With an estimation of 2.9 million people from Hong Kong being eligible for a BN(O) visa and a total of 349,881 BN(O) passport holders as of 24 February 2020, we expect that there will be a large number of BN(O) applications forthcoming. Therefore, it is crucial that you start preparing the necessary documents and evidence required for the application before the opening of the scheme on 31 January 2021.
Below is a helpful summary of the requirements for the BN(O) Visa:
- Have a BN(O) status
- Normally live in Hong Kong
- Capable of accommodating and supporting yourself financially in the UK for at least 6 months
- Show a commitment to learning English, where appropriate
- Get a Tuberculosis (TB) test certificate from a clinic approved by the UK Home Office
- Pay a fee for the visa
- Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge
- Have no serious criminal convictions
Among the list, people have often raised questions regarding the ‘financial requirement’. For example, many clients have asked us the following questions:
- What does the ‘financial requirement’ entail?
- How do I prove that I have met the ‘financial requirement’?
- Would it be an issue if I am self-employed?
- What is the exact level of funds or money required?
- Is the ‘financial requirement’ the same as the ‘maintenance requirement’?
The BN(O) Visa ‘financial requirement’ and ‘maintenance requirement’ refer to the exact same condition. In order to fulfil this requirement, the BN(O) Visa applicant and their dependant(s) must be able to prove that they are capable of accommodating and financially supporting themselves in the UK for at least 6 months.
It is important to understand that the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa holders will have no recourse to public funds, such as any social welfare benefits, income support, universal credit, housing benefit, etc. Therefore, you must be able to independently provide for yourself and your dependents, including accommodation and financial support.
The minimum amount of funds required per applicant in order to show that you have met the ‘financial requirement’ means that the applicants must demonstrate that they can adequately maintain and accommodate themselves in the UK without recourse to public funds for at least six months. The rules say that: “Adequate” and “adequately” in relation to a maintenance and accommodation requirement means that, after income tax, national insurance contributions, and housing costs have been deducted, there must be available to the person or family the level of income or funds that would be available to them if the person or family was in receipt of income support.
For example, the UK Home Office has published a non-exhaustive list of documents that you may use to show that you meet the requirements:
- Bank statement showing your savings
- Evidence of regular income that will persist after you have moved to the UK (e.g. salary, investments, or pension payments)
- Investment details
- Receipt of educational grants from overseas
- An offer of employment in the UK
- Income of a partner, spouse, or other family members to which you have access (e.g. parental funding or aa spouse’s salary earned lawfully through work in the UK)
- An offer of accommodation from family or friends
The evidence above will need to cover the period of 6 months prior to the application, so it will be sensible to start gathering the necessary documents now.
With regards to the level of income or savings that your need to show to meet the financial requirement, we can search for indicators of the level of income that the Home Office requires from other applicants at the moment. The benchmark for financial security is usually above the level of income that the person would be entitled to if they were in receipt of Universal Credit or the level of savings for the Universal Credit level. Universal Credit is a state payment of support for those, who need help with the living costs in the UK and its level are constantly updated.
Please note that if you have lived in the UK for at least 12 months on the date of application, you will automatically meet the financial requirement without the need for further proof.
As explained, the list of evidence will be included in the new Appedix Finance and will contain requirements for specified evidence of finance. If you are unsure if the UK Home Office will accept your document as a form of evidence or if you want to check in advance whether you will meet the financial requirement, it is advisable to seek help from an immigration lawyer or adviser.
If you need guidance regarding the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa’s eligibility, please contact our experienced immigration solicitors today at 020 7427 5970 or [email protected].