Some Hong Kong friends asked me this today and I have no clue.

Hypothecate you're Hong Konger. You've hung on to your just 1 BN(O) passport, now expired, that you never renewed. Now you want to renew it, and the UK government (call it UK GOV) asks you to mail in that old expired passport. Before you mail it, you take pictures and make photocopies of the Holder's page.

But UK GOV loses your only BN(O) passport.

  1. Does UK GOV even keep a record of all BN(O) passport holders? Can UK GOV just check its records, locate yours, and smoothly issue you a new BN(O)?

  2. Or can UK GOV argue they can't issue you a new BN(O), because now you have no physical BN(O) passport even if it's their fault, and they can't verify you as BN(O)?

  • I think you meant "What happens when the UK government loses one's only HK BN(O) passport?". (Not intended as a recommended edit). – gktscrk Jul 2 at 5:48
  • 2
    I don't really see how this question is any different from losing any other passport. It's not as if you lose your nationality if you lose your passport. There are always other ways to prove you are entitled to a passport. – MJeffryes Jul 2 at 12:01
  • @MJeffryes It's reasonable to think this may be different from losing any other passport, especially if Hong Kong BNO passports can be used to immigrate to the UK, because the UK has an explicit "hostile environment policy" of using bureaucracy to make immigration difficult since 2012, and a track record of doing so. – krubo Jul 4 at 5:31
  • @krubo Very familiar with the hostile environment, but it would be extremely perverse for the Home Office to try and exclude people from the country who've they've just extended a right of residence to. – MJeffryes Jul 4 at 12:25

It becomes a little more tricky, but you're still fine. The same procedure applies for if the Government or anyone else lost a 'normal' British passport. You'll first need to cancel the passport, and then apply for a new passport following the instructions here.

After cancelling your passport, you'll get a reference number which can be used to support your application for your new BN(O) passport.

In particular, note:

You need to send:

  • original BNO passport (except if it was lost or stolen)

When applying for the replacement passport, the procedure is much the same as if the passport was not lost. Identity checks include checking your Hong Kong identity card, your other passports (if applicable), and having someone from a 'recognised profession' confirm your identity.

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