Two weeks after the Hong Kong BNO Visa opened, The Times reported that over 5,000 applications have already been received. The immigration route for British Overseas Nationals (BNO) offers up to 5.4 million Hongkongers a five-year visa and a path to full British citizenship. It is predicted that around 300,000 people will apply for the visa within the next five years.
Lord Patten of Barnes, the last British Governor of Hong Kong, commented:
“One of the most positive things that any government has done has been to offer a route to safety and citizenship in Britain to those for whom we have in the past borne some responsibility. I think the home secretary and the foreign secretary have been admirably swift.
“The fact that the number is already 5,000 gives some indication of the concern felt by people in Hong Kong that their freedoms have been taken away and this comes of course at a time when the trial has opened for a number of those who have been regarded as moderate founders of democracy campaigns in Hong Kong. I’m sure that many of the talented people who come from Hong Kong will be made very welcome here and will make a huge contribution to our country.”
Below is a quick guide to applying for a Hong Kong BNO Visa. Our Immigration Solicitors in London and Birmingham can provide expert advice on making an application, giving you the best chance of having you and your family members’ visas approved.
British Overseas Territories citizens from Hong Kong who did not register as British nationals (overseas) and had no other nationality or citizenship on 30 June 1997 became British overseas citizens on 1 July 1997.
If you are over the age of 24, you are likely to have BNO status.
You can apply for a Hong Kong BNO Visa from outside the country or within the UK (almost half of the current applicants are already in Britain, having been granted leave via another immigration route).
If you are applying from outside the UK, your permanent home must be in Hong Kong. If you are making an in-country application, your permanent home must be in the UK, Hong Kong, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. You will need to include up to three documents to prove your address: for example, a utility bill, bank statements, or a letter from a local authority.
Your dependent family members may also be eligible to apply for a BNO Visa with you. Dependent family members are:
Documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and/or evidence that adult family member applicants live with you will need to be included in your application.
Unless you have been living in the UK for 12 months or more, you will need to show you have enough money to support yourself and any dependent family members for six months.
The amounts required are:
All applicants will need to pay the healthcare surcharge, which is as follows:
The healthcare surcharge for children is:
The Hong Kong BNO Visa initially allows you to stay in the UK for five years. After this time, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. To be eligible, you and any family members applying will need to pass the English language test and the Life in the UK test.
Your immigration lawyer will assist you with making your application and stay in contact over the five-year period to ensure that when it comes time to apply for Settlement, you and your family have taken the steps required to be eligible.
Please phone our office on 0121 777 7715 to make an appointment with one of our immigration lawyers to discuss how we can help you with your Hong Kong BNO Visa application.