MORE than two million people who are eligible to travel on Hong Kong-British passports after the handover have yet to apply, with the deadline at the end of the month. The Immigration Department is bracing for a last-minute flood of applications to become British Dependent Territories citizens. Those eligible must reach this stage of naturalisation if they wish to travel on a British National (Overseas) (BNO) passport after 1997. The 2.2 million either hold Certificates of Identity or no travel document. The BNO passport has visa-free access to about 80 countries. Many remain concerned as to whether the future Special Administrative Region passport will receive similar privileges. Figures to March 7 show about 25,000 people have applied to become naturalised this year, compared with 34,580 for the whole of last year. Officers have been receiving up to 1,000 applications per day this month. Queues began snaking out of Immigration Tower in Wan Chai as early as 6 am yesterday. 'I am applying for a BNO . . . lots of people are applying so that's why I'm applying . . . it is more convenient for travelling overseas,' said 36-year-old Wong Kwan-yee. Asked why she had applied, 68-year-old Fok Wong-jin said: 'I don't know. My daughter-in-law brought me here.' One immigration officer: said 'Some people don't even know what they are queuing up for. They see others queue so they follow.' Immigration assistant director (personal documentation) Chan Ching-bor said the department could cope with up to 80,000 applications this month. Should all 2.2 million come forward, the department may be forced to issue that number of BNO passports. March 31 is a Sunday and the department promised that anyone queuing before midnight that day would have their application received. Those eligible must be a permanent resident of Hong Kong, have a permanent ID card and be of good character.