United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom - Passport & Nationality - British Nationality and Hong Kong

The Chinese Government has recently implemented a new Nationality Security law on the people of Hong Kong in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration agreed in 1997.

In response to this, the UK Government has announced a new scheme which will ultimately allow the majority of those resident in Hong Kong with ties to the former British Colony through birth or descent to settle in the UK. The new visa scheme will be implemented over the course of the next few months. We understand that it will result in any person holding the form of British Nationality called "British National Overseas" (or BNO) being able to settle in the UK.

This form of British Nationality was made available to those connected to the former British Colony in the lead up to handover to China in 1997. A passport application was required to take up this status before 1997 and therefore it is not possible for anyone who is not already a British National Overseas to acquire this status now. However, it should be noted that other options for UK immigration and British nationality exist for those connected to Hong Kong. In terms of British nationality, if you have never held a BNO passport you may be eligible for other types of British nationality. The second common form of British nationality for those connected to Hong Kong is British Overseas Citizenship.

We understand that the visa will be valid for five years and will lead to permanent residence in the UK at the end of the 5 year grant period. Issue of the visa will doubtless be subject to the usual criminal record checks and the applicant providing proof of status as a British National Overseas.

British nationality solutions involving Hong Kong include the following:

British National Overseas (BNO)

British National Overseas (BNO) - Upgrade to British Citizenship

British Overseas Citizen (BOC) - Hong Kong (After 1 July 1997)

British Overseas Citizen (BOC) - Hong Kong (Before 1 July 1997)

British Citizenship by Descent (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong BNO Visa

Tier 5 Working Holiday Visa



Hong Kong was part of the UK and Colonies from 01.01.1949 up until 01.01.1983.

It was then a British Dependent Territory up until 01.07.1997 at which point China took over control. Click here for more information on the status of a  British Overseas Dependent Territory.


From 26.06.1858 until 19.05.1943, the Crown exercised extra-territorial jurisdiction. From this date, it became a foreign country. British National Overseas (BNO) citizens aged between 18-30 qualify for a Working Holiday Visa for the United KingdomAustraliaCanada, GermanyIrelandJapanNew Zealand and South Korea.


Ask Philip Gamble whether you (or your children) have a claim to British nationality.

Learn more about these routes to British Nationality:

WhatPassport.com is a specialist UK Nationality and British Citizenship site offering an online search and assessment. Claims to hold a British Passport can be complex and the site offers a quick, simple search to give you the answers. While many people qualify for the UK Ancestry Visa based on holding a Commonwealth passport with a UK born grandmother or grandfather, we have found that if you have a grandparent born in the UK, or if your mother is British or your father is British, then there are several scenarios where you can claim British Nationality and the right to hold a British Passport. This stems from Britain’s collection of British Colonies, British Protectorates and British Protected States in the middle of last century and the Nationality rules concerning what are now the countries of the Commonwealth.

WhatPassport.com is a subsidiary of Sable International.

Sable International offers a range of services relating to UK and Australian immigration. For over 20 years, we have been helping people with their UK and Australian visa applications. We assist with applications for Ancestry visas, spouse visas, work visas, Tier 1 visas, UK working holiday visas, UK dependant visas, Tier 4 visas, UK Visitor visas, sponsorship visas or UK permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain. We also specialise in UK visa extensions. If you’ve overstayed your visa, our Overstayer Status Trace service can assist to regularise your visa status.