You may apply for registration as a British Citizen under the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997 if you are a British National Overseas (BNO).
There are two requirements you need to meet to be eligible for registration as a British citizen under the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997. You must meet both requirements.
The ordinary residence requirement
To meet this requirement you must:
- be ordinarily resident in Hong Kong on the date of your application; and
- have been ordinarily resident in Hong Kong before 4 February 1997.
A child born on or after 4 February 1997 must have been ordinarily resident in Hong Kong at the time of his birth. In such cases account will be taken of where the parent/s were ordinarily resident at the time of the birth.
To be considered ordinarily resident in a country you must:
- be living in the country full-time (apart from temporary or occasional absences); and
- not be in breach of any immigration rules; and
- have moved to the country voluntarily with the intention of settling there.
British courts have ruled that ordinary residence has the following features:
- it is a regular habitual mode of life in a particular place;
- its continuity has persisted despite temporary absences;
- it may be of long or short duration;
- it must be lawful;
- it must have been adopted voluntarily;
- it must be for a settled purpose.
The nationality requirement
To meet this requirement, on the relevant date (immediately before 4 February 1997), you must have been:
- a British dependent territories citizen by virtue only because of a connection with Hong Kong; or
- a British national (overseas); or
- a British overseas citizen; or
- a British subject; or
- a British protected person; and
- you must not have held any other non-British nationality.
The relevant date is the 3 February 1997 unless you became a British national after that date by birth, registration or naturalisation, in which case the relevant date is the date on which you became a British national.
It is possible to be a citizen or national of a country even if you have never held a passport issued by the authorities of that country. You should make sure this does not apply to you before you make your application.
You must not have held (hold) any other, non-British nationality or citizenship on the relevant date.
- You may have held (hold) one or more of the above statuses.
- It is possible to be a British Dependent Territories citizen by connection with more than one British dependent territory. For example, a person born in Hong Kong to a parent born in another dependent territory could be a British Dependent Territories citizen regardless of the fact that he had been born in Hong Kong. Only a former BDTC by virtue of a connection with Hong Kong is eligible to apply under the 1997 Act.
- It is possible to be a national or citizen of another country even if you have never held a passport issued by the authorities of that country.
- You should take particular care if you become a British national through your Hong Kong connections but you are ethnically Chinese. Under Chinese nationality rules, you may have been regarded as a Chinese national. If so, you would not be entitled to registration under the 1997 Act. If you are in this category, we advise you to contact the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Immigration Department for clarification before making an application.
- You will not be eligible for registration as a British citizen if you renounced (or otherwise gave up) the nationality or citizenship of some other country on or after "the relevant date"
Our expert team of nationality law solicitors in London, Manchester and Birmingham can represent you in your application for registration as a British Citizen and carry out all the work on your British Citizenship application until a decision on your application is recieved from the Home Office UKVI. As part of our professional legal services in relation to your application for registration as a British Citizen, our specialist team of immigration solicitors will carry out the following immigration casework:
- We will assess your eligibility for registration as a British Citizen by considering all the relevant information including your past immigration history;
- We will advise you on the chances of success in your application for registration as a British Citizen and would draw your attention to any weaknesses in your application;
- We will advise you on the list of documents to be submitted in support of your application for registration as a British Citizen;
- We will assess all the supporting documents to ensure that the documents you provide duly satisfy the Home Office UKVI requirements for registration as a British Citizen;
- We will complete the relevant application form online for your registration as a British citizen, submit the same online, help you pay the Home Office UKVI fee for the application and schedule your appointment with the application centre for enrolment of your biometrics;
- We will prepare a detailed cover letter in support of the application explaining in detail your eligibility for registration as a British Citizen by referring to all the relevant information, documents, laws and requirements;
- We will upload all the supporting documents online to be considered in support of the application including our cover letter prepared to suppport your application;
- We will carry out all the work on your application for registration as a British Citizen until a decision is received from the Home Office UKVI on your application.
Unless your application is very complicated, our fees for an application for registration as a British Citizen are given in the fee table below:
|Our Service||Our Fee|
|One-off immigration consultation/advice for registration as a British Citizen||£80 (inclusive of VAT)|
|One-Off Application Checking Service / Documents Assessment||£240 (inclusive of VAT)|
|Full service for registration as a British Citizen to cover all the work until decision by the Home Office UKVI||From £1,000 + VAT To £1,500 + VAT|
The agreed fixed fee will depend on the complexity of your registration application and the volume of casework involved in the application. In addition to our fixed fee for registration application, the applicant will also have to pay the Home office UKVI fees for the registration application.