Visas for Hong Kong

Visas for Hong Kong
Updated 2023-01-14 19:31

Hong Kong is one of the world's most popular travel destinations in the world. People come here for tourism, business, transit to other countries, and more. Moreover, as Hong Kong is a key financial and business in Southeast Asia, it's also home to a lot of expats.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were roughly 700,000 legally registered expats in Hong Kong. And even though a large number of expats left the city in 2020, Hong Kong still has a substantial foreign population.

You may be considering traveling to Hong Kong for different reasons. And depending on the purpose of your stay and your country of origin, you may or may not need a visa to travel to Hong Kong.

Do I need a visa to Hong Kong?

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 travelers can visit Hong Kong visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. To check whether your country belongs to the list of visa-exempt countries, check "Entry Permit Requirements for Hong Kong Special Region”. If your country is not on the visa-exempt list, you will need to apply for a visa before traveling to Hong Kong.

Nationals from about 170 countries and regions may visit Hong Kong without a visa for a period from seven to 180 days. US, EU, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand nationals can travel to Hong Kong and stay visa-free for up to 90 days. UK nationals can stay in Hong Kong visa-free for up to 180 days.

All visitors traveling to Hong Kong (regardless of the visa requirements) must have a passport valid for at least one to six months (depending on nationality) after the period of their intended stay in Hong Kong.

Types of visas to Hong Kong

Various types of visas are intended for 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. Make sure to check with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate for the most up-to-date information.

How to apply for a work visa to Hong Kong?

A work visa is the only visa that allows you to be legally employed in Hong Kong. The 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 favorably considered if:

  • You can provide a criminal record demonstrating no security objection to your residence in Hong Kong;
  • You have a strong academic 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, proof of your professional experience, a job offer in Hong Kong, and so on.


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

How to apply for an investment visa to Hong Kong?

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 them 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 academic background or proof of relevant professional abilities
  • Be able to prove that your business will make a contribution to the 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 form, 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 and 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 your sponsor's documents


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.

How to apply for an internship visa to Hong Kong?

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.

How to apply for a working holiday visa to Hong Kong?

A working holiday visa (WHV) 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 old
  • 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:

  • A valid form of ID
  • A bank statement with sufficient funds to support your stay
  • Return flight tickets
  • Medical certificate
  • Expat insurance documents

How to apply for a student visa to Hong Kong?

If you wish to enroll 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.


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

How to apply for a dependent visa to Hong Kong?

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

Traveling to Hong Kong

Once you've secured the right type of visa for traveling to Hong Kong, you can start making your travel plans. Most major airlines fly to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Asia.

Planning your trip to Hong Kong should be relatively easy. However, there are still a few things you should keep in mind:

Make sure to check the latest health safety regulations and requirements for entering Hong Kong. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has often implemented quarantine-on-arrival rules and other additional safety measures.

Don't bring controlled and forbidden items to Hong Kong. These include dangerous drugs, psychotropic substances, controlled chemicals, antibiotics, etc.


Effective as of April 30, 2022, Hong Kong customs prohibit taking alternative smoking products (such as electronic cigarettes) on board an aircraft, carrying them on your person, and storing them in Hong Kong.

Note that it's illegal to carry sleeping pills, antibiotics, and some other medication without a prescription from your doctor.

While Hong Kong is a generally safe city with a low crime rate, you should still exercise due caution as a tourist in the city. Petty theft in busy tourist areas is quite common — so you should keep an eye on your belongings at all times.

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.