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Excerpted from the Hong Kong Career Guide

Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China in 1997. Since then, visa applications can be made in person at a Chinese embassy or consulate and by mail to the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department. In general, unless a person has the right of abode or right to land in the Hong Kong SAR, he/she requires an entry visa/permit to work, study, establish or join in any business, take up residence or stay in the Hong Kong SAR as a visitor longer than the allowed visa free period.

While each application is determined on its individual merits, an applicant should meet normal immigration requirements (such as holding a valid travel document with adequate return ability to his/her country of residence or citizenship; have a clear criminal record and raise no security or criminal concerns to the Hong Kong SAR; and have no likelihood of becoming a burden on Hong Kong), as well as the relevant specific eligibility criteria detailed below before he/she may be considered for an entry visa/permit. It should be noted the eligibility criteria may be subject to change from time to time.

Visa Application Process and Fees

All applications are processed and determined by the immigration department. Approval of applications is entirely discretionary and is subject to changes in government policies. The director of immigration reserves absolute discretion to refuse any application even if the application meets all eligibility criteria.

If the application is submitted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department directly, payment of fees should be made upon collection of the visa/entry permit either in cash, by electronic payment or by check. The check should be crossed, made payable to ‘The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,’ properly dated and signed. There is an additional service charge for supplying, on application, a copy of any document, or for making or forwarding, or both, a request or recommendation to any authority of a foreign state or commonwealth country, for consular or nationality registration or for the issue or renewal of a passport or other travel document or of a document of identity or for the grant of a visa or entry permit.

Visa Types

Work/Employment Visas

Unless exempted, a visa is needed to work, establish or join in a business venture, or take up residence in Hong Kong. Those entering Hong Kong on a visit (tourist) visa may not be employed or engage in business-related activities during their time in the SAR.

Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG):

Applicants who have obtained a degree or higher qualification in a full-time and locally-accredited program in Hong Kong (hereafter ‘non-local graduates’) may apply to stay/return and work in the HKSAR under the ‘Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates’ (hereafter ‘IANG’). Non-local graduates who submit applications to the immigration department within six months after the date of their graduation (i.e. the date shown on their graduation certificates) are classified as ‘non-local fresh graduates.’ Non-local graduates who submit applications beyond six months of the date of their graduation are classified as ‘returning non-local graduates.’

General Employment Policy (GEP):

If an applicant does not qualify under the IANG schemes, he or she can apply under the General Employment Policy.

Applicants who are not non-local graduates but possess special skills, knowledge or experience of value to and not readily available in the HKSAR may apply to come to work under the GEP...(more)

Student Visas

Students are required to receive an education visa before beginning any course of study in Hong Kong. In order to receive an education visa, the student must be admitted to an accredited school or university in Hong Kong. In some cases, a school will act as the student’s agent for visa issues and will liaise with the immigration department on his or her behalf...(more)


Employment Visa Application (Form ID 990A)
This form is for persons who wish to apply for entry for employment as professionals in Hong Kong. Applicants read the 'Guidebook for Entry for Employment as Professionals in Hong Kong' [ID(E) 991] carefully before completing the form.

This is just a short sample of what you’ll find in over 100 pages of information in the complete Hong Kong Guide.

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