China News

China will not recognize British passport for Hong Kong residents

The Chinese government said it will not recognize the British National Overseas (BNO) passport (英国国民(海外)护照) as a valid document for Hong Kong residents starting Sunday. The passport allows a facilitated route for Hong Kong residents to obtain British citizenship.

The British National (Overseas) passport, commonly referred to as the BN(O) passport, is a British passport for people with British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status. The passport was first issued in 1987 after the Hong Kong Act of 1985.

BN(O) passport holders are permanent residents of Hong Kong who were citizens of the British dependent territories until June 30, 1997 and had registered as BN(O). Individuals with this nationality are British nationals and Commonwealth citizens, but not British citizens.

This is just the latest move by the Chinese government to increase control over the former British colony, following the imposition of the new Hong Kong National Security Law passed last June. The British government responded to the Chinese government’s crackdown on pro-democracy movements by offering about 3 million Hong Kong citizens this type of passport, which is the first step toward full British citizenship after six years of residence in England, once they leave Hong Kong.

England on Friday said it expects at least 300,000 Hong Kong citizens will take up the offer and that the changes will take effect Sunday.

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