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The bespoke UK Citizenship route for Hong Kong BNO’s officially opens this weekend.

However, the Home Office has revealed that they have already allowed 7,000 British National Overseas (BNO) Hong Kong nationals to settle in the UK ahead of the launch date of 31st January 2021. Applicants can also bring in their dependents from the same households. Parents and grandparents as well as older children – above the age of 18 – will be considered on a case-by-case basis once high dependency is proven.

This route was announced in July last year after our Prime Minister announced that a “serious breach” of the UK-China treaty following the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 was made by China. With approximately 3.0 million Hong Kong residents holding BNO status, this UK citizenship scheme has proved to be popular, cheaper and less onerous than the other citizenship routes.

Holders of BNO passports and those who registered as BNO’s will be able to move and settle here in the UK as soon as their application is approved. Although they will still be required to meet all the immigration rules, they will have access to schools and healthcare once the Immigration Health Surcharge is paid and they meet all the visa requirements. After 5 years, they can apply for indefinite residence. One year after that, UK citizenship will be open to them.

BNO passport holders who are already in the UK can also apply for this citizenship route and will be granted settlement under the exception of “leave outside the rules” if they meet the criteria.

Each application will be personal to the individual and family. The Nathanson Partnership has a team of advisors ready to assist BNO clients who are considering this route. Please visit our BNO Citizenship page for further information. We have also prepared guidance and frequently asked questions (FAQ) on this citizenship program. This is available in English and Chinese.

Please contact us for a free initial assessment, advice or guidance on this new citizenship program.



Bee has more than 18 years’ experience in UK immigration and nationality law and has been advising businesses that have been expanding into the UK or growing their UK presence or workforce.