a visa or nationality from another country, the applicant needs to further declare the previous immigration record and explain how they can meet the requirement of permanent residency in Hong Kong)
  • Have sufficient funds to live in the UK for 6 months
  • Pass a tuberculosis test

Family application

The main BNO applicant can apply with the following dependents:

a) Spouse, including married spouses, same-sex partners, unmarried partners living together for two years

b) Children, including unmarried children under the age of 18 born after July 1, 1997, or over the age of 18 but still single and dependent on their parents

(*The UK government confirmed that it will expand the BNO visa program this autumn: Young people born after July 1, 1997, over 18 years old, and one of their parents holds BNO status, can apply for a BNO visa separately to live, study and work in the UK. The new policy are expected to come into effect in November 2022, with the details of the Immigration Rules to be announced by the UK authority in due course).

c) Parents or other adult dependents who demonstrate a high degree of dependence on the main applicant

Visa length

You can apply for either a 5-year or a 2.5-year visa with a further 2.5-year extension.

Permanent Residence and British Passport application

  • Applicants can apply for Permanent Residency (PR) after 5 years of residing in the UK, and a British Passport in Year 6.
  • According to the current Immigration rules, the requirements for applying Permanent Residence are as follows:
    • Applicants must have lived in the UK for 5 consecutive years and must not have left the UK for more than 180 days in any consecutive 12 months during the 5-year period.
    • All persons aged between 18 and 64 (based on the date of application for permanent residency) need to pass the Life in the UK test, and hold the relevant English requirements (IELTS Life Skills B1 Test) or hold a University degree certificate taught in English. 
  • According to the current Immigration rules, the requirements for applying for British Citizenship:
    • Applicants will need to live for one more year after obtaining permanent residency and apply British Citizenship in year 6. 
    • Applicants cannot leave the UK for more than 450 days in the 5 years before the British Citizenship application, and cannot leave the UK for more than 90 days within the last 12 months before the application. 

Visa Benefits and Conditions

  • Applicants and family dependents are allowed to work and study in the UK. 
  • Children can enjoy free education in primary and secondary schools. 
  • Applicants are not allowed to receive any public funds. 

10 Key Q&A’s

Many of our clients have been inquiring about the eligibility of applying BN(O) visa. We have summarized the most frequently asked questions for your reference. If you have any questions, please arrange a consultation with our team to discuss your circumstances. 

  • Full guidance and support throughout the application
  • Provide you with a list of documents required for your application
  • Drafting personal statement to explain your background and circumstances
  • Checking all supporting documents to ensure eligibility
  • Completion of application forms and upload of documents
  • Liaising with the UK Visa and Immigration Department on your behalf
  • Referral service for property rental and purchase, education consultancy for independent schools, UK tax and accountancy advice, shipping and relocation, pet immigration services.

If you apply via the visa centre, you will need to land in the UK within 90 days.

If you apply via the “UK Immigration: ID check” app, you will need to land the UK within 180 days in order to fulfil the residency rules for PR application. 

How much you need depends on how many family members are applying with you. For example, you’ll need about:

  • £2,000 as a single adult
  • £3,100 as a couple with a child
  • £4,600 as a couple with 3 children
  • £9,200 as a couple with 2 parents and 2 adult children

Applicants will need to provide a valid TB certificate from one of the approved clinics in HK. The certificate is valid for six months and it must be valid at the date of the visa application (instead of the date of landing in the UK). 

The official processing time is 12 weeks, which is around 3 months. 

Under the current Immigration laws, if your child is aged under 18, you will have to apply as a family unit, unless you have the sole custody of the child. 

If your child is already aged over 18, you can apply with your child and you do not need to include your spouse in the application. 

After five years, if your child is still under 18 years old, both parents will need to fulfil the residency requirements (no more than 180 days absence during any 12 months) in order for the child to apply PR. 

Single parent applicants need to hold the child’s sole custody issued by the family court and the consent letter for the child to leave Hong Kong. Relevant legal documents are mandatory when applying for the visa.
Currently, the UK Home Officer indicates that you can apply for children and parents over 18 years old (adult dependent). However, the UK Home Office will assess the applicants’ circumstances on a case-by-case basis to determine whether the applicant meets the relevant conditions.

The UK Home Office will consider the applicant’s past criminal records including the type of conviction, the date of the crime, the sentence imposed, whether the applicant was sentenced to imprisonment and so forth to make decision case-by-case.

If you have previously declared bankruptcy, you will need to confirm whether the bankruptcy order has been dissolved and declare this on the application form. 

Please contact us for further information about your criminal or bankruptcy record in order for us to advise further. 

You need to provide at least three items of proof of address (e.g. utility bills, bank statements or any official correspondence) to confirm your permanent address in HK. 

If you have been residing in other countries for study, work or family reasons, we will need to assess your immigration history and your current visa state in your current country to assess your eligibility (e.g. whether you have already obtained PR or citizenship in that country is an important consideration).