Apply for a British National Overseas (BNO) visa

The UK government has created a new immigration route in response to the enactment of National Security legislation in Hong Kong. Here’s everything you need to know about the British National Overseas (BNO) visa, including who is eligible – and how to apply.

British National Overseas (BNO) visa

Existing UK immigration rules allow British Nationals Overseas (BNO) citizens to enter the United Kingdom for an initial period of six months, but this is subject to a requirement not to work or study.

This new bespoke route, open for applications from 31 January 2021, will enable BNO citizens and their families, who are ordinary resident in the UK or Hong Kong, to live, work, study and eventually settle in the UK.

This visa route will allow BNO status holders and their family members to apply for permission to enter and stay in the UK. Applications can be made by:

  • BNO status holders
  • Partners of BNO status holders
  • Children (under the age of 18) of BNO status holders
  • Adult children (born on or after 1 July 1997) of BNO status
  • holders and their partners or children (under the age of 18)
  • Adult dependent relatives of BNO status holders including parent, grandparent, brother, sister, son or daughter (where they require long term care from the BNO status holder)
  • Any applicant in the above categories must form part of the same household as the BNO citizen.

What are the requirements for a British National Overseas (BNO) visa?

Applicants will need to:

  • meet the suitability requirements. This requirement can be affected by criminality or immigration issues.
  • be able to demonstrate that they are a BNO status holder, or an appropriate relation of the BNO status holder, sharing the same household; and
  • be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, if applying for entry clearance.
  • be ordinarily resident in the UK, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man or Hong Kong, if applying for permission to stay.
  • provide evidence that they are free from tuberculosis (where applicable).
  • Prove they can adequately maintain and accommodate themselves (and any dependants) without recourse to public funds (this requirement is automatically met where they have been living in the UK for 12 months before applying).

What conditions are attached to a British National Overseas (BNO) visa?

A BNO visa will allow you to:

  • Live in the UK
  • Work (including self-employment and voluntary work, except for employment as a professional sportsperson including as a sports coach); and
  • study in the UK.

You will not be able to access public funds during your time in the UK as a BNO visa holder.

How long is the British National Overseas (BNO) visa valid for?

You can choose whether you would like to apply for a 2.5-year (30 month) or 5-year visa under this category.

The application fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge are payable and will vary depending on which length of visa you apply for.

After you have lived in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years in this category (or for 5 years with permission to stay in a mixture of permitted categories), you may be eligible to apply for settlement under this route. At this stage, you will need to provide evidence to show that you meet the qualifying period of 5 years, the English language requirement and evidence your knowledge of Life in the UK.

How we can help

If you’re applying for a BNO visa from abroad or within the UK, it’s critical that you enlist expert legal support from the very beginning. That’s why the Latitude Law team is on hand right from the earliest stages of application. We’ll make sure that you are eligible for this visa and that you submit the right documentation to give you the best chance of success with your visa applications. Our reputation and expertise mean Latitude Law is recognised as a leading immigration law firm, and our guidance can give you the best possible chance of securing you a BNO visa for you and if applicable for your family.

Why choose Latitude Law?

When you’re applying for something as important as a visa, you need to know you’re in safe hands. The experienced solicitors at Latitude Law specialise in immigration, and have in-depth knowledge of specific rules, Home Office guidance and the case law which informs the handling of these applications.

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What our clients say…

Four British passports

The British passports of my four children successfully reached us this week.

I wanted to thank the Latitude Law Firm for the constant professional support provided to us throughout the process. Your services have been helpful for us at each stage of the process. We would be happy to hire you again in the future for the process of my husband, and would also recommend your firm to others around us.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the hard work of Joel Reiss towards the successful completion of our case. His support for all of us from day 1 till the very last day has been commendable. Me and my children are very thankful to him for the smooth execution.

Looking forward to hiring the firm for our next case as well.

Son’s successful naturalisation

I'm writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for all of your assistance during this tough time. I am really grateful for all of your help and support, You changed my son future for good.

UK Entry Clearance Granted

I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to Joel Reiss for his amazing service in relation to my visa application.

Reiss was outstanding as a consultant and adviser and my family and I highly value the efforts he took; we are deeply appriciative of his work and knowledge in the legal matters, processes and proceedings. He prepared our application including a covering letter from scratch, which he refined through discussion before making it an impeccable one to refuse. There were a few complicated elements surrounding our application and we believe had it not been for Mr.Reiss and his flawless services together with the expertise of Latitude Law, we would not have recieved our visa.

He was quick in clarifying our queries and made it a point to reply as soon as possible. Even when we had to be away from work, Reiss made sure our application was not interrupted and it could be filed on time. The constant communication and the replies continued even after the application was submitted and the services were paid for all the way till we recieved the decision. We have even been informed of the travel guidelines and quarantine regulations, and I honestly believe the fee we paid did not include these supplementary services.

I would also like to extend my upmost appreciation to Gary McIndoe, the Director, Latitude Law and everybody else at the firm including Jessica Lee for their service and cooperation.

I would not think twice in recommending Joel Reiss and Latitude Law for visa application and allied services.

Mr Vineesh

All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 01/02/2021