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Hong Kong - Registration and Residency

Most foreigners travel to Hong Kong under a work permit, or work visa. These professionals are gainfully employed by a Hong Kong employer and are sponsored by that employer. There are no limits on work visas, or dependent visas, although there are quotas on some of the other Hong Kong visas.
You must apply for a Hong Kong ID card if you are planning to remain there for more than 180 days. Spouses and dependents must also apply for an ID card.

The applications for the Hong Kong ID card must be made within 30 days of arriving in Hong Kong. If you have children then they should apply for their card within 30 days of their 11th birthday. Once a child turns 18, they have to apply for an adult card. Should you lose your card or have it stolen then you must apply for a new one within 14 days. You should also report the loss of your card to the Registration of Persons Office. If you find your old card later then you need to turn it in because having more than one is considered an offence in Hong Kong.

The application for the Hong Kong ID card can be made at a Registration of Persons Office. It is recommended that you make an appointment in advance. These can be made online. If you are arriving from Mainland China and have a One-way Exit Chinese Permit then you must apply for an ID card at the Registration of Persons Office in Kowloon.

It usually takes about 10 days to receive your ID card. The first one is free but if you need a replacement card you’ll need to pay a fee. Initial cards are issued free of charge but a fee will be levied for replacements where there has been a loss of a card or alterations are required.

Required documents include birth certificates, passports, employment visas, proof of address, and proof of employment which could mean a copy of a recent pay stub or a letter from your employer.

If you decide to leave Hong Kong for more than 3 months then you must let the Registration of Persons department know. You might need to give up your Hong Kong ID card depending on how long you plan to be gone.

If you live in Hong Kong for a period of 7 years without interruption you are able to apply for permanent residency. You will need to show proof that you have lived in Hong Kong for 7 years. Proof can consist of pay stubs, a letter from your employer, school documents, official receipts, bank statements or income tax receipts. You might also have to present a travel document showing your entry to Hong Kong as well as your current condition of stay in Hong Kong. You will also have to make a declaration that you have taken Hong Kong as your place of permanent residence. This is made on Form ROP146 and is submitted with the application.

If your eligibility for a permanent identity card is verified, your condition of stay in Hong Kong will be cancelled, if you had any conditions. Those over the age of 11 can go to the Registration of Persons Office to apply for a Hong Kong permanent identity card.

More information concerning permanent residency can be found on the Immigration Department’s website:

Immigration Department
Immigration Tower,
7 Gloucester Road,
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2824 6111

Citizens from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada living in Hong Kong can access information from the Consular sections of their Embassies. Most suggest that their citizens register with the consulate when they arrive in Hong Kong to take up residence there. The following is a list of consulates that are represented in Hong Kong.

US Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau
26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2523 9011
Fax: 852 2845 1598

British Consulate-General
1 Supreme Court Road, Hong Kong (PO Box 528)
Tel: 852 2901 3000

Consulate General of Canada
14th Floor, One Exchange Square, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2810 4321
Fax: 852 2810 6736

Australian Consulate-General
23/F, Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2827 8881
Fax: 852 2585 4457

New Zealand Consulate General
6501 Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 852 2525 5044
Fax: 852 2845 2915

If you are from a country in the EU, then you are entitled to consular help from any EU consular representation abroad if your own country isn’t locally represented. Information on foreign consulates and Embassies can be found on the European Commission's website:

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