Skip to main content


Important information for the end of the Brexit Transition Period and the EU Settlement Scheme, if you or your close family members are an EU / EEA Citizen

Contact Us

For advice on immigration,
nationality or human rights,
please contact us now.

Click here to subscribe to weekly updates for our news and blogs.

Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa route to open on 31 January 2021

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Following the introduction of the Chinese national security law and the crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, the UK Government announced last year that a new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (“BN(O)”) visa route would be made available to eligible Hong Kong nationals. It has now been confirmed that the new visa route will open on 31 January 2021.


Who is eligible?

The new route will be open to BN(O) citizens and their immediate family members (even if those immediate family members are not BN(O) citizens themselves) who are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong or the UK. In exceptional circumstances, other family members who are able to demonstrate a high degree of dependency on the BN(O) citizens may also apply.

The main applicant must be a BN(O) citizen under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986. 


What are the requirements?

Where an application for a BN(O) visa is made from outside the UK, the applicant must be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong. Applicants seeking permission to stay in the UK must be ordinarily resident in the UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Hong Kong.

There is a financial requirement to evidence the ability to adequately maintain and accommodate oneself (and/or dependants) in the UK for a minimum of at least six months. There is, however, no minimum threshold for savings, salary or income. In addition, where applicable, there is a requirement to undergo tuberculosis testing at an approved test centre. There is no English language requirement for the initial application. 


What are the visa holders’ entitlements?

Visa holders will be able to study and undertake work in almost any job role, including being self-employed. Visa holders will not, however, have access to public funds.


What is the route to settlement?

Visa holders will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK after five years. Time spent on a visa that leads to settlement will count towards the five years required. Visa holders will need to prove that they meet the English language requirements, have passed the Life in the UK test and have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 day in any 12 months in the previous five-year period relied on for the settlement application. 

Children under 18 and highly dependent adult family members can only apply for settlement if the main BN(O) applicant is applying for settlement at the same time or has already been granted settlement. 

Gherson has extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any queries relating to the blogs published on our site or are interested in talking to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for further advice. 

The information in these blogs is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in these blogs. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2021

Angela Lei 

  Angela Lei

  Consultant solicitor


Contact Us

For advice on immigration, nationality, extradition or human rights, please contact us now.

Contact Us