Those applicants having certain biometric passports will be able to apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) visa through the newly launched smartphone app to scan their passport. Following this, they can scan their biometric passport using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” smartphone app for iPhone or Android instead of visiting a visa application centre.
The app was launched following the UK government’s commitment to initiate a new visa for Hong Kong BN(O) status holders, having begun the BN(O) visa on 31 January.
BN(O), HKSAR or EEA biometric passport holders can validate their identity by offering their biometrics using the app. Applications can be submitted from within the UK or overseas. These BN(O), HKSAR document holders will have the distinction of being the first non-EEA citizens to apply via this system.
Already being counted a success, thousands of BN(O) status holders and their family members have already applied for the BN(O) visa, which allows them to live, work and study in the UK.
The UK government made this commitment in response to the Chinese government’s breach of its own commitments under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, as it went on to impose the national security law in Hong Kong in June 2020.
Future Borders and Immigration minister Kevin Foster said: ”I am pleased we have not only managed to launch this new route, enabling those with BN(O) status and their households to settle in the UK, but have now enhanced it with this new wholly digital application process.
“This process marks a major step forward in our move to digitise the UK’s Immigration system, with it allowing the first group of non-EEA nationals to complete the process of applying for a visa from home.”
Regarding documents where the app cannot read the chip, testing shows that the issue could be probably with Hong Kong SAR passports preceding Summer 2019.
Applicants unable to scan their passport chip are required to apply through physical appointment at a Visa Application Centre.
Those BN(O) status holders, or BN(O) family members already residing in the UK need not apply immediately unless their existing visas are about to expire soon.