Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law
EU Settlement Scheme course now available FREE to members
BNO visa app launches in February 2021

BNO visa app launches in February 2021

Government press offices have a habit of re-announcing popular policies, and so it is with the BNO visa. The Home Office has confirmed that the special visa scheme for people from Hong Kong with British National (Overseas) citizenship opens for applications from 31 January 2021.

The application process is digital first: applicants with a biometric chip in their passport will be able to use a smartphone app, just like with the EU Settlement Scheme, rather than turn up to a visa appointment in person. This Covid-friendly process only starts up on 23 February, though. In that sense you could argue that the start of the scheme has in fact been delayed by a few weeks.

As a holding measure, BNO citizens have been able to get leave outside the Rules at the border since last summer. This allows people to enter and stay in the UK legally while waiting for the BNO visa scheme proper to begin. The Home Office has extended that concession until “after the route becomes fully digital”. So far, around 7,000 BNO citizens and their family members have been granted leave outside the Rules in this way.

The Home Office press release draws attention to the economic benefits expected from any influx of Hongkongers. While precise forecasting is impossible, the central estimate is that between 258,000 and 322,000 BNO citizens and their family members could come to the UK. “This”, the department proclaims, “would suggest a net benefit to the UK of between £2.4 billion and £2.9 billion over five years”.

CJ McKinney

CJ is Free Movement's deputy editor. He's here to make sure that the website is on top of everything that happens in the world of immigration law, whether by writing articles, commissioning them out or considering submissions. When not writing about immigration law, CJ covers wider legal affairs at the website Legal Cheek and on Twitter: follow him @mckinneytweets.

There are comments on this article.

Only members can view and comment on articles, as well as many other benefits.

Explore membership now
X
Not yet a member?

Get unlimited access to articles, a thriving forum, free e-books, online training materials with downloadable training certificates, and much more.

Worried about preparing an immigration application yourself?

Try our Full Representation Service, provided by Seraphus Solicitors.

Join Now

Benefits Include

  • Clear, transparent fees
  • Fees fixed for each stage of your application or appeal
  • Personal client web access page and messaging system
  • Online payments, document upload & video calls
  • Expert representation
Shares