British Nationals (Overseas) visa: What you need to know

The Home office have recently issued guidance pertaining to those from Hong Kong who are British Nationals (overseas) and how they and their family members can apply for a British National (Overseas) visa.

Here’s what you need to know.

(Updated as of 31 January 2021)

Who can apply for a British Nationals Overseas visa?

Applications for a BNO visa can be made if you’re:

  • A British national (overseas)
  • 18 or older

Additionally, your permanent address must be:

  • Hong Kong (if applying from outside the UK)
  • UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, or Hong Kong, if applying within the UK

Please note eligible family members can apply for a BNO visa with you, but they must apply at the same time. They cannot make applications once you have received a decision.

How long can I stay in the UK if I am successful in my application for a British Nationals Overseas visa?

Applicants can stay for either:

  • 2 years and 6 months
  • 5 years

Please note that you can make multiple applications to extend your visa should you wish to stay longer.

Can I stay in the UK permanently on my British Nationals Overseas visa?

After 5 years on a BNO visa, you can make an ‘indefinite leave to remain’ application. This grants you the ability to stay in the UK without a time-limit. Time spent on another visa may count towards the 5 years. However, Student Visa or Youth mobility Scheme visas will not count towards this time.

To apply for ILR, you will need to:

  • Meet the English knowledge requirements
  • Pass the Life in the UK Test
  • Spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period during the last 5 years
  • Pay an application fee

Once you’ve spent a year in the UK in your settled status (‘Indefinite leave to remain’), you are usually eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Please be advised that the above information is not exhaustive as there are more requirements and points to consider.

For more information provided by Bolton’s leading Immigration Solicitors on British National (Overseas) visa, send an email to or contact us on 01204 531 535 to book a telephone/Skype consultation. The fee is £30.

Thank you for your cooperation and stay safe.

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