Start typing and hit "Enter" to search.
New visa scheme for Hong Kong nationals thumbnail image 1

New Visa Scheme for Hong Kong Nationals Now Open for Applications & How You Can Get Help with Your Application

Since the opening of the new BNO visa for Hong Kong nationals, it is fair to say that we have received a substantial increase in enquiries for those hoping to use the new immigration scheme. The new visa was introduced by the UK’s Home Office in response to the security crackdown by the Chinese government on the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong in 2020. The new scheme potentially paves the way for three million Hong Kong nationals to come to the UK to live, work, and study. When the UK Government initially mooted the idea of the new visa in response to the introduction of the National Security Law by China, considerable discontent was raised by the Chinese authorities at the move. The UK has, however, made good on its plans, and the new Hong Kong visa scheme for those with BNO status in Hong Kong is now live and open for new applications. In this article, we will discuss the new BNO visa for Hong Kong nationals, the response by the Chinese, the main eligibility criteria, and how to get help with your application.

Announcing the New BNO Visa For Hong Kong Nationals

The BNO visa scheme went live on Sunday 31st January 2021, and is now open to applications. Announcing the scheme, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said , “I am immensely proud that we have brought in this new route for Hong Kong BN(O)s to live, work and make their home in our country. In doing so we have honoured our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong, and we have stood up for freedom and autonomy – values both the UK and Hong Kong hold dear”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also stated, “We have been clear we won’t look the other way when it comes to Hong Kong. We will live up to our historic responsibility to its people. China’s imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration contrary to international law. With the launch of this new visa route, BN(O) citizens will now have a choice to come and live, work and study in the UK”.

China Refuses to Recognise BNO Passport

In response to the introduction of the BNO visa by the UK, the Chinese government doubled down on their intense dissatisfaction with the move, announcing they will no longer recognise BNO passports held by Hong Kong nationals as a valid form of travel documentation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, stated, “This move seriously infringes on China’s sovereignty, grossly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, and seriously violates international law and the basic norms of international relations,”. “China will no longer recognize the so-called BNO passport as a travel document and proof of identity starting from 31st January, and reserves the right to take further measures”. Recognising that those with BNO passports may be nervous about applying, the new application process removes the need to physically attend a visa application centre in Hong Kong to register biometric information; this can now be done using an online mobile phone app instead.

What Are the Eligibility Rules for The New Hong Kong BNO Visa?

The new scheme is open to those with British National (overseas) status, and their family members. In order to apply, you must:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Have your main home in Hong Kong (if applying outside of the UK)
  • Have your main home in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, or Hong Kong (if applying in the UK)

Family members will be able to secure a BNO visa if they are classed as a ‘dependant’ of the main applicant; this means that they are one of the following:

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

The immigration rules state that family members must apply at the same time as the main applicant/s, as it is not possible to apply separately once you have your decision.

What Are the Benefits of The New BNO Visa For Hong Kong Nationals?

If granted a BNO visa, you will be able to work, study, and live in the UK for either 30 months or 60 months (depending on which option you choose when applying). While the BNO visa itself does not permit permanent residency, it provides a gateway to indefinite leave to remain (ILR). This is because BNO visa holders who have been in the UK for five years will be eligible to apply for ILR. After holding ILR for one year, you will then be able to apply for British citizenship if you choose to do so.

How Do I Apply for A BNO Visa?

The application process is completed online using the UK Home Office website. The application fee is £180 for those applying for two years and six months, and £250 for those applying for five years. You will also need to pay £19.20 to register your biometric information. The largest cost for applicants will be the healthcare surcharge, which allows the use of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) by migrants. This is £1,560 for adults and £1,175 for children (if applying for two years and six months), and £3,120 for adults and £2,350 for children (if applying for five years).

Wrapping Up - Getting Help with Your Application

Moving from Hong Kong to the UK is a considerable undertaking, especially if you have a family. You may need to make arrangements for your property in Hong Kong, find new employment and accommodation in the UK, and organise your possessions. For this reason, it is recommended that you engage the services of an immigration Solicitor to advise you on the application process, and if you choose, to handle the process on your behalf. This will not only ensure that your application has the best chance of being successful and processed quickly, it will allow you to focus on your needs and those of your family members at such an exciting but potentially stressful time.

Get In Touch


Some of our Happy Client

Reiss Edwards Awards

ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated
Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge
Lexology Legal Influencers
ACQ5 Awards Award ACQ5 Awards Award
Lexis Nexis Lexis Nexis
Three Best Rated Three Best Rated
Department For International Development Department For International Development
University Of Cambridge University Of Cambridge
Lexology Legal Influencers Lexology Legal Influencers

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

Read More

Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

Read More

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

Read More

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

Read More