Home Secretary announces details of the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

Jul 23, 2020

The Home Secretary provided some further updates on the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa on 22nd July. The key take-away points are:

  • If you’re a BN(O) citizen, you can already stay in the UK as a visitor for up to 6 months without a visa. As a visitor, you do not have the right to live, work or take up long-term study in the UK.
  • The new route will be open for BN(O) citizens and their close family members from January 2021;
  • Applications can be made both inside and outside the UK;
  • There will be two options:
    • Apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK for an initial period of 30 months, which is extendable by a further period of 30 months; or
    • Apply to enter or remain in the UK for a single period of 5 years.
  • After 5 years of living in the UK, applicants will be able to apply to settle in the UK (“ILR”). After a further period of 12 months with ILR status, applicants can them apply for British citizenship.
  • During the initial period, these applicants will be able to work and study in the UK but will not be eligible to access public funds. Unlike other immigration routes, BN(O) Visa applicants will have access to the job market at any skill level and will not have to meet any salary thresholds.

There are several eligibility requirements to apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa. You will need able to evidence that you:

  • Have BN(O) status – you can use a valid or expired BN(O) citizen passport to evidence this;
  • Normally live in Hong Kong;
  • Can accommodate and support yourself financially in the UK for a period of at least 6 months;
  • Show commitment to learn English;
  • Get a TB test certificate from a Home Office approved clinic; and
  • Pay the immigration fee and the immigration health surcharge.

‘Leave Outside the Rules’

If there is no current immigration route available to you, Border Force may consider granting ‘Leave Outside the Rules’ for a period of 6 months. This can include yourself and your dependants. Evidence required for this route is: your identity; your BN(O) status; that you normally reside in Hong Kong; and that you can accommodate and support yourself financially in the UK.

Dependants include:

  1. Spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner (if together for more than two years);
  2. Children under the age of 18; and
  3. Other family members if there is evidence of a high level of dependency.

Evidence will be required to prove the relationship between yourself and your dependants. This could include marriage certificates, birth certificates and proof of residing together.

If entering via this route, you and your dependants can work and study, but you cannot access public funds or use the NHS for free.

Those eligible to do so will be able to switch to the Hong Kong BN(O) route once it is open, from within the UK.

If you require further advice regarding the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa or any other Immigration matters, please contact Bermeet Chokkar in our Immigration department at bermeet.chokkar@herrington-carmichael.com or on 0118 989 9700.

    This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter. 




    Latest Articles & Legal Insights

    The new Identity Verification App

    The new Identity Verification App

    As a response to COVID-19, UKVI is amending the way that it processes applications. In some cases, UKVI is allowing biometrics…

    New points-based system framework

    New points-based system framework

    Priti Patel has stated that the new points-based system framework will encourage employers to invest in workers from within the UK, whilst continuing to…

    Sign up

    Enter your email address for legal updates on Private Client & Family Law.

    Please see our privacy policy regarding use of your data.

    Top read insights in 2019

    Contract Law

    Material Breach of Contract

    What is a ‘material’ breach of contract by a party to a commercial contract? This is a critical issue regularly considered by the courts. What constitutes a material breach and what are the remedies?

    Property Law

    Purchasing Land – Option Agreements

    A developer and a landowner can enter into an Option Agreement. What are the strategies that can be employed by both landowners and developers to assist in such land deals?

    Divorce and Family Law

    What are the Tax Implications of a Civil Partnership?

    Is there a significant tax saving to be made by a couple who are married or in a civil partnership that cohabitating couples simply don’t qualify for?

    Land & Property Dispute

    Restrictive Covenants – The Price of Modification

    Having identified that your land is burdened by a restrictive covenant and for the purposes of this article the covenant in question will be that only one residential building can be erected on the land. What do you do next?

    Wills, Trusts and Probate

    Is my Will applicable to my Spanish property?

    You must be careful when relying on an English Will in relation to your Spanish property.

    Award winning legal advice

    We are solicitors in Camberley, Wokingham and London. In 2019, Herrington Carmichael won ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the Thames Valley Business Magazines Property Awards, ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath Business Awards and we were named IR Global’s ‘Member of the Year’. We are ranked as a Leading Firm 2020 by Legal 500 and Alistair McArthur is ranked in Chambers 2020.

    Awards | Accreditations 

    Accredited Conveyancing Lawyers
    Accredited Immigration & Asylum Lawyers
    Accredited Conveyancing Lawyers
    Accredited Immigration & Asylum Lawyers


    60 St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4JS 

    +44 (0) 203 755 0557



    Building 2  Watchmoor Park, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey. GU15 3YL

    +44 (0)1276 686 222



    Opening Soon

    +44 (0)118 977 4045


    © 2020 Herrington Carmichael LLP. Registered in England and Wales company number OC322293.

    Herrington Carmichael LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

    Privacy   |   Terms and Conditions   |   Cookies   |   Client Feedback