British National (Overseas) passport, commonly known as BN(O) passport, was issued available for 3.4 million Hong Kong people because changes of sovereignty before 1997. BN(O) passport holders understand that they would not be available to enjoy all the rights and privileges of a British Citizenship.

BN(O) is better to have definitely, because if the Hong Kong political structure changes, or ‘one country, two systems‘ is revoked, or other countries withdraw their recognition of the HKSAR passport, BN(O) will get you to other parts of the world, and provide the last amulet, as the last escape door.

British Consulate-General Hong Kong advertised for BN(O) passport renewal in some magazines (e.g. HK Magazine) in 2005. Saying that “Travel with confidence on your BN(O) passport. Reliable. Secure. And renewable for life“. Carry a BN(O) passport is not only a travel document for Hong Kong residents, but also an identity for life, enjoy the same level of consular service and protection in third countries as British Citizenship (Except in People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, United Kingdom) as the last protection for them.

Advertisement of British Consulate-General Hong Kong in 2005

Why BN(O) holders cannot have consular assistant and service in China, Hong Kong, and Macau?

According to the Chinese Nationality Law, British Nationals (Overseas) are Chinese descent, were granted Chinese nationality at the transfer of sovereignty automatically. Individuals who hold Chinese nationality currently with any other nationality, including BN(O) status, are treated and imposed solely as Chinese nationals under Chinese nationality law. Which means, BN(O) holders do not have access to British consular protection while in Hong Kong, Macau, or China. In additional, BN(O)s who are Chinese nationals must use a Mainland Travel Permit Card to enter China.

Difference between BN(O) and HKSAR passports

Passport Fee

British National (Overseas)

Adult (16 and over) Standard 34-page
Online £75.5
Paper Form £85

Adult (16 and over) 50-page frequent traveller
Online £85.5
Paper form £95

HKSAR

Adult (16 and over) Standard 32-page
Online or Paper form HKD$370

Adult (16 and over)      48-page
Online or paper from HKD$460

Working Holiday Scheme in UK

British National (Overseas)

  • No quota limits
  • No sponsorship requirements
  • No local police registration requirements
  • Eligible to apply for 2 years

HKSAR

  • 1000 quotas per year
  • Documents providing, including sponsorship requirements
  • Register at local police station requirements

Visa-free Access and Visa-on-arrival Countries

British National (Overseas)

  • 189 countries and area worldwide
  • Including Bolivia

HKSAR

  • 154 countries and areas only
  • Visa-on-arrival for 90 days in Bolivia
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