Except landing in Hong Kong in-transit, you have to apply for the suitable type of visa for landing in Hong Kong according to the purpose of your stay in the city.
If you are the holder either one of the following document, you can land in Hong Kong without visa:
- Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card.
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Passport,
- British National (Overseas) Passport,
- Hong Kong Certificate of Identity,
- Hong Kong Re-entry permit (for entry from the Mainland of China and the Macao Special Administrative Region only),
- Hong Kong Seaman’s Identity Book,
- Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes provided that the document is valid or the holder’s limit of stay in Hong Kong has not expired.
- Travel documents bearing one of the following endorsements:
- “Holder’s eligibility for Hong Kong permanent identity card verified.”
- “The holder of this travel document has the right to land in Hong Kong. (Section 2AAA, Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115, Laws of Hong Kong)”
Simply put, visitors for non-money making activities such as tourism, business, and studying are rather easy to acquire visa for staying in Hong Kong, while visa for employment and working are not.
Citizen of selected jurisdictions are able to visit (i.e. take part in non-money making activities) to Hong Kong for between 7 to 180 calendar days without the visa.
The latest list of VISA-free countries to visit Hong Kong is available on website of Immigration Department (Part II – Visit Visa / Entry Permit Requirements for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region).
Type of visa to Hong Kong
If you need a visa to land in Hong Kong, you need to apply for at the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country. Before you submit your application, your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of intended entry.
The latest list of oversea Chinese Embassies can be seen on the website of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (Chinese Embassies of Missions Overseas of The Ministry).
Hong Kong visa system is simple, the common visas are listed as follows:
The easiest form of visa to land in and stay in Hong Kong. However, the holders of this visa are not allowed to take up any form of employment (no matter paid or unpaid), to establish or join in any business, or to enter school as a student.
Application procedure is straight forward. Depending on the availability of the Chinese consulate of you home country, the application process can take up to four weeks. We kindly suggest that the application should be submitted at least 1 month before you planned trip.
Immigration Department of HKSAR (www.immd.gov.hk) takes in-charge of all your visa matters after you landed in Hong Kong.
Visit visa holders are almost impossible to the visit visa to other visa without leaving and re-entering first regardless of holders’ nationality and citizenship.
To visit Hong Kong is easy, to work in Hong Kong is not. If you are a job seekers, the way that seeking jobs after landing in Hong Kong is not possible.
If you want to take up any employment (paid or unpaid) in Hong Kong, you need to obtain an employment visa before land in Hong Kong. However, the application of your work visa is not submitted by you, but by your Hong Kong employer who has agreed to employ you in Hong Kong in the future and act as a sponsor in your application.
Your local sponsor must provide the confirmed employment contract, various proof that include your remuneration, accommodation, medical provisions as well as benefits to Hong Kong Immigration Department for your work visa application.
Generally speaking, the department does not provide any document of his qualifying criteria when he is granting work visas, the department exterminates why your sponsor need you to take this employment instead of hiring a local and how can you make a living in Hong Kong after landing in. The department should interview with the local sponsors for proof, and inquires with the applications for details.
Visa applications is on the favorable side if to prove that you have the necessary skills for the job and that a local worker could not fill the position. When granting work visas, the Immigration Department considers the applicant’s education, job experience and other factors.
Application of employment visa is favorable if a applicant and his sponsoring employer and express the following quality to the department.
- Applicant has highly relevant experience that is deemed to be in short supply in Hong Kong.
- Sponsoring employer has put afford in searching for or hired locals or residing labor to fulfill the position but the outcome is unsatisfactory.
- Fulfilling up the positions by the applicants can be beneficial to Hong Kong’s economy, trade and industry.
- The applicants can benefit the local workforce by sharing and training of their expertise.
- The package of remuneration should support the applicants to maintain considerable living standard in Hong Kong, especially accommodation which is expensive.
- The wages to the applicants should be more the the average of than to local workforce with similar background.
The application process takes four to six weeks in average, it may take longer if the department inquiries on the case further, so you and your sponsor should reply to the inquiry clearly and make all the submitted material easy to understand.
When an application is successful, the permit paper will be issued to your employer who have to post it to you for your landing in Hong Kong.
Normally, work visas are granted for the duration of your employment contract in Hong Kong but not more than 2 years. If you and your sponsor want to continue the employment after the end of visa, your employer should apply for renewal 3 months before the expiry date of your visa. The department reviews the latest statue of the employment contract as well as the workforce market during granting of the renewed work visa. Usually, the first renew is straightforward. After the renewed work visa is granted, it will be issued to your sponsor, again. You need not re-entering Hong Kong to activate the renewal.
After you land in Hong Kong by your work visa, you can only work for the employer who is your sponsor and work under the the employment contract that has been submitted to the Immigration Department for granting the visa. In other words, your Hong Kong work visa is not transferable from your original employer to another. However, you can apply to the department for permission to take up additional employments in Hong Kong, you not only need the proof of employment from your future, but also the written consensus from your current sponsoring employer who understand the scope of your additional employment. The department consider the application usually based on the similar criteria to grant work visa.
When your employment contract is terminated, your existing work visa will be terminated as well, you need to apply for another work visa and restarting the application process, thus finding another local sponsoring employer is your first priority to keep staying in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, your sponsoring employer is obliged to notify the Immigration Department if you leave.
Due to the fact that work visa is designed solely for non-Hong Kong residents with confirmed employment in Hong Kong, overseas deployment of staffs within a multinational company is the majority of work visa holders.
Once you have landed in Hong Kong, you can apply for residency visa for your spouse and children to land in and stay at Hong Kong from the department.
For details, you may search inquire immigration department for the details of Visa for Employment as Professionals.
Similar to work visa, investment visa is for non-Hong Kong entrepreneurs to land in and stay at here to benefit Hong Kong’s workforce and economy through establishing and doing business in the city.
However, you should expect that the Immigration Department is less likely to approve you application unless you have details and feasible investment plan in creating significant value to Hong Kong. You will have to complete a large amount of paperwork detailing your background, professional experience in the industry, proposed business activities, source of business capital and the jobs that your business will create.
For details, you may search inquire immigration department for the details of Visa for Investment as Entrepreneurs.
If you have a valid work or investment visa, you can apply for sponsor residency visa applications for your spouse and children below the age of 18 as dependant sponsor and dependant children to stay in Hong Kong with you.
Since your dependants can only stay in Hong Kong depending on validity of your work or business visa. In other words, losing your work or business visa means losing all of the dependant visa of your dependant.
The Immigration Department will require proof to support your family and that the sponsored family members have no criminal record.
Kindly be reminded that your dependant spouses are permitted to take up employment in Hong Kong.
For details, you may search inquire immigration department for the details of Visa for Residence as Dependant.
Other Types of Visas
Application of below visas requires local sponsorship and their application is submitted by the local sponsor to the Immigration Department under specific purpose.
- Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG)
- Supplementary Labour Scheme (SLS): visa for imported workers
- Study Visa
- Training Visa
- Domestic Help Visa
- Quality Migrant Admission Scheme
Residency and Permanent Residency
Nationality and citizenship of Hong Kong does not exist. People with nationality or citizenship of other country may still be granted the statue of Permanent Residency (PR) when they have lived in Hong Kong for 7 years as a usual place of residency by visa with right of residency (i.e. work visa, investment visa, dependant visa but visit visa).
When you have PR status, you can live in Hong Kong and take up employment and business without the need of visa. However, PR statue owners will lose their PR statue if they leave Hong Kong for more than 3 years.
Hong Kong Identity Card and Hong Kong Permanent Identity card
People who has granted visa to stay in Hong Kong for more than 180 days are obligated to apply for a Hong Kong Identity Card (ID card) within 30 days of landing in Hong Kong. Carrying their ID card especially leaving their place of residency is required. The ID card holders must report to the Immigration Department when they loss the card and bear the replacement fee.
Meanwhile, people who fulfill the requirement of PR statue and staying in Hong Kong legally can apply for Hong Kong Permanent Identity card. The obligation to the holder is the same the that of Hong Kong Identity Card.
To register for a ID card, you can register an appointment by phone on (852) 2598 0888, via the web portal in HK government website, or in person at Registration of Persons Offices in Immigration Department. Each office has a daily quota of applicants so online registration is preferred. The whole process may take less than an hour and all the required document is your passport with a valid residency visa. You will be have been photographed and fingerprinted there, then you are issued a temporary identity receipt and a date on which the final card can be collected.
Hong Kong government does not charge you for the your first ID card unless it is a replacement for a lost original.
The Hong Kong ID card is valid for as long as you are resident in Hong Kong, and you should carry it with you when you go out.
For details about HK ID card, please visit the The services of Identity Card in the Immigration Department.
Once you are entitled as Permanent Resident of the HKSAR, you are eligible to apply for HKSAR Passport.
The HKSAR passport is valid for travel to all countries in the world. Over 150 countries or territories have granted visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR Passport holders. The final consent to enter the countries concerned is, nonetheless, up to the relevant immigration authorities.
For latest list of visa-free access for HKSAR Passport, please visit the Immigration Department website.
For details about application of HKSAR Password, please visit The services of Travel Document in the Immigration Department.