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Hong Kong (City) - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Do take note of the important differences between Hong Kong and China's rules on visas and permits regarding extended stays in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong administration keeps a careful watch on the number of immigrants to keep the resident population within acceptable limits. The two means of control are entry visas and residence permits (Hong Kong ID cards).

The general principle is that unless a person has the right of abode or right to land in the HKSAR, a person must have a valid entry visa and permit to work, study, establish or join in any business, and take up residence or stay in the HKSAR longer than the permissible visa-free period.

(A) Employment visa and Work Permit

It is not easy to convert your visa once you are in Hong Kong. If you intend to work in Hong Kong, the best arrangement would be to arrange for your employment visa before you arrive.

There are three main ways of applying for an employment visa. You can apply for an employment visa at your home country's Chinese Consular and Diplomatic Mission, submit a direct postal application to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, or via a local sponsor. The Immigration Department has a useful pamphlet with instructions on how to go about applying for a visa while overseas.

To apply for an employment visa, you will need to show evidence of your intended employment, such as a letter of offer from your employer, or contract, or employment certificate and your financial standing, such as bank statements or tax receipts.

You can apply for an employment visa under several schemes. For details, refer to the Immigration Department (Tel: 2824 6111; website The employment visa is issued in your passport. You will also need to apply for a work permit. Work Permits are renewable once every 2 years.

The Immigration Department is located at 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. Working Hours:

Mon – Fri 8:45 am - 4:30 pm; Sat 9:00 am - 11:30am; Closed on Sundays and public holidays.

(B) Hong Kong ID card

Anyone who intends to remain in Hong Kong for more than 180 days must apply for a Hong Kong ID card. This includes spouses and dependants over 11 years of age. You must apply for an ID card within 30 days of arrival. You can apply for the card overseas, but you have to collect the ID card in person. The ID card is a credit-card sized photo-card that you should carry at all times as proof of your residency status in Hong Kong. Refer to the Immigration Department website for more details.

Registering births and deaths

A birth should be registered within 42 days of delivery. The presence of the baby is not required; the presence of either parent is sufficient. For more information, refer to this link. To confirm the citizenship of your child, do check with your respective country's consular for advice. For more information on how to register a death, refer to this link.

Registering your marriage

If you wish to register your marriage in Hong Kong, you may do so, regardless of your residency status. The minimum legal age for getting married is 16 years old. For more information, click here.

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