By Vlad Cuc, specialist in company formation matters
Depending on their citizenship, visitors are allowed to stay in Hong Kong for a period of time that ranges from one week to 180 days without a visa. All persons wanting to live in Hong Kong and tourists are required to obtain a visa from the Immigration Department. The Immigration Department in Hong Kong will issue an ID card. The ID card will allow a foreigner to become a Hong Kong resident and will also grant them access to benefits, such as pension funds or the public care system. A foreign citizen must apply for the ID card within 30 days after obtaining the residency visa.
We invite you to watch a short, informative video about obtaining the residence permit in Hong Kong:
Foreign citizens wanting to live and work in Hong Kong have the possibility to apply for several types of visas depending on their intentions. For those seeking employment, they must apply for an employment visa. Am employment visa can be obtained only if the Hong Kong company hiring them sponsors them and applies for the visa on their behalf. The employment visa is released within four to six weeks from the application. The employment is granted for the period of the employment contract in Hong Kong.
Foreign citizens investing in Hong Kong have the possibility to apply for an investment visa. All they must do is to submit a two-year plan for their developing business and prove they can sustain their business activities in Hong Kong for six months. The investment visa has a two –year validity but can be renewed for two more years and after the first four years every three years. Foreign investors can apply for the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme but they must invest 10 million HK$ in their business in Hong Kong. Through the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme foreign businessmen will also obtain residency in Hong Kong.
Spouses and minors may apply for dependent visas and can live in Hong Kong. The dependent visa also allows them to work and study in Hong Kong.
Foreign citizens may apply for permanent residence after living for seven uninterrupted years in Hong Kong. The Immigration Department assesses each application individually and may require further proof that the applicant has lawfully lived in the city for the said amount of time. For this purpose, the Department may ask for proof that the individual has paid the Hong Kong taxes.
According to the Basic Law of Hong Kong, Chinese nationals born in Hong Kong have permanent residency in the city and so do Chinese nationals who were not born in Hong Kong but who have been living lawfully in the city for seven years. Chinese nationals who were born outside of the city to a father or mother who, at the time of the child’s birth, were Hong Kong residents is also considered a Hong Kong Resident. Foreign individuals both in the city to a parent who was a resident at the time of the child’s birth must apply for their own permanent residence status once they reach the age of 21.
Different conditions apply for dependants and those who seek the right of abode in Hong Kong.
The permanent residence status is not automatically gained and individuals may not use this status until their situation is verified by the Immigration Department. As permanent residents of Hong Kong, they will benefit from social benefits, public housing, assistance allowances and public school access for their children. Foreign citizens with permanent residence in Hong Kong will also receive their ID cards that grant them voting rights. Chinese citizens may benefit from additional rights, for example, the application for home return permits.
Our company formation agents in Hong Kong will help foreign businessmen and citizens in obtaining visas or residence. You can contact us for any questions about the required steps when applying for residency in Hong Kong.