China implemented new security laws which came into effect at 23:00(HKT) on 30th June 2020.
In response to the change in laws, the UK government has introduced a bespoke route allowing Hong Kong British National( Overseas) citizens to live in the UK with their dependants ( children or partners) including those who do not have BN(O) Status.
Who can apply?
BN(O) citizenship was granted to British overseas territories citizens by connection with Hong Kong who voluntarily registered for this nationality prior to 1 July 1997. It was also granted automatically to British overseas territories citizens from Hong Kong who would otherwise hold no other nationality on 1 July 1997.
The applicant must meet the following requirements:
– British National Overseas Status: The main applicant must have BN(O) status. (There is no requirement to hold a BNO passport. However, the Home Office recommends that “valid or expired BN(O) passports should be kept and submitted with an application as evidence of BN(O) status
– Residence Requirements: The applicant must be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong. This would also apply to any dependants applying;
– Financial: The Main Applicant and Dependants must be able to demonstrate their ability to accommodate and support themselves in the UK for at least six months;
– Character: The Main Applicant and Dependants must demonstrate that they meet the good character requirement;
– English: The Main Applicant and Dependants must be committed to learning English in the UK but there is no requirement to have passed an English test before applying for this visa;
– TB: The Main Applicant and Dependants must each have a valid TB Certificate from an approved clinic, where necessary;
Dependants applying: The Hong Kong BNO visa route covers “immediate family dependents, comprising spouse or partner and children aged under 18”. Dependents do not need to have BNO status.
How long can a BN(O) apply for?
When applying for a Hong Kong BN(O) visa, there are two options in terms of length of visa:
• leave to remain in the UK for a period of five years; or
• leave to remain in the UK for an initial period of 30 months’ leave (2.5 years), renewable by a second charged application for a further 30 months (2.5 years).
Where can an application be made from? Applications can be made from Hong Kong, the UK and whilst on a visitor visa to the UK.
To apply for settlement, Hong Kong BN(O) visa holders must have 5 continuous years of residence in the UK. Further, clarification will need to be provided on whether this can be combined with time spent in other immigration routes. It will not be possible to extend the visa beyond 5 years.
In exceptional circumstances, a BN(O) national and their dependants can travel to the UK now and apply at the UK border for Leave Outside the Rules for a period of 6 months, provided they hold a passport which permits visa free travel to the UK and they hold full private health insurance. To submit this application, they will have to provide to the Immigration Officer they meet on arrival the same evidence as if they were making a full application for a BN(O) visa.
The new Hong Kong BN(O) visa rules will be published in the Autumn of 2020. Applications will open in January 2021. These applications are governed by Immigrations rules with strict requirements.
We recommend contacting us via email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this visa.