The British National Overseas (BNO) visa is a new immigration route that opened to applications on 31 January 2021. This visa is open to Hong Kong citizens who have British National (Overseas) status, and their close family members.

Your BNO Visa will be granted for up to 5 years, after which you can settle in the UK.


Someone who was a British overseas territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong was able to register as a British national (overseas) before 1 July 1997.

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.

BNOs can use a type of British passport and seek consular assistance and protection from most UK diplomatic posts – apart from in China, Hong Kong or Macao. They do not, however, have the right of abode in the UK, and are subject to UK visa requirements.

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You should note that the following conditions will apply to your stay in the UK in this category.

You will be permitted the following activities on your BNO visa:

  • Work and study in the UK
  • Use the NHS services for free
  • Bring your dependent family members including adult children born on or after 1 July 1997 (and their spouse, or child under the age of 18)
  • Extend your visa
  • Settle in the UK


You will not be able to do the following in the UK on your BNO visa:

  • Work as a professional sportsperson
  • Claim public funds (most benefits)

Fairmont Lawyers can provide you with professional legal assistance every step of the way to obtain a BNO visa.


The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your travel to the UK.

You can apply to stay for either:

  • 2 years and 6 months
  • 5 years

You can extend your BNO visa as many times as you like and apply to settle in the UK after 5 years if you meet other eligibility criteria.

The current fees for a BNO visa (from October 2021) are as follows:

  • £180 if you’re applying for 2 years and 6 months
  • £250 if you’re applying for 5 years

If you are applying in the UK, you will also need to pay £19.20 for biometric enrolment. The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) is £624 per each year of the visa unless you are exempt. The Home Office reviews its fees and these may be subject to increase in the future.

It takes around 12 weeks to get a decision on an application for BNO visa.

However, some delays may occur depending on your individual circumstances or the Home Office/UKVI.