Visas for Hong Kong
Depending on their nationality and the purpose of their stay, expats may need to get a visa in order to enter, work, study or live in Hong Kong. Fortunately, visa requirements aren't as stringent as in many other countries, and forms can be completed in English. A variety of companies are also available to assist expats with applying for the appropriate visa for Hong Kong.
Entry visas for Hong Kong
Expats planning to visit Hong Kong should find out whether an entry visa needs to be obtained prior to departure. People who arrive in Hong Kong without the correct documentation will be denied entry, and promptly placed on the next plane back to where they came from.
Citizens from as many as 165 countries can enter Hong Kong without a visa for a limited amount of time, provided they have a passport valid for a recommended period of at least six months beyond the period they intend to stay in Hong Kong.
That said, different periods of stay are granted to different nationals, so expats should be aware of the amount of time specifically associated with their nationality. Citizens of the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, among others, do not need a visa for entrance into Hong Kong.
Many African and Eastern European citizens do, however, need an entry visa. This documentation can be applied for at the nearest Chinese diplomatic and consular mission, or can be applied for directly through the Hong Kong Immigration Department, via post or through a local sponsor.
Work permits for Hong Kong (GEP)
Given its formidable international presence and its status as a former British colony, Hong Kong’s employment visa legislation is fairly liberal. No quota restrictions are in place for general employment permits, and they are not sector-specific. Work permits in Hong Kong are called General Employment Policy (GEP) visas.
Generally, work permits are easy to come by if expats can prove they don't have a criminal record, that they have a high level of education or possess a highly specialised skill set that will be of value to society and isn't readily available locally.
That said, expats who are not from Mainland China and who are not graduates of a Hong Kong university must have a job contract and an employer sponsor before applying for a work permit.
Dependant visas for Hong Kong
Expats applying for a GEP are entitled to legally bring their dependants to Hong Kong. According to Immigration, dependants include unmarried children under the age of 18, spouses and parents over the age of 60. An Application for Entry for Residence as Dependants form should be filled out along with the original GEP application.
Expats will also have to provide proof of their relationship with their dependants, and must be able to show that they can financially support and accommodate these individuals while living in Hong Kong.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.