What Visa Options Are Available For Expats In Hong Kong?
Hong Kong has a separate visa and immigration policy from China. If you are traveling from Mainland China you will need to go through Immigration and have your papers/passports checked.
If you have the right to live or have land in Hong Kong then you do not need a Visa (details in the section below) You will require a Visa if you wish to live, work or study in Hong Kong. Also if you wish to start or join a business you will need a Visa too. Visas are based on country of residence and nationality. For example, if you are a British national and reside in the UK, you will not need a Visa to visit Hong Kong, and you are allowed to remain there for up to 180 days. Your passport must be valid for 6 months before entering.Visas are required by the nationalities listed here. Generally speaking, European, Australian and United States nationals do not need a visa to visit. Visitors are able to stay between 7 and 180 days, dependant on their nationality and residence. Visitors must have a passport which has been valid for a month.
Unconditional stay – no visa
If you have one of the travel documents below, then you do not require a Visa to enter Hong Kong.
• Passport of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong
• British National Passport
• Hong Kong Identity Card (Permanent)
• Hong Kong Seaman’s Identity book
• Hong Kong re-entry permit (for Macau and mainland China only)
• Hong Kong Certificate of Identity
• Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes
The following travel document information is taken from the Hong Kong Immigration Department website. Also accepted are travel documents bearing one of the following endorsements:
• “Holder’s eligibility for Hong Kong permanent identity card verified.”
• “The holder of this travel document has the right to land in Hong Kong. (Section 2AAA, Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115, Laws of Hong Kong)”
The types of Visas for people entering Hong Kong to live or work are as follows:
EU and non-EU
Training Visas can be valid for up to one year. Chinese applicants who reside in China are usually not included in this, unless the company that is sponsoring them is reputed in Hong Kong and is multinational. This is not available to nationals from Afghanistan, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Nepal, and Mainland China. Further information can be found here.
2.Working Holiday Scheme
EU and non EU
This allows adults aged between 18-30 to come and stay in Hong Kong for up to a year. There is only a certain number of people allowed, and only from these countries: Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada. The quota has been known to vary, so do check up to date records here.
People who undertake the Working Holiday Scheme are able to work a maximum of 3 months with one employer. All of the aforementioned nationalities may also study through this Visa, aside from Irish nationals. People on the scheme must have at least HK$20,000 (convert currency here) in their bank account and have medical insurance during the time they are in Hong Kong.
3.Employment as Domestic Workers
This is a Visa for domestic workers usually from the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. It allows for such workers to come to Hong Kong and reside with the family they work for. They work as domestic helpers assisting families with childcare, cooking, cleaning and other household jobs. Further information can be found here.
4. Supplementary Labour Scheme (Employment as Imported Workers)
EU and non EU
This is for nationals of other countries to be employed in Hong Kong under one employer without change, with the employer paying a fixed levy of £400 HKD a month. The employee can work at below, or equal to the ‘technical level’. The same restrictions on nationalities eligible apply as for the Training Visa.
Guidebook for Imported Workers (PDF)
5. Employment as Professionals (EAP)
Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates: EU and non EU
Non local students who graduate from a degree from a Hong Kong Tertiary Institution do not need permission granted from the Immigration Department of Hong Kong.
General Employment Policy: EU and non EU
The GEP is for nationals of the People’s Republic of China, and non Chinese nationals who have lived overseas for in excess of 12 months. Entrants for this Visa type need permission from the Hong Kong Immigration Department to change employers.
6. Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals
The ASMTP is for residents of Mainland China who are registered as household residents there. Entrants for this Visa type need permission from the Hong Kong Immigration Department to change employers.
Further reading can be found here.
7. Investment Visas
Quality Migrant Admission Scheme: EU and non EU
(participants must be able to speak both English and Mandarin)
The QMAS is a system in Hong Kong that involves two points systems. One system is where points are awarded to an overseas individual for sections such as education, skills, languages spoken, experience, character and age. The second system involves an achievement based test, with such examples as scientists, musicians and olympic medalists. If successful, the participant may reside in Hong Kong with this Visa.
Capital Investment Entrant Scheme
A person who invests money in business but does not work or live in Hong Kong. Various criteria apply, which are highlighted here.
8. Dependant Visas
EU and non EU
Those granted visas for work, study, training, investment, unconditional stay, QMAS or CIES can obtain sponsorship for their spouse and any children under 18. People with unconditional stay can opt to sponsor dependent parents who are over 60 years old. More information is provided here.
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