Detailed guide: British National Overseas (BNO) visa

Home Office

January 22
11:05 2021

About this visa

The UK will open a British National Overseas (BNO) visa for British nationals (overseas) and their close family members from 31 January 2021.

Youll be able to apply to enter or stay in the UK for a period of 30 months (which you can extend by a further 30 months) or a period of 5 years. Youll be able to apply from outside or inside the UK.

Youll be able to apply for settlement after 5 years if you meet the requirements, and British citizenship 12 months after settlement.

This page will be updated with the latest information about this new visa.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

You cannot:

Your children will be able to:

  • attend school if they are under 18 (all state schools are free)
  • attend education and training if they are aged 16 to 19

Who can apply

You can apply for the BNO visa if you are a British national (overseas). You dont need a valid a British national (overseas) passport to show this and you dont need to request a new passport if its expired or has been lost. However, if you have an expired British national (overseas) passport you should still submit it with your application.

Youll need a valid travel document and you can use a valid Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport to travel if you have one.

Family members

Your family members who normally live with you may also be able to apply, including your:

  • spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • child (under the age of 18)
  • adult child born on or after 1 July 1997 (and their spouse, or child under the age of 18)
  • other family members (parent, grandparent, brother, sister, son or daughter) in exceptional circumstances where there is a high level of dependency

Children under 18 must intend to live with their parents during their stay in the UK, unless there is a good reason why they cannot.

Residency requirements

If youre applying from outside the UK, you and your family members must normally live in Hong Kong.

If youre already in the UK, you must normally live in the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, or Hong Kong.

More information on how to show where you normally live will be on the application form available from 31 January 2021.

Money youll need

You must show that you can accommodate and provide financial support for yourself and your family members for at least 6 months in the UK.

You can show this through:

  • money in your bank account
  • income you get from a current job in the UK (including self-employment)
  • any other income you get (for example from renting out a property)
  • offers of support or accommodation from friends or family

Youll need to provide evidence such as:

  • bank statements
  • letters from friends or family with evidence they have the money to support you and your family members

These documents must be in English, or in the original language with a certified English translation.

More information on what documents you need will be on the application form available from 31 January 2021.

You wont need to meet this requirement if youve been living in the UK for more than a year when you apply.

Tuberculosis (TB) certificate requirement

Applying from outside the UK

If you normally live in Hong Kong or youve been living in one of these countries for the past 6 months, you must provide a tuberculosis (TB) test certificate from an approved centre.

Applying from inside the UK

If you are already in the UK, Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isle of Man, and your last grant of permission was for 6 months or less (for example you were granted Leave Outside the Rules at the border), you must provide a TB test certificate.

This can either be from an approved centre in the UK in the UK or, if you already obtained a TB test certificate before travelling to the UK, from an approved test centre outside the UK. The certificate must still be valid (unexpired) on the date of application.

You will not need to provide a TB test certificate if you were last given permission to stay in the UK for more than 6 months and youve provided a TB test certificate before.

How to apply

Youll be able to apply for the BNO visa from 31 January 2021.

If youre applying as a family unit, you must apply together. The main applicant who is a British national (overseas) should apply first and get their unique reference number. Any family members applying will need to quote this unique reference number in their applications.

If your family members do not apply with you, they will not be able to apply for the BNO visa to join you later.

Children under 18 should apply with both of their parents, although there are some exceptions.

If you or your family members travel at different times to the UK, you may not all qualify to settle in the UK at the same time and may have to make further applications for permission to stay in the UK to meet the 5 years required.


Youll need to pay the following fee and each of your family members will need to pay the fee too:

  • 180 to apply to stay for 30 months
  • 250 to apply to stay for 5 years

Immigration Health Surcharge

Youll need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) in full when you apply for the BNO visa.

For each adult this will be:

  • 1,560 if youre applying to stay for 30 months
  • 3,120 if youre applying to stay for 5 years

For each child under the age of 18, this will be:

  • 1,175 if youre applying to stay for 30 months
  • 2,350 if youre applying to stay for 5 years

You can start using the National Health Service (NHS) when both:

  • youve paid the IHS
  • your visa or immigration application is granted

Youll still need to pay for certain types of services, such as prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and assisted conception.

Settlement and citizenship

Youll be able to apply to settle in the UK (also called indefinite leave to remain) once youve lived here for 5 years.

If youve already spent time in the UK on a route to settlement (for example, a general work (Tier 2) visa), this time will count towards the 5 years.

Time spent on Tier 4 (now called the Student visa) or Tier 5 (now called the Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5)) are not routes to settlement and will not count towards the 5 years.

Youll need to:

Youll be able to apply for citizenship once youve been settled in the UK for 12 months. Youll need to pay a fee to apply for citizenship.

Children under 18 and highly dependent adult family members can only apply for settlement if the main British national (overseas) applicant is applying for settlement at the same time, or has already been granted sett

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