British National Overseas (BNO) visa route is opening on 31 January 2021
With the new visa route opening up this weekend, here is a recap of what is BNO visa, who can apply for a BNO visa and what do you need to have to apply:
What is BNO visa?
The visa route is designed for British nationals (overseas) and their close family members to enter and stay in the UK for a longer period. The route leads to settlement and British nationality provided the applicant met all the requirements. You can read more about this visa HERE.
Who can apply for a BNO visa?
You can apply for the BNO visa if you are a British national (overseas) or a family member. Family members are those who normally live with you. This includes your spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner; your children (under 18 years old); your adult children (born on or after 1 July 1997 and their spouse, and their children under 18 years old) and other family members in some cases, provided they depend on you and are considered of the same household. You will need to meet certain requirements, such as residence and finance requirements to apply.
What documents do I need to apply?
The main applicant will need the evidence of your British national (overseas) status, such as your passport, and a valid Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport to travel to the UK if you don’t have a valid British national (overseas) passport.
You and your family members will also need to provide evidence of your residency in Hong Kong and, if you are already in the UK, your residence in the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man.
In addition, you need to provide evidence of sufficient maintenance funds and accommodation to support yourself and any family members to live in the UK for at least six months. You can submit your bank statements to show you have cash savings available for you. Any evidence of other income include a paid job in the UK, for example, if you are already in the UK, any investment or rental income etc. You can also provide supporting letters from friends or family who can provide accommodation for you upon your arrival.
You will also need a Tuberculosis (TB) certificate issued within six months of your application confirming you do not have TB. This is if you are living and applying from Hong Kong. If you have been in the UK already under Leave To Remain Outside Rules (LOTR) that was given to you at the border, you will also need to provide a TB test certificate from an approved clinic. Children and pregnant women also need to provide a TB certificate, but they may not need to have a chest X-ray. You can find more information for approved test clinics HERE.
Can I apply for Settlement and British citizenship?
Once you and your family have lived here for 5 years, the BNO route allows settlement in the UK provided you meet the legal requirements for Settlement. You will need to show that you know the language and knowledge of Life in the UK, as well as to meet residence requirements.
If you have already spent some time in the UK on a route to settlement, for example, a Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa, you can add the time to your 5 years. Only time spent on a visa route that leads to settlement can be counted towards the 5 year period. Therefore, any Tier 4 / Student visa or Tier 5 Temporary Worker visa holders are not able to rely on the time they have spent in the UK under these routes. Your dependents will only be able to apply for settlement, if the main applicant has applied and was eligible for it.
You can apply for British citizenship once you have been settled in the UK for 12 months and meet the requirements for British nationality.
Need help with your visa application?
Taylor Hampton’s immigration solicitors have assisted numerous clients in securing their UK visas and British nationality. If you need legal assistance with your applications or wish to know more about the BNO visa, please contact Taylor Hampton’s immigration today on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE.