The Immigration Department sets out the legal requirements for obtaining a visa for Hong Kong. The visa is necessary for any individual who wants to work, study, open a business, become a resident or stay as a visitor for more than the three months/90 days visa-free period.
Our Hong Kong law firm provides legal services and advice for individuals who need to obtain a visa for Hong Kong. We specialize in immigration matters and are able to assist all foreign nationals who wish to enter the Special Administrative Region. If you need additional information, apart from the data presented in this article, you can reach out to us for personalized assistance.
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The visa policy in Hong Kong
Individuals who possess the following documents will not require a visa to enter Hong Kong:
- Hong Kong passport;
- British national passport;
- Hong Kong ID card;
- Hong Kong re-entry permit;
- Hong Kong seaman identity book;
- permanent Hong Kong ID card;
- an already valid Hong Kong.
Those included in the abovementioned categories will not need to apply for a visa to enter the Special Administrative Region. All other individuals who want to enter Hong Kong for a longer period of time need to apply for a visa. The appropriate visa must be obtained before traveling to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong imposes different requirements for foreign countries/territories. While some countries are allowed a visa free period, individuals from certain countries like Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cambodia, the Central African Republic and several other countries will need to obtain permission to enter Hong Kong.
Our Hong Kong lawyers can give you personalized advice regarding the requirements that apply to your country if you want to enter the city. Different requirements apply for holders of Diplomatic and Official passports.
Types of visas in Hong Kong
A visa for Hong Kong can be issued for a number of purposes. The supporting documentation will take into account this purpose and applicants will be asked to provide proper documents.
The following categories are broadly described below:
- Visit: for foreign nationals who wish to enter Hong Kong for holiday or transit purposes; certain business-related activities are permitted under this visa;
- Employment: issues for those who apply under the General Employment Policy, as well as for trainings, foreign domestic helpers, and other types of workers;
- Investment: this visa in Hong Kong is issued to entrepreneurs with an adequate background who are able to make a substantial contribution to the economy of the Special Administrative Region;
- Study: for individuals who were admitted to a private school or institution, or enrolled in a full-time course, or admitted on exchange in a full-time accredited programme.
For visiting purposes, Taiwanese and Indian nationals are subject to a pre-arrival registration phase. Our lawyers in Hong Kong can give you more details.
Applying for a Hong Kong visa
When applying for a visa for Hong Kong, individuals need to submit several documents and pay the fee corresponding to the type of visa they require. The fee for an ordinary visa is 190 $ wile for a transit visa the fee is 100$.
Applicants will need to submit the form for the type of visa they require, along with copies of their identification documents, a recent photo and others. The application can be made at a Chinese diplomatic and consular mission in the country of origin or directly to the HKSAR Immigration Department by post or through a local individual.
One of the most popular types of visas applied for is the work visa, under the General Employment Policy. Our team of lawyers in Hong Kong describes the main requirements, the eligibility criteria and the other issues to take into account when applying. Read below to find out more:
- Applicants: the visa is available to individuals who have the skills and experience which are not available in Hong Kong and are thus employed by a company under the General Employment Policy; the scheme does not apply for Chinese Mainland residents, nor to residents of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal and Vietnam;
- Eligibility: applicants with proper qualifications, provided that there is a genuine job vacancy and the renumeration package is an adequate one;
- Family members: this is a type of visa for Hong Kong under which the holder can bring his/her dependents (spouse);
- Processing: once the documents are submitted (the employment agreement, accompanied by the applicant’s identification documents and other supporting evidence), the processing time is around 4 weeks.
The admission of talented individuals is made under a number of special schemes, such as the Technology Talent Admission Scheme, when the applicant has a degree in science, technology, mathematics or engineering from a recognized university included in the top 100 ones for the aforementioned subjects. For the individuals who apply for this visa in Hong Kong, work experience is not mandatory, however, other conditions can apply.
Other admission schemes for talented individuals include the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme or the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals. If you would like to know more about the programs designed by the Hong Kong Government for talented foreign nationals who wish to work in the city, you can find out more details by talking to one of our agents.
Our lawyers can help you apply for an investment visa in Hong Kong.
Visa applicants are often interested in residency in Hong Kong. If this is the case, the visa holder will need to apply for temporary residence and, only after 7 years of lawful stay, submit an application for the right of abode (permanent residence). Other conditions concerning the applicant’s lawful stay and supporting documentation apply. We advise those interested to apply with our help.
The statistical data made available by the Immigration Department reveals that the total number of employment visas approved between January and September 2021 was 10,073. According to the applicant’s nationality, these were:
- 1,065 from the United Kingdom;
- 886 from the U.S.A.;
- 874 from Japan;
- 693 from France;
- 711 from India.
According to industry or sector, 1,874 visas were approved for the financial services sector, 1,510 for the commerce and trade sector, 1,486 for academic research and education and 994 for engineering and construction.
Starting with the end of December 2021, the Immigration Department has started implemented the e-Visa system. Our team can guide you through the electronic visa Hong Kong application process.
For more information about living in Hong Kong, including the family law and information for those who want to start a business, you can contact our Hong Kong law firm.
We also provide services to foreign nationals who are already in HKSAR and need litigation services.