Overview

If you’re from Hong Kong and are a British national (overseas) you and your family members can apply for a British National (Overseas) visa. This is known as a BNO visa. It allows you to live, work and study in the UK.

You can apply for the BNO visa from overseas, but you should wait for a decision on your application before you travel to the UK.

Who can apply

You can apply for a BNO visa if you’re:

Your permanent home must be:

  • in Hong Kong, if you’re applying from outside the UK
  • in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Hong Kong if you’re applying in the UK

Your family members

Your family members can apply for a BNO visa if they’re eligible. They must usually apply at the same time as you, unless they are your partner or your child under the age of 18.

Check if your family members can apply.

How long you can stay

You can apply to stay for either:

  • 2 years and 6 months
  • 5 years

You will be able to extend your visa once you’re in the UK if you want to stay longer. You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you want.

After you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years, you can apply to live in the UK permanently.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work (except you cannot work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach)
  • study (including at school, college or university)

You cannot usually apply for most benefits (public funds).

Once you have a BNO visa, you might be able to apply for access to benefits. You’ll be eligible for this in certain financial circumstances, for example if you:

  • do not have a place to live and cannot afford one
  • have a place to live but cannot afford essential living costs like food or heating
  • are at risk of losing your place to live or being unable to afford essential living costs
  • have a very low income, and not having access to benefits would harm your child’s wellbeing