UK Government Launches Digital Process for Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

All persons interested in applying for the Hong Kong BN(O) visa with biometric passports will be eligible to do so from a smartphone app in order to scan their passport.

Persons will be able to fill an application within the United Kingdom or overseas, and all British National Overseas BN (O), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) or European Economic Area (EEA) biometric passport holders will be able to submit their biometrics as well as to validate their identity through the recently functionalized app, VisaGuide.World reports.

According to the announcement published by the United Kingdom’s government, holders of the HKSAR document will be the first non-EEA citizens able to use the new system.

British authorities’ decision to launch the app follows a previous commitment of the country to open a new visa route, the Hong Kong BN(O) visa, which was initiated on January 31.

“I am pleased we have not only managed to launch this new route, enabling those with BN(O) status and their households to settle in the UK, but have now enhanced it with this new wholly digital application process,” Future Borders and Immigration Minister Kevin Foster pointed out.

Foster stressed that the process is another step forward in the UK’s move to digitize its Immigration system by permitting the first group of non-EEA nationals to fill an application for a visa from their homes.

Since February 23, the UK’s government announced that applicants could use the “UK Immigration: ID Check” smartphone app for Android or iPhone to scan their biometric passport instead of being obliged to visit a visa application centre.

Earlier this month, the British government announced that it opened its gates for Hong Kong migrants through its new visa for Hong Kong’s residents after authorities in China introduced the National Security Law in Hong Kong last year, which the UK believes is in breach of the UK’s commitments under international law.

The British National (Overseas) passport allows British Nationals overseas and their immediate family members, mainly residents in Hong Kong, to live, work and study in the UK.

According to the UK’s government’s announcement, thousands of BN (O) status holders and their family members have filed an application for the recently introduced visa since it was launched for the first time on January 31. The figures are an addition to about 9,000 BN(O) status holders and their dependants who, between July 15 until February 16 2021, have been granted Leave Outside the Rules at the border.

Leave Outside the Rule covers all types of permission to live in the UK granted in other ways than in agreement with the Immigration Rules, instead of being based on the Home Secretary’s residual discretion, under the Immigration Act 1971.