Moving From Hong Kong to the UK With Your BNO Passport

11 Mar 2022

The new BNO visa application is a game-changer for anyone planning to move from Hong Kong to the UK. If you are a holder of the Hong Kong BNO passport, now is the time to capitalize on this opportunity to move to a country with rich history, an amazing culture, and a ton of business and career and opportunities.

What does a BNO passport entitle me to in the UK?

If you are living in Hong Kong and are currently a holder of a BNO passport or eligible to apply for a BNO passport in the future, you will be entitled to a host of rights and benefits, including:

  • Be eligible to apply for a BNO visa to live and work in the UK
  • Be able to register as a British Citizen if you meet certain conditions
  • Get consular assistance and protection from UK diplomatic posts

Before 31 January 2021, a Hong Kong BNO passport holder was only allowed to visit the UK and stay there for up to 6 months without a visa. But since the introduction of the visa last year, any BNO holders who are successful with their BNO visa application are now entitled to a new sets of rights that make moving from Hong Kong to the UK much easier.

The various features of the BNO visa include:

  • Ability to bring immediate dependents, including non-BNO citizens
  • Permission to work and study in the UK, with no restrictions on employment
  • Ability to access NHS healthcare, having paid the Immigration Health Surcharge
  • Access to public education
  • Ability to stay for up to 5 years

This critical change in the British government’s policy has made moving from Hong Kong to the UK significantly easier. As long as you have BNO status, you can also begin your application even without a valid Hong Kong BNO passport in hand.

If you want to learn more about the BNO visa application process, visit the official UK government webpage here.

Can I still move to the UK if my BNO passport has expired?

If your Hong Kong BNO passport has expired, you will still be able to enter the UK and enjoy up to 6 months of visa-free stay with an HKSAR passport.

However, moving from Hong Kong to the UK is a more complicated matter.

If you have previously held a Hong Kong BNO passport but never renewed it after expiry, you can still get it renewed today and enjoy the same rights mentioned above.

You can even begin the application process without renewing your Hong Kong BNO passport if you have BNO status.

If you do not have a Hong Kong BNO passport or BNO status, you can start your visa application as a dependent family member of a BNO holder who is also moving from Hong Kong to the UK. See if you are eligible as a family member here.

Are there any other requirements for moving to the UK with BNO status?

There are many ways you can move from Hong Kong to the UK, such as applying for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, Tier 2 (General Work) visa, or applying to become a UK citizen through your BNO visa.

If you have a successful BNO visa application and live in the UK under your BNO visa for 5 years, you will become eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

To be eligible for ILR, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Proven continuous residence in the UK during the qualifying 5-year period
  • Have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12-month period

Once you have gained your ILR, you will be free from immigration control and have the right to stay in the UK indefinitely. After 12 months of ILR status, you will usually be eligible to register as a British citizen and complete your move from Hong Kong to the UK.

Where should I settle in the UK?

With a Hong Kong BNO passport or BNO visa, you will be able to enter the UK and begin working, studying, and settling down very quickly. However, you will have to adapt to a very different environment, make new friends, adjust to new culture and customs, and pay for new expenses. Choosing the right city to settle in will be vital for you and your family.

London

The capital is often the first-choice destination for young professionals and entrepreneurs moving from Hong Kong to the UK. Being one of the wealthiest and most advanced cities in the world, as well as a leading financial center, London poses a host of business and career opportunities. The competition is fierce, but those who are competitive will be rewarded.

While London is a very expensive city to live in, it will also offer you a level of convenience like Hong Kong. It has always been the most popular destination for Hong Kongers, and you will find it easy to settle in with the community they have built over the years. Learn more about the city and its opportunities here.

Birmingham

This region has been a popular destination for Hong Kongers in more recent times. It now has a large community of Hong Kongers and  is also the UK's youngest and fastest-growing regional cities, soon to be under 50 minutes from London via the new HS2 rail.

The population is growing, presenting new business opportunities, and the job market is less competitive than it is in London. If you decide to settle in Birmingham, investing in property is a great idea, as prices are significantly cheaper than the capital and have risen over 31% since 2014. Furthermore, the city is anticipated to see a substantial 19.5% house price growth in the next few years to 2025. Learn more about the city and its opportunities here.

The North

If you are a BNO passport holder moving to the UK from Hong Kong and prefer the colder climate, the Northern cities are the places to go.

As the UK economy continues to expand, cities such as Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Hull, and Newcastle are seeing an influx of investment and talent every year. More and more Hong Kongers are opting for these cities over London in search of greater opportunity for business and careers, not to mention more affordable housing and fantastic universities. Learn more about these cities and their opportunities here.

Should I buy property in the UK?

While the stock market becomes increasingly volatile, the real estate market continues it’s steady incline with no sign of slowing down. With prices significantly more affordable than Hong Kong and low borrowing rates, anyone moving from Hong Kong to the UK should be looking to buy property as an investment into their long term future.

The new BNO visa application has made it much easier to stay permanently in the UK, and a large amount of Hong Kongers with BNO passports will continue to move each year. This new influx of people requiring housing will be a catalyst for the market. If you are looking for a good investment opportunity, now is the time to act.

You can learn more about buying property in the UK, and the best cities in which to do so,  with free resources provided by IP Global. Take a look at them here.

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