Hong Kong Withdraws Recognition of British National (Overseas) Passports

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government has announced that it will not recognize the passports of British overseas nationals BN (O) as valid travel and identity documents. That is, from January 31, such passports cannot be used for immigration registration.


Certain Hong Kong residents may continue to use Hong Kong SAR Passports or Hong Kong Permanent Identities to enter or exit the city.


For those Hong Kong permanent residents who are not Chinese citizens and can only hold BN(O) passports and not any other valid travel document, they can apply to the Immigration Department for their identity documents in order to obtain a visa for international travel.


The BN(O) passport was issued for the first time in 1987 following the passage of the Hong Kong Act 1985, which created this new class of British citizenship. BN(O) passport holders are permanent residents of Hong Kong who, prior to June 30, 1997, were citizens of the British Dependent Territories.


From 31 January 2021, BN(O) passport holders can apply for limited leave, allowing them to work or study in the UK for 5 years, and then apply for permanent status. Owners can apply for citizenship after another 12 months.

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