BNO Visa: British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong visa route

The British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong visa route (BNO visa) opened on 31 January 2021, providing a new visa route for certain British Nationals (overseas) and certain family members who want to come live and work in the UK.


A new smartphone app launched on 23 February to ease the application process.


In order to apply, the applicant must:

  • be a British National (overseas);
  • be 18 years old or over, and;
  • have their permanent home in Hong Kong, if applying from outside the UK; or in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Hong Kong if applying inside the UK.

Applicants will usually also need to show they have enough money to pay for their housing and support themselves as well as their family for 6 months, although there are exemptions from this financial requirement.  There is no English language requirement to apply for the visa (although this is required in order to apply for settlement). Full details on the eligibility criteria can be found here.

Length of Visa

Applicants can apply for a visa for either 2 years and 6 months or 5 years. Applicants can extend their visa as many times as they want and may be eligible for settlement after 5 years of continuous lawful residence in the UK in this category, or a combination of this visa category and certain other categories. 

Family Members

Certain qualifying family members can also join the main applicant to come to the UK. Generally, they  must live with the main applicant and can include:

  • husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • child or grandchild under 18
  • child 18 or older, born on or after 1 July 1997 (and their partner or child under 18)
  • parent, grandparent, brother, sister, son or daughter (18 or older) if they live with you and are very dependent on you for their care

Family member applications must usually be made at the same time as the main applicant. Full details on qualifying family members and how to apply can be found here.

What qualifying individuals can do with this visa

Those who qualify for this visa will be able work in the UK in most jobs (except as a professional sportsperson or sport coach). Individuals who qualify for this visa can also study in the UK (including at school, college or university). Further details can be found here

As mentioned above, this visa is also a route to settlement in the UK. This means that those who live in the UK under this visa for 5 years  may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (subject to meeting the requirements of this in place at that time). Further details on settling in the UK under this route can be found here.