Applying for a British National (Overseas) passport

Innovator visa

Who is eligible for a BN(O) passport?


Only British overseas territories citizens from Hong Kong who registered as British nationals (overseas) before 1 July 1997 will be able to apply for their first or re-new their existing British National (Overseas) passports. 


If you are not already a British national (overseas), you cannot apply to become one.



Where can I apply?


You must apply online:


What documents do I need before I apply?


You will need provide the following when you will in your application form:


  • A digital photo which can be taken at home, in a digital file or contained in a code provided by a photo booth or shop (guidance on passport photo rules are provided on the application form); and
  • Personal details including your full name, date of birth, contact details and BNO passport number (if applicable)


What happens after I submit and pay for my application?


You will receive a receipt from HM Passport Office with your name, application date, payment reference number and application reference number.


The receipt will also provide you with an address to which you must send the documents necessary for your application.


Do I need to send in physical documents? What documents do I have to send?


Yes, physical documents will have to be posted. The following documents need to be sent to the HM Passport Office:


  • Original BN(O) passport (if applicable and except if it is lost or stolen)
  • Colour photocopy of your HK permanent identity card
  • Colour photocopy of entire passports from other countries that haven’t expired (every page, including blank pages, must be photocopied)
  • One document from the last 12 months which shows your name and address, this can be a:
    • Letter from your employer
    • Medical card
    • Letter from your local council or a government department
    • Voter’s card
    • Visa or residence permit (colour photocopy)
    • Education record (e.g. school report)
    • Immigration documents
  • “Confirm someone’s identity” form filled in by your countersignatory (if applicable)

If you don’t send all the documents required, your application will be delayed.



Do I need a countersignatory?


Some applications must be signed by someone else (“countersignatory”) to prove the identity of the person applying.


You must get a declaration form signed by a countersignatory if you are applying for a:


  • First adult passport
  • Replacement for a lost, stolen or damaged passport
  • Renewal of a passport if your appearance has changed and you cannot be recognised from your existing passport

If your last BN(O) passport expired before 2004, you will most likely also need to obtain a countersignature.


Should you need a countersignatory, after you have submitted your application form a “Confirm someone’s identity” form will be made available to you to download and print.


Who can be my countersignatory?


Your countersignatory must:


Your countersignatory must NOT:


  • Be related, in a relationship with or living at the same address as you
  • Work at HM Passport Office or UK Visas and Immigration


What does the countersignatory have to do?


In order to confirm your identity, your countersignatory will have to:


  • Check that the your details are correct
  • Check that the photo is a true likeness of you
  • Provide their details and say how they know you
  • Sign the declaration

Your countersignatory will also have to provide you with a photocopy of their passport’s photo page, unless they are a UK or Irish passport holder.


Your countersignatory may be contacted by HM Passport Office for more information.


How much does the application cost?


A standard passport costs £86.


When you pay for the application, you will also be charged £19.86 as the courier fee for HM Passport Office to send your old and new passports to you separately.


Please note that you will also have to pay the necessary fees to send the necessary documents listed above to HM Passport Office.



How will I know if my application is being processed/successful?


You can sign in to the website provided on the receipt with your unique application reference number to manage and track your application.


Once a decision has been made on your application, you should also receive a SMS informing you of the outcome.


You should receive another SMS when your passport is being sent and a final SMS from the courier with a tracking number and an estimated date of arrival.