British National Overseas visa launched on 31 January

Who will be affected?

British National (Overseas) citizen and their close family members.


If you are from Hong Kong and are a British national (overseas) you and your family members can apply for a British National (overseas) visa. This is known as a BNO visa. It allows you to live, work and study in the UK.


+ You can apply for a BNO visa if you are a British national (overseas) and you are 18 or older.
+ Your permanent home must be in Hong Kong, if you’re applying from outside the UK or in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Hong Kong if you’re applying in the UK.
+ Family members can apply for a BNO visa with you if they are eligible. Your family members must apply at the same time as you. They cannot apply after you get a decision about your visa application.
+ You can apply to stay for either 2 years and 6 months or 5 years. You will be able to extend your visa if you want to stay longer. You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you want.
+ You can work (except you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach)
+ You can study (including at school, college or university).
+ You cannot apply for most benefits (public funds).

Next Steps (or) Actions Required

As part of your online application, you will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre to prove your identity. At your appointment, you’ll have your fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken. The visa application centre may keep your passport and documents while processing your application if you are applying outside the UK (e.g. in Hong Kong). It may be faster to apply from 23 February if you have BNO, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). You will be able to use a smartphone app to prove your identity, instead of going to a visa application centre.

You can apply to settle in the UK (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) after you have lived in the UK for 5 years on a BNO visa. This means you can stay in the UK without any time limited.

To apply to settle in the UK, you’ll need to meet the knowledge of English requirements, pass the Life in the UK Test, have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months in the last 5 years and pay an application fee.

One year after you settle in the UK (have ‘indefinite leave to remain’), you will usually be able to apply for British citizenship.

Santa Fe Analysis

+ Santa Fe UK Immigration can assist BNO individuals and their family members who wish to secure their ongoing residency in the UK via application on the BNO visa, and we have already acted on instructions from several clients to do so.

+ Santa Fe UK Immigration can also assist non-BNO family members of BNO nationals who wish to come to the UK, by evaluating their current case and updating them. This assessment may be necessary in line with prevailing Immigration Rules as applicable to their circumstances at the time of their planned entry to the UK.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Koshi Blavo Barna
UK Head of Immigration
Santa Fe Relocation UK
Tel.: +44 0203 457 3595

To read more immigration updates, click here

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