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