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Visas for Hong Kong

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Hong Kong welcomes a large number of foreign visitors and a lot of expats call this city home. Depending on the purpose of your travel to the city, you will need to apply for the right type of visa. Hong Kong offers various types of visas from transit and internship to professional and student visas. Learn more about each type of visa to Hong Kong and the procedures to obtain them in this article.

A lot of foreign travellers can visit Hong Kong visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. To check whether your country belongs the list of visa-exempt countries, check Entry Permit Requirements for Hong Kong Special Region. If it doesn’t, you will need to apply for a Visit Visa to Hong Kong.

Types of visas

Various types of visa apply to the different categories of immigrants. For a longer stay in Hong Kong, you can apply for a professional type of visa (work or investment), Internship Visa, Student Visa or Dependant Visa. Specific criteria apply to each type of visa and you will need to submit a set of supporting documents. Note that application requirements are subject to changes check with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate for the most up-to-date information.

Work Visa

A Work Visa is the only visa that allows you to be legally employed in Hong Kong. Hong Kong government takes the application process very seriously and, before considering your application, will verify whether there really are available vacancies in the region and if your skills are required but are unavailable locally. Those who match the requirements can apply for employment in Hong Kong under the region’s General Employment Policy.

Your application will be favourably considered if:

  • You can provide a criminal record demonstrating no security objection to your residence in Hong Kong;
  • you have a strong education background and a degree in the field relevant to the position you are applying for or technical qualifications and professional achievements supported by documents;
  • there is proof of a real job vacancy and a confirmed offer of employment that matches your skills and education level; and
  • the offered package (salary, benefits, allowances, etc.) is comparable to that offered to professionals in the region.

Thus, you will need to provide the following documents: your identity card and passport, your degrees and certificates, a copy of your criminal record, a proof of your professional experience, offer of employment and so on.

 Attention:

These conditions do not apply to the citizens of China, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Korea, Nepal and Vietnam.

Investment Visa

Hong Kong offers a special type of visa for foreign entrepreneurs who are considering relocating to the region with the purpose of setting up a business. Under this type of visa, the potential investor will be issued a type of work permit classifying him/her as an employee in their own company.

In order to apply for an Investment Visa, you will need to prove to the immigration authorities that your potential business will make a contribution to the development of Hong Kong’s economy. The Investment is typically issued for one year initially and can be renewed annually provided your business is doing well.

As for the investment itself, there is no minimum requirement as to how much money you should put into the business. However, the authorities will carefully review your business plan and whether the proposed funds are enough to cover all the necessary expenses. It is recommended that you have enough capital to cover your proposed enterprise’s operational expenses for the first three to six months.

In order to apply for the Investment Visa, you will need to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Have no criminal record
  • Possess a strong education background or proof of relevant professional abilities
  • Be able to prove that your business will make a contribution to local economy (use local suppliers, create jobs, etc.)
  • You will need to incorporate a Hong Kong company before applying for the visa

The following documents are required:

  • Duly filled in visa application, sponsored by a Hong Kong sponsor (company or individual)
  • A copy of your ID/passport;
  • A copy of the pages with previous Hong Kong visas/stamps (if any);
  • A copy of your Hong Kong ID card (if any);
  • Proof of academic background relevant work experience
  • A detailed business plan for the next two years ( with information on your business activities, investment amount, job posts, etc.);
  • A copy of your Business Registration Certificate
  • Proof of overseas residence;
  • Copies of sponsor’s documents

 Important:

Make sure all the documents are in English or Chinese or have been translated into English and Chinese by a certified translation agency.

 Good to know:

Depending on your particular case, additional documents may be required.

Internship Visa

You can also apply for an internship visa if you wish to acquire professional experience in Hong Kong. The internship visa is valid for a maximum period of 12 months. To be eligible, you must have a sponsor, such as a reputable company, which will help you complete the formalities and take care of you during your stay in Hong Kong. Moreover, the purpose and content of your course will have to be justified by your sponsor.

 Good to know:

During your internship in Hong Kong, you are allowed to be accompanied by your dependents, that is your spouse and your unmarried and less than 18 year old children.

Working Holiday Visa

A Working Holiday Visa allows you to go to Hong Kong for vacation for a period of up to 12 months and take up temporary employment (you can not work for the same employer for more than 6 months). Extensions are not possible.

Hong Kong currently has Working Holiday Visa (WHV) agreements with ten countries (annual quotas apply): France (200), Austria (100), Australia (5,000), New Zealand (400), Canada (200), Germany (300), Ireland (200), Japan (1,500), Korea (1,000), UK (1,000). Two more countries are expected to join the agreement in 2018: Sweden (500) and Hungary (200).

You need to meet the following criteria to apply for a Working Holiday Visa:

  • Be 18-30 years of age
  • Have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay
  • Present proof that the reason for your stay in Hong Kong is holiday.

Here are the documents you will need to submit:

  • Your ID/passport
  • Bank statement
  • Return flight tickets
  • Medical certificate
  • Expat insurance documents

Student visa

If you wish to enrol for higher studies in Hong Kong, you can apply for a student visa. You are allowed to register for full-time or part-time courses. You will be eligible for a Student Visa if:

  • You have an acceptance letter from a Hong Kong University; and
  • you have proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay;

The documents you will need to submit are:

  • a duly completed Student Visa application (ID 995A);
  • a duly completed application by your sponsor (ID 955B);
  • a copy of your ID/passport/travel document;
  • transcripts, awards and certificates from your previous educational establishments;
  • a copy of the admission letter; and
  • a passport-sized photograph.

 Important:

Note that you cannot take up an internship or any paid job on a Student Visa.

Dependant Visa

If you are planning a long-term stay in Hong Kong, your immediate family are eligible to apply for a Dependant Visa. The following dependants can apply for a visa: your spouse and children under the age of 18 and your parents aged 60 or above. In order to be eligible for the Dependant Visa, your family member will need to present proof of genuine relationship with you and criminal record. You will need to submit proof of your financial standing, which should be enough to support your dependants.

 Useful links:

Hong Kong Immigration Department
Government of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Ministry of Foreign Affairs

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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