BNO Visa stands for British National Overseas, and the name is often associated with the former colony of Hong Kong. In this article, we will look at what this status entails, and the cost of becoming a BN(O).
For those born outside the UK, British National Overseas status (BN(O)) allows you to live and work in the UK during its validity period. While you cannot access public funds or apply for any benefits while in the UK, you can work and study. After five years, you can apply for settlement, also known as a permanent residence. To be eligible for settlement, you need to be an adult, have a British National Overseas status and meet residency requirements.
As of 31 January 2021, there is a new immigration route for BN(O) citizens. In addition to applying for a BN(O) visa, you can bring with you eligible dependents. This includes adult children born after 1 July 1997, their spouses, and any children under 18. In exceptional circumstances, the Home Office may grant a BN(O) visa to dependents who reside in the same household as the BN(O) citizen.
If the National Security Law is passed in China, the UK government will explore options for BN(O)s. Currently, BN(O)s from Hong Kong are granted leave to enter the UK for up to six months. The new law would undermine existing legal commitments between the UK and Hong Kong. The Home Office will release further details of the application process. After the announcement, the UK government will hold a Westminster Hall debate on BNO visa status.
Before the security law was passed, 350,000 Hong Kong residents held BN(O) passports. By the end of the year, the Home Office estimated that there would be 2.9 million BN(O)s in Hong Kong, accounting for 40% of the population of the city. The UK government plans to expand the program in October to include young people who have a parent with BN(O) status. So if you live in Hong Kong, consider applying for a British National Overseas passport today!
BN(O) visa holders from Hong Kong will not be eligible for permanent residency in the UK and may not have access to the NHS or public funds. While the British Government has defended this new policy, it has been criticized by some in the international community. Immigration watch and the Hong Kong Watch group are among those urging the government to provide consular protection for those with BN(O) status. In April 2005, Hong Kong Watch published a report on Ching Cheong’s case, which revealed that the British government had declined to give consular protection to senior journalists. Despite numerous pressure from civil rights groups, the British government refused to provide consular protection for Ching Cheong, who was imprisoned by the People’s Republic of China from April 2005 until February 2008.
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Rights of BNO in the UK
The right of abode is one of the most fundamental aspects of citizenship statuses around the world, but for BNOs, this right does not apply automatically. As such, BNOs are subject to immigration controls and are required to obtain work or study visas in order to enjoy these rights. The BNO status can only be obtained through certain procedures, however, including applying to register as a British citizen.
There are six types of British nationality. Those with British nationality are entitled to live and work in the UK and can also apply for UK citizenship. BN(O) citizens, for example, can apply for British citizenship if they are born in a British Overseas Territory, but they cannot pass their British citizenship on to other family members. In addition, BN(O) citizenship does not give citizens of British Overseas any special rights or benefits, and they cannot live and work in the UK automatically.
There are about 350,000 Hong Kong residents and 2.9 million BN(O)s who could apply for a UK residency visa if they have a passport from Hong Kong. These people would be eligible for UK residency after July 1, 2017, if they were born before that date. As such, the Home Office estimates that there will be about 2.9 million BN(O)s in Hong Kong by 2020, which is approximately 40% of Hong Kong’s population. In October, the UK government plans to expand the BN(O) program eligibility to include young people with a parent with BN(O) status.
Despite the widespread public perception, British Nationals abroad are not automatically granted the right to become British Nationals. In fact, most BNOs never applied for it. This would have been contrary to the assurances given to the PRC government, as the United Kingdom Memorandum to the Sino-British Joint Declaration uses the word “eligible to become British Nationals overseas”. The UK’s Foreign Office also emphasizes that there is no legal right to receive consular assistance from the UK and that consular assistance is always based on discretion.
Cost of becoming a BNO
In December 2020, a nurse from Hong Kong relocated to Nottingham, England, to work in the UK. During lockdowns due to the U.K.’s coronavirus crisis, the BNO visa application holder remained anonymous for fear of backlash from his new British colleagues. The nurse spoke to CNBC anonymously because he was afraid of being exposed to the new country’s security threats.
The UK government says that the new law was a serious breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which paved the way for Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997. The government is now working on a new route for BN(O) status holders to enter the UK. However, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the government was willing to give up a free trade deal with China to allow Hong Kong citizens to enter the UK.
The cost of becoming a British National Overseas citizen has increased dramatically over the past five years. While British citizens are still the majority of BN(O)s, those born before July 1997 are eligible for a BN(O) passport. In October of this year, the UK government plans to expand the BN(O) program to include young people whose parent has BN(O) status.
The BN(O) visa provides limited rights to live and work in the UK. Previously, BNOs had to apply for work and study visas separately. The new rules will make it easier for bones to apply for permanent residence. If you are considering applying for a BN(O) visa, there are several things you should know about it. Once you’ve mastered the English language and met residency requirements, you’re ready to become a British national overseas.