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.

Our solicitors

What our clients say…

Success for the Bouameur Family

I am writing this on behalf of the whole family, we would like to say thank you. These two words are such small words for the gratitude and high regard we all hold you in.

Your firm and especially you have been with us throughout the difficult years we have had and you have always been there when we needed picking up, our shoulder to cry on that saw us through with honesty and realistic advice.

I cannot recommend your firm and you enough to people who find themselves at the mercy of a system that at best can be described as confusing.

You have given us back our lives and for that you will always be a cherished member of our family and never forgotten

Many many thanks to you and your team for everything

The Bouameur Family

May 2021
Naturalisation success for a medical doctor

I shall have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Latitude Law, which is clearly an extremely proficient unit, exemplified by helping clients with patience, attention to detail and sensitivity in equal measure.

Particular mention is merited to Ms Gemma Wylie, whose professionalism is par excellence. I couldn’t thank her enough.

Dr LG

January 2020
The long road to permanent residence

Me and Fady want to thank you and your team for helping us throughout the past 8 years with Fady's immigration issues and finally getting him to live a life without worries and struggles. We just came back from Egypt where we visited his family after 8 years of Fady not seeing them. This wouldn't have been possible without your help and who knows where we would be today if it wasn't for you helping us.

April 2019

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