To apply for a British National (Overseas) visa, you can start here if you are in the UK or here if you are outside of the UK. To extend your visa, you can go here. All these links go to the official pages of the UK government. They are all in English, so use an automatic translator (Google Translate or another) if you need one.
If you match these three main conditions, you can get a British National (Overseas) visa or a BNO visa. Recently, the rules changed to include people born after 1st July 1997. If you were previously not eligible due to being born after the Handover to China, you may now be eligible.
- You’re 18 or older and you are already a British national (overseas) citizen/passport holder. Or, you are the child of a person (either one or both parents) who has a British national (overseas) passport or confirmation. You are ordinarily residing in Hong Kong or the UK. (You can submit your application without a valid BNO passport because the UK Home Office should be able to verify your status using its records.)
- You can prove you have sufficient funds for 6 months unassisted in the UK. This can be your money, a family members, or a friends.
- You might need a TB test.
Read more below about applying for a BNO visa.
Do you have any questions or need help? Please send a message to email@example.com.
If you are looking for a job, we are not a recruitment agency but read on how to look for a job first and or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org about support for your job search.
All our support is free of charge. We don't give advice but just information. If you need expert advice, we'll find it for you.
How to apply for a British National (Overseas) visa
To apply for a British National (Overseas) visa or a BNO visa, you can start here if you are in the UK or here if you are outside of the UK. To extend your visa, you can go here. All these links go to the official pages of the UK government. They are all in English, so use an automatic translator (Google Translate or another) if you need one. If you would like
If you match these conditions, you can get a British National (Overseas) visa or a BNO visa.
- You’re 18 or older. You are a British national (overseas) citizen. Or you are the child of a British national (overseas) born on or after 1 July 1997. You can submit your application without a valid BNO passport because the UK Home Office should be able to verify your status using its records.
- Prove they can support themselves. The main applicant and their dependents must be able to live in the UK without social benefits for at least 6 months. Paying the health surcharge for immigration applications.
- You may need a TB certificate for your visa application. Whether you need a certificate depends on where you’re applying from. You may also get a TB test if you will be residing in the UK for more than 6 months. A list of HK hospitals and doctors providing the test is here.
Can your family members apply for a BNO visa.
If they qualify, your family members can apply for a BNO visa as your dependant. Unless they are your partner or a minor child, they must typically apply at the same time as you.
A dependent family member may be one of your:
- spouse, civil union partner, or unmarried companion (including same-sex couples)
- a kid or grandchild under the age of 18;
- a child or grandchild of a partner;
- a parent, grandparent, a brother, a sister, a son, or a daughter (18 or older) who lives with you and is largely reliant on you due to a disease, a disability, or old age.
How long you can stay in the UK with a BNO visa.
You may submit an application to stay for either of the following periods:
- 2 years and 6 months, or
- 5 years.
You will be able to extend your visa if you choose to stay longer and you are in the UK. You are permitted to request a visa extension as frequently as you like.
You can apply to stay in the UK permanently after five years of residing there. Note that this is a continuous stay, meaning you cannot be out of the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period without good reason. For guidance on what ‘continuous stay’ means, see this UK government document. After one year of being granted an indefinite residence permit, the applicant can apply to become a full British citizen.
What are your rights in the UK on a BNO visa.
Those on a BNO visa have the right to work or be self-employed in the UK or study in the UK. However, they will not be able to apply for most welfare benefits. You can enjoy free medical care but you will have to pay a healthcare surcharge.
You might be able to receive some welfare benefits once you hold a BNO visa. That’s in the case if you cannot afford housing or food or heating for you or your children.
How much does a BNO visa cost.
If you want to apply or to switch to or extend a British National (Overseas) visa, you want to:
- pay the application fee for a visa.
- pay the healthcare additional fee.
When you first apply, you must demonstrate that you have the resources to sustain your family while in the UK for at least six months.
Application fee for BNO visas.
There is a visa application fee that you and your family members will each have to pay.
- If you’re requesting 2 years and 6 months, the fee is £180 (approx. $1800)
- If you’re requesting five years, the fee is £250 (approx. $2500)
You might need to schedule a meeting to provide your biometric data as part of your application, that is fingerprints and a photo.
You will be responsible for paying the healthcare surcharge along with your family members upon application.
You can then use the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Some NHS services, such as medications, dental work, and eye exams, nevertheless require payment.
It costs the following per adult (18 or older):
- If you intend to stay for two years and six months, the cost will be £1,560 (approx. $15,600)
- If you intend to stay for five years, the cost is £ 3,120 (approx. $31,200)
It costs: For each minor (under 18):
- If you intend to stay for two years and six months, the cost will be £1,175. (approx. $11,750)
- £2,350 if you’re committing to a five-year stay (approx. $23,500)
The healthcare fee is paid when you apply for a visa online.
Sufficient resources for your family’s support.
When you apply for the first time, you must demonstrate that you have the resources to pay for your accommodation as well as your family’s needs for six months.
This may consist of:
Your current work in the UK, your savings, and any money you will receive from family members
monetary compensation from your new work in the UK with your existing employer; a promise of support from relatives or friends;
If you have been in the UK for 12 months or longer, you often do not need to demonstrate that you have the financial means to sustain yourself. If you were in the UK on this date, you must still prove it.
You’ll need housing expenses paid for, as well as at least as much as someone on UK income support would receive.
Depending on how many members of your family are applying with you, you may require more money. For instance, you’ll require roughly:
- £2,000 for an adult single (approx. $20,000)
- With a child, a couple would pay £ 3,100 (approx. $31,000)
- With three kids, they would pay £ 4,600 (approx. $46,000)
- £9,200 for a married couple (with two parents and two grown children) (approx. $92,000)
What documents do you need for a BNO visa application
When you apply, you want to present a valid passport or another kind of documentation that attests to your identity and nationality.
British nationals (abroad) may demonstrate their BNO status when applying by presenting a valid or expired BNO passport (or a photocopy).
Even if you don’t have a BNO passport any longer, you can still apply. The Home Office will look into your case, although it can take longer to hear back about your application.
To enter the UK, there is no need for a BNO passport. You may use any valid passport or travel document.
You want to offer proof of the following facts. Any documents that are not in English must be submitted with a certified translation, so it is easier to ask for English copies on request.
- Your main residence is either Hong Kong, the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.
You can prove this with a utility bill or any document sent by any organization that shows your name with your address, e.g. bank statement, HK Electric/China Light and Power statement, etc.
Your family members, who want to come with you as dependents, will need to provide evidence that their permanent home address is the same as yours through the same means. Your partner or child under 18 doesn’t need to prove their address, nor any dependant who’s applying after you’ve already moved to the UK.
- You have sufficient income for your family and yourself.
That can be a bank statement, payslips, or proof of income from self-employment or renting property. These documents can come from you or your family member or a friend that wants to support you financially.
- How you interact with your dependant family members.
Your members, who want to come as dependants will be required to give proof of your relationship with them. That can be an official copy of the marriage or civil partnership certificate. Proof confirming your children’s permanent address is the same as yours, such as a birth certificate or adoption certificate.
- If you did not already submit a copy of your tuberculosis (TB) test certificate when you first arrived in the UK.
You can read more details about documentation on this Home Office page, it’s in English.
This is a welcome guide for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa holders in the UK, in English and Chinese.
The conversion rate is around 10GBP to $100HKD depending on the daily rate.
Source: Immigration.uk, Gov.uk.
Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash