The British National (Overseas) was issued first in the year 1987, ten years prior to the return of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China from Britain. It replaced the requirement of British Dependent Territories Citizens’ passport. This passport could be applied until June 30, 1997. After handing over on July 1, 1997, the permanent residents of Hong Kong, who was the Chinese nationals could use for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport or HKSAR. Though the new HKSAR passport became available, yet this passport is still very popular. Many people renew this passport in just a single year.
If you are not registered as a BNO by the year 1997, you cannot get this passport. But, if you owned this passport previously, you can renew the document any time, even if this one is out of date. It does not offer of passing on its status, and even if you have one, it does not provide your children to apply. As a holder of this passport, you can stay in Britain for six months. The holders can marry under the British law that includes the same-sex couples. People living in the country can join the British Army, civil service, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and also vote for the election.
Need to renew the British National Overseas
If you are Chinese national, it is advisable to hold this passport all the time as a safety measure. Having this passport is always better than not having one. The holders of this passport can travel to 189 countries with either of the two options like visa-free or visa on arrival in comparison to 152 countries for the passport holders of HKSAR. In case, there is any sudden political change or sudden fall of the Hong Kong government that may tighten the VISA requirements; you can still use British National Overseas for traveling freely. Though it is just a travel document, yet it provides the holders the emergency exit.
The British government has already made the declaration that the holders of British National Overseas shall enjoy the same consular services in the countries outside China and Britain just like the other British nationals. There are several known cases where the British National Overseas’ holders of Hong Kong have received help from the consulates in British in the foreign countries. So, when you travel with this passport, you get additional protection where the Chinese consulate is not able to provide any help. Although the HKSAR passport is not being used for nearly 19 years, many officers cannot differentiate between a Chinese passport and an HKSAR passport.
What does a British National Overseas give you?
If you are not a British citizen, it does not mean that you cannot reside in the UK. In this situation, you need a VISA for staying. A BNO does not offer you the right of working in the European Union or the UK. It does not also give you the protection of British consular in Hong Kong. It gives you the British citizenship. There are instances wherein the British consulate has helped the holders of British National Overseas outside Hong Kong.