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Upgrading BNO status to full British citizenship

British national overseas citizens, commonly known as BNOs, arose as a result of the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997.

Understanding the status of BNOs

The BNO status is one of the major classes of British nationality under British nationality law. Holders of this nationality are Commonwealth citizens, but not British citizens. They are not automatically granted right of abode anywhere, including the United Kingdom and Hong Kong through their British national (overseas) status.

History of BNO

The creation of the class of BNO was a response to the question of the future prospect for Hong Kong in the 1980s. Therefore the nationality was tailor-made for the Hong Kong residents with British dependent territories citizen status by virtue of their connection with Hong Kong.

The nationality also served to retain an appropriate relationship with the United Kingdom after the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. From 1 July 1987 to 1997, around 3.4 million of British dependent territories citizens of Hong Kong (mainly ethnic Chinese), successfully gained BNO status by registration. Hong Kong's British dependent territories citizenship then ceased to exist after 30 June 1997.

As of 2007, 3.44 million of Hong Kong residents had the status as BNO, although only 800,000 of them held a valid BNO passport. As the BNO nationality cannot be gained anymore, the number of them slowly decreases and will eventually disappear.

For a more detailed breakdown on BNO visit WhatPassport.

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Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services License issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS License number 335 126).

Please note: Sable International is a trading name of Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd. Philip Gamble and Co. Ltd is registered in the UK with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC) under no. F2001-00004. Our staff based outside of the UK are not regulated by the OISC and may be involved in some client casework. However, they work to the same high standards as our UK staff and clients receive the same service regardless of which office they engage with.

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