A foreign national can obtain a residence permit in Hong Kong regardless of their nationality but only under certain circumstances. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China has an Immigration Ordinance and also uses provisions of the Basic Law to regulate the manner in which foreigners may obtain permanent residency in Hong Kong or other types of visas.
If you are a foreign investor in Hong Kong or an employee who wants to work in the city, our law firm in Hong Kong can provide you with personalized assistance in obtaining the required visas or permits.
|Temporary residence permit types
Time needed to obtain the temporary residence permit (approx.)
Temporary residence permit validity
|2 years in most cases
|Documents for obtaining temporary residence
Filled-in application form
Valid travel document
Supporting documents according to the purpose of the stay
|Mandatory registrations with state authorities (i.e. with the population/municipality register)
|Yes. Pre-arrival registrations are also needed for some foreign nationals
|Dependents can join the temporary permit holder (Yes/No)
Yes. Subject to conditions
|Temporary or permanent residency for investment purposes
|Type of investments available for residency purposes
|Minimum investment amount
Other conditions other than minimum
|Minimum temporary residence before applying for permanent residence
|Residency for individuals married to a citizen of the country
|The spouse must be individually eligible for permanent resident status
|Documents for obtaining permanent residence
Proof of lawful permanent residence for the minimum prescribed time
Other supporting documents, if required
by the authorities
Other requirements may apply
*Foreign nationals are naturalized as Chinese nationals under the Law of the People’s Republic of China
|Citizenship after permanent residence
|Dual citizenship permitted (Yes/No)
Table of Contents
Permanent residency in Hong Kong
According to law, there are several categories of individuals who are allowed to become permanent residents in Hong Kong:
- Chinese nationals born in Hong Kong or those who have been living legally in the city for 7 years;
- Chinese nationals born outside of Hong Kong but one of their parents was a resident at the time of the birth;
- foreigners who have lived in Hong Kong for 7 years and for whom the city is the permanent place of residence can apply for the status of HK permanent resident;
- foreigners under the age of 21 who have a Hong Kong resident parent (however, after the age of 21 they must apply for a permit themselves);
- individuals with no right of abode anywhere else than Hong Kong.
A foreigner who is not a Chinese national applying for the status of Hong Kong permanent resident may need to comply with various other requirements, like providing proof that he or she has paid the taxes in Hong Kong during the time spent in the city. The Immigration Department is the authority in charge of all the applications for permanent residence. If you wish to apply for such a permit, our lawyers in Hong Kong can help you submit the required documents.
Other types of visas in Hong Kong in 2024
In general, any individual must obtain a visa before coming to Hong Kong for employment, training or study purposes. Employers in Hong Kong risk large fines if they fail to provide their employees with the appropriate work permits. The types of visas for expatriates in Hong Kong include:
- employment visa;
- study visa;
- training visa;
- visa for investment as entrepreneurs;
- dependant visa.
If you wish to know more about residency in Hong Kong, you can watch the following video:
Permanent residency in Hong Kong under the General Employment Policy
For many foreign nationals, relocating to Hong Kong takes place for employment purposes. In tehri case, the main rules that apply are those included in the General Employment Policy. Please keep in mind that these are different from the applicable admission schemes for talented professionals or entrepreneurs, which are also detailed below by our team.
Becoming a Hong Kong permanent resident is possible for an employee who has lawfully worked in the Special Administrative Region, and has renewed the work permit, for the minimum number of years. under the General Employment Policy, foreign employees will be accepted for a certain position with a Hong Kong company when their skills or experience have not been found among Hong Kong employees. There is no quota in this case, however, the General Employment Policy does not apply for Chinese Mainland residents not to nationals of Afghanistan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal, Vietnam, Cuba or Laos.
A foreign national can apply for an entry permit under the employment policy and such, in time, become a HK permanent resident, when:
- employment agreement: he or she has a confirmed employment in Hong Kong, in a position relevant to his work experience or qualifications (and the job position could not be taken up by local workforce);
- clear record: there is no security objection to hiring the applicant; he or she has no record with a serious crime;
- good credentials: the individual has good educational background and the relevant degrees of technical qualifications;
- adequate benefits: the job position includes a remuneration package that is in line with the applicable rules for the profession in the Special Administrative Region.
Foreign nationals who are admitted to Hong Kong under the General Employment Policy can bring their spouse, same-sex civil partner, or unmarried dependent children under the age of 18. If you have questions on how the dependants can acquire permanent residency in Hong Kong, our team can answer your questions.
Visas for professionals and entrepreneurs in Hong Kong
Certain admission schemes apply for talented workers, entrepreneurs and professionals who wish to come to Hong Kong in 2024. Foreign nationals who wish to apply for these permits can reach out to our immigration lawyers in Hong Kong before they start the procedure, given the various travel restrictions that may still be in place depending on the applicant’s country of origin. A special type of scheme that may be of interest for talented professionals who wish to come to Hong Kong this year is the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, however, applicants need to be well aware of the fact that it is quota-based.
Acquiring residency in Hong Kong is possible under one of these schemes:
- Non-local graduates: the IANG visa allows foreign graduates to remain in Hong Kong for one year to look for a job;
- Technology Talent Admission: for those who hold a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics; the employing company is subject to certain conditions;
- Investment as Entrepreneur: for those who are able to make a substantial contribution to Hong Kong’s economy, have an approved business plan as well as create a number of local jobs;
- Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals: when a Chinese Mainland citizen is employed by a Hong Kong company based on stills and there is a genuine job vacancy that was not filled.
Individuals who are the second generation of emigrated Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents can apply to return and work in the HKSAR under a certain scheme. They will have to meet the usual immigration to Hong Kong requirements, be born overseas, and be aged 18 to 40 at the time of the application.
Please keep in mind that the conditions for these schemes can be subject to change. Those interested in acquiring residency in Hong Kong under one of these entry routes can reach out to our team for details.
Some of the processing times and fees for the types of visas listed above are the following:
- 4 weeks to process the visa for investment, the work visa for employment under the general policy as well as many other types of visas;
- $230 for the ordinary visa;
- $120 for the transit visa;
- $230 when the applicant changes the conditions for stay or extends the duration of stay.
The fees above can be subject to change and the processing times are estimated, based on a situation in which the applicant presents all of the needed documents and there are no delays for submitting additional documentation.
According to data from the Immigration Department, the total number of applicants under the General Employment Policy in 2022 was 13,495 (including only individuals who had their applications approved). According to region, the numbers are the following:
- Australia: 413 applicants;
- Canada: 329 applicants, compared to 372 in 2021;
- India: 1,303 applicants, compared to 1,034 in 2021;
- Japan: 1,276 applicants in 2022;
- United Kingdom: 1,129 applicants in 2022, compared to 1,129 applicants a year prior.
Many of the individuals who requested and obtained a residence permit for employment were activating in the financial services sector (2,458 persons), as well as the academic research and education sector (2,124).
The statistical data for 2023 shows the following trends from January thru September, based on the region of the applicants under the General Employment Policy visa:
- There were 1,332 applicants from the United States and 1,540 applicants from the United Kingdom;
- 1,691 applicants were from Japan and 1,100 from India, while 1,318 applicants were from the Philippines and 1,462 from South Korea;
- According to industry, applicants chose employment sectors such as academic research and education (2,073 applicants), arts or culture (2,124 applicants), or financial services (1,606) and engineering and construction (1,169);
- The most common monthly remuneration for the applicants was below HKD 20,000.
Loss of the Hong Kong permanent resident status
HKSAR permanent residents can lose their status in the following cases:
- when absent from Hong Kong for a continuous 36-month period since he or she no longer ordinarily resided in Hong Kong – in case of foreign nationals who have lawfully resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of 7 years;
- when absent for a continuous period of at least 36 months or when, upon attaining 21 years of age, the individual no longer qualified for residency – in the case of those born to a parent who had the right of abode.
Individuals who fall under these categories (others are also applicable) can verify whether or not they have lost their status as permanent residents by making an application with the Immigration Department.
If you wish to know more about residency in Hong Kong, as well as immigration to Hong Kong in general, the representatives at our law firm in Hong Kong can give you more details about these types of visas as well as the fees for visas or applications for the extension of stay in 2024.
Our immigration lawyers in Hong Kong can also answer questions about how you can extend your stay in the HKSAR, or how you can change the particulars that appear in your identity card. If you have been living in Hong Kong for some time, and are a permanent resident (or have a valid, permanent identity card), we can also give you details about the Hong Kong passport application procedure.
You can contact our immigration lawyers in Hong Kong if you have questions about permanent residency in Hong Kong.