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British National (Overseas) Status (BN(O))

British nationalities include the status of British national (overseas) or BN(O). Despite being British nationals (and Commonwealth citizens), individuals with this nationality may not in fact be British citizens.

What is British National (Overseas) Meaning?

BN(O) status was set up for British overseas territories citizens who were connected by Hong Kong to the United Kingdom.

The changes allowed these individuals to register before the 1st of July 1997 as a British national (overseas).

There were some British overseas territories citizens from Hong Kong that did not register as British nationals (overseas).

As such, they had no other nationality or citizenship on the 30th of June 1997. So, these individuals became British overseas citizens on the 1st of July 1997.

Note: British nationality law does not allow you to apply to become a British national (overseas). Even so, some exceptions apply for those who already hold that status.

Your Rights as a British National (Overseas)

British nationals (overseas) can:

  • Hold a British BN(O) passport.
  • Get consular assistance and protection from United Kingdom diplomatic posts.

But, holding this particular status means:

  • You would still be subject to immigration controls. In this case, you would not have the ‘automatic’ right to live or work in the United Kingdom.
  • The European Union (EU) would not consider you as a United Kingdom national.

Registering as a British Citizen

As a British national (overseas), you may be able to register as a British citizen if you meet certain conditions. You can check your eligibility to become a British citizen in a different section.

British National (Overseas) Status Explained and Simplified for Easy Understanding