U.K. govt launches digital process for Hong Kong BN (O) visa applications


23rd February 2021 – (London) The British government said today (23rd) that it will open a mobile application from 5pm this afternoon, allowing holders of British Hong Kong National (Overseas) passports (BNO) with certain biometrics to scan and apply for visas through their smartphones, allowing BNO holders to become the first non-EEA (European Economic Area) citizens who can use the system.

The British government also stated that the app allows visa applications to be submitted within or outside the UK, allowing holders of BNO, Hong Kong SAR passports, or EU passports to submit their biometrics and verify their identity without having to go to the Visa Application Center for relevant manual identification. It is described as a new visa channel open to BNO holders. The statement also stated that since the opening of visas for Hong Kong residents holding the British Hong Kong National (Overseas) Passport (BNO) on 31st January, thousands of BNO holders and their family members have applied for this visa to live in the U.K.

From 15th July last year to 16th February this year, about 9,000 people entered the UK through “Leave Outside the Rules (“LOtR”). The Chinese government implemented the “Hong Kong National Security Law” in Hong Kong in June last year, and the British government believed that the law clearly violates the provisions of the “Sino-British Joint Declaration” to ensure the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people and maintain a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong. Hence, the British government retaliated by introducing new immigration channels for BNO holders and provide them and their families with opportunities to live, work and study in the UK.