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The UK Creates a New Immigration Route for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Citizens


The UK announced a new ‘Hong Kong BN(O) Visa’ for British National (Overseas) citizens and their dependants from January 2021. These citizens will be able to apply for the route inside or outside the UK borders.


BN(O) citizens will be allowed to enter the UK for an initial period of 30 months plus further 30 months’ extension – or for a single period of five years. They will have the right to work and study, yet without access to public funds, NHS and welfare perks.


British Nationals Overseas retain the right for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years of residence - and the UK citizenship after a year of holding the ILR.


To follow the route, the applicants will need to:


  • Have BN(O) status

  • Live in Hong Kong

  • Have enough funds to support themselves financially in the UK for at least half a year

  • Show commitment to learn English if required

  • Get a tuberculosis test certificate from an approved clinic

  • Pay a fee and the immigration health surcharge

  • Get familiar with Hong Kong BN(O) settlement visa policy statement


Before the new route becomes available, Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependants can enter the UK and get a ‘Leave Outside the Rules’ for a period of six months. They will have to show their identity, prove residence in Hong Kong and enough funds to support themselves and the family, as well as reveal evidence of dependant links. Dependants may include spouses, civil partners, underage children and other family members with a high level of dependency.


To get a ‘Leave Outside the Rules’, the person should usually live in Hong Kong. Here are the documents that can be used as proof of residence:


  • Hong Kong ID

  • Letter from an employer or educational institution, or an educational record/report

  • Hong Kong medical card

  • Voter’s card

  • Visa/residence permit

  • Tax record

  • Letter from a government department in Hong Kong

  • Mortgage or rent payment slips


– and other documents considered case by case.


To prove your capacity to accommodate and support yourself and your family/dependants financially, you can show:


  • Bank statements

  • Proof of regular consistent income: salary, investment, pensions

  • Investment details

  • Details of educational grants from outside of the UK

  • Employment offer in UK

  • Proof of dependants’ income, and other documents.


Documents eligible as evidence of your relationship with dependants may vary. For spouses and civil partners, relevant certificates should be provided. Unmarried partners will need to prove joint residence for at least two years. For children, a full birth or adoption certificate will do the job.


Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Moscow, Dubai, Cyprus and China and offers residency & citizenship investment solutions in the UK, EU & the Caribbean. Astons is a committed and regulated Member of the Investment Migration Council (IMC), for EU & Caribbean investment immigration.  


For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at or call +44 207 292 2977.