How to apply
for a BNO passport

The UK government recently announced that it would provide a ‘pathway to citizenship’ for BNO passport holders in Hong Kong if China goes ahead with its plans to implement a controversial new security law in the territory.

The UK has confirmed that it will “continue to defend the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong” if the law is passed, by providing a defined immigration route into the UK for BNO citizens.

Under the proposed new route, BNO passport holders and their dependents will be able to stay in the UK visa-free for 12 months. They will also have the ability to work and study in the UK, with the possibility to extend their stay and eventually settle here permanently.

It is estimated that 2.9 million people hold BNO status, and are eligible to apply for a BNO passport. Those eligible are advised to apply for a passport ahead of time if they think they will want to apply to the BNO route in the future.

With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters has put together the following guide to applying for a BNO passport, including required documentation and what information you will need to provide on your online application form.

How to apply for a BNO passport

If you have your original BNO passport, you can apply for a renewal using the following process:

  • Step 1 – Prepare a digital passport photo. Your photo must conform to the government guidelines for passport photos or it may not be accepted.
  • Step 2 – Fill in the online application form and upload your digital passport photo.
  • Step 3 – Pay the application fee (around £106, although fees are subject to change).
  • Step 4 – Post your application documents, including your original BNO passport, to the Liverpool Passport Office using a trackable delivery service.
  • Step 5 – Once the renewal process is complete, your new BNO passport will be sent to you by courier.

The online application form will ask you to provide some personal information such as your country of residence, your date of birth, where you were born and your parents’ details. You will also need to say whether your passport is lost, stolen or damaged, its date of issue and what nationality is written on your passport. To make the application process as straightforward as possible, you should ensure you have this information to hand before beginning your application.

It will usually take around four to six weeks to process your application, however due to the current situation waiting times may be longer.

What if I have lost my original BNO passport?

If you have lost your original BNO passport, you should first fill in a lost passport report form, which will take a few days to process. You will be contacted if any further information is required.

Following this, your lost passport will be cancelled and you will receive a reference number which you can then use to complete the renewal process online, following the above steps.

If your passport has been lost or stolen, we strongly recommend you report this to the local police.

What supporting documents will I need?

To support your BNO passport application, you will be required to supply some documents. Required documents include, but are not limited to:

  • Your original BNO passport (except if it was lost or stolen)
  • A colour photocopy of both sides of your Hong Kong permanent identity card
  • A colour photocopy of any passports you hold from other countries that have not yet expired (every page including blank pages)
  • Your birth certificate
  • One of the following documents from the last 12 months that shows your name and proof of address and / or residency:
    • A letter from your employer
    • Medical card
    • Letter from your local council or a government department
    • Voter’s card
    • Visa or residence permit (this can be a colour photocopy)
    • Education records such as a school report
    • Immigration documents

In some cases, the documents or photo submitted may need to be certified. The online system will tell you whether this is necessary.

Need help with applying?

If you need some assistance in applying for a BNO passport, Smith Stone Walters is here to help.

Our friendly and professional team at our Hong Kong office can manage the entire application process for you, to ensure you can successfully obtain a BNO passport and apply to the new BNO immigration route in the future.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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