BNO Welcome Hub (NISMP)

Purpose

A guide for newcomers from Hong Kong who have been granted leave on the new British National (Overseas) visa to access to useful resources and link people with local services. We hope that this guide is a useful resource and provides you with some assistance in building a new life for you and your family in Northern Ireland.

The UK government has created a new visa to enable British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders ordinarily resident in Hong Kong and the UK, and their immediate family members, to settle in the UK to live, work and study.

Those eligible will be able to apply for settlement after 5 years if they meet the requirements, and British Citizenship 12 months after settlement.

You will be asked to prove your BNO visa status under some circumstances, for example registering with a doctor, opening a bank account or applying a driving license.

You might want to find out more here. For queries regarding your visa, contact UK Visa and Immigration contact centre on 0300 790 6268.

NISMP is conducting a survey of BN(O) visa holder who now or planning to settle in Northern Ireland, the goal is to help improve support across the nation.

The survey is available to complete on “BNO Visa Holder Survey”

If you would like to receive updates on:

  • new projects and support available in NI
  • details of our events and ways of getting involved

You are welcome to subscribe to our Hong Kong Welcome Programme mailing list. 

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Living in Northern Ireland

In this section you will find: some key facts about Northern Ireland; information about the legal system; some ideas for places to visit and things to see.

Health Care

Everyone entering Northern Ireland on a BN(O) visa is entitled to free healthcare. This section provides information on how to register with a doctor, a dentist and get emergency care.

Housing

This section provides information and advice on renting or buying your own house, including information on rates, which is a property tax paid by home owners.

Education and Training

Children between the ages of four and sixteen must be in full time education. This section provides information and advice on finding a school placement for pre-school, primary or post-primary aged children. It also provides information for young people and adults who are interested in continuing their education at a college or university, or undertaking an employment related training programme.

Work

In this section you will find information on how to find a job or start your own business, including how to apply for a national insurance number, which will be required if you are planning to work.

Getting Around

This section provides useful information on the public transport system in Northern Ireland. Public transport is provided through Translink. Public transport may also cross the border from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland. BN(O) visa holders who plan to travel across the border do not need to apply for a visa. However, they must travel with ID, including HK passport and UK biometric card. Anyone who wishes to study, work or live in the Republic of Ireland will need to apply for the relevant visa.

Driving License

Here you can find information on how to get a UK driving license.

Managing Money

This section gives information and advice on how to set up a bank account, as well as information relating to the UK tax system.

Useful Links and further information

If you are interested in getting more involved in your community, this section will give you some ideas on how to do this.

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