Applying for Visa
You may learn about our talent admission schemes and make use of our assessment tool to find out about the scheme(s) you may be eligible for in the section titled "Visa Applications" at this website.
For the Top Talent Pass Scheme, only online applications are accepted.
You can submit visa application anytime and anywhere through the Immigration Department's electronic services. While applicants may make applications and pay the fee by mail for most of the admission schemes (except for the Top Talent Pass Scheme), we strongly advise applicants to submit their applications online to ensure speedy processing and avoid the risk of accidental displacement of application documents in the mailing process.
The documents required for application vary between the different talent admission schemes and also depend on whether you are applying as the primary applicant or the dependant. You are advised to refer to the Immigration Department's website for specific details.
The fee for an ordinary visa is HK$230. Please refer to the fee table for up-to-date information.
Applicants may choose to pay the fee online or in person at the relevant office of the Immigration Department. For application submitted online, a webpage link for payment will be provided at the time of notification of the visa approval. The payment can be made by credit card, Payment by Phone Service (PPS) or Faster Payment System (FPS). After payment, applicants could instantly download or print the "e-Visa" by themselves.
If the applicant or his/her authorised representative attends the relevant immigration office in person to pay, the relevant fee could be settled in cash or by EPS, Octopus, FPS or cheque. An "e-Visa" can be printed on a sheet of A4 white paper on the spot after the payment. The applicant can also download or print the "e-Visa" afterwards through the GovHK website or the Immigration Department's mobile application.
If the application is submitted to an overseas Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or the Immigration Division of the Beijing Office or the Immigration Division of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Shanghai (SHETO), the visa/entry permit fee should be paid directly to the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or the Immigration Division of the Beijing Office or the Immigration Division of the SHETO as appropriate.
Generally speaking, applications under the Top Talent Pass Scheme, General Employment Policy, Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals, Technology Talent Admission Scheme, Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents and Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates can be processed within four weeks upon receipt of all the required documentation.
For the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme, upon streamlining of the application procedures, it is expected that the processing of applications can be completed within 5 months.
The latest date on which you should make your first journey to Hong Kong will be stated on your visa.
You may submit application to come to Hong Kong for investment as entrepreneurs under the General Employment Policy.
- StartmeupHK Venture Programme administered by InvestHK;
- Incu-App, Incu-Bio and Incu-Tech programmes administered by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation;
- Cyberport Incubation Programme;
- Enterprise Support Scheme administered by the Innovation and Technology Commission; and
- Design Incubation Programme administered by the Hong Kong Design Centre.
Successful applicants may apply to bring in their spouse or the other party to a same-sex civil partnership, same-sex civil union, "same-sex marriage", opposite-sex civil partnership or opposite-sex civil union entered into by you in accordance with the local law in force of the place of celebration and with such status being legally and officially recognised by the local authorities of the place of celebration AND unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 to Hong Kong.
Applications for entry for residence for dependants can be made online, or you may download and complete an application form and submit it by post or in person to designated Immigration Department offices. The dependants' length of stay will normally be linked to that of the sponsor and they are free to take up employment or study during their stay in Hong Kong.
As your child is over 18 years of age, he/ she will not be considered as your dependant and you will not be able to sponsor his/ her entry for residence in Hong Kong as your dependant. He/ She may wish to consider applying under the other admission schemes.
Generally speaking, you should submit your application within 4 weeks prior to the expiry of your current limit of stay. You may refer to individual admission schemes at the Immigration Department's website for details.
Preparing for Your Move
Hong Kong is an open and resilient economy with ample opportunities for talents with different skill sets. You may find recruitment agencies and headhunters in Hong Kong who will be happy to give you advice and information on suitable openings according to your skills and attributes. Normally, employers and not job seekers will be charged a fee by the agency for such service. In addition, with free flow of information in Hong Kong, you will be able to find job opportunities on many online job boards.
Job seekers can also learn about the latest career and training information and search for job opportunities from the Government's online manpower information portal talent.gov.hk.
Hong Kong applies 31 international labour conventions of the International Labour Organisation, with a wide range of employees' rights such as statutory minimum wage, rest days, statutory holidays, paid sick leave, maternity leave, paternity leave and annual leave, severance and long service payment, employees' compensation for work injuries, occupational safety and health and Mandatory Provident Fund schemes covered by a comprehensive set of labour legislation.
The Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) system was launched in December 2000 to help Hong Kong's workforce save up for their retirement.
As an employee, whether full-time or part-time, your employer will enrol you in an MPF scheme within the first 60 days if you have been employed for a continuous period of 60 days or more. Both employees and employers are required to make mandatory contributions of 5% of the employee's relevant income into the employee's MPF account, subject to the minimum and maximum relevant income levels. Mandatory contributions made for an employee are fully and immediately vested in the employee once they are paid into his/ her MPF account. Any investment return derived from the mandatory contributions is also fully and immediately vested in that employee. An employee can also claim tax deduction under salaries tax for the MANDATORY contributions made to an MPF scheme, subject to a maximum amount as prescribed in the Inland Revenue Ordinance.
Further details on the MPF system can be found at the website of the MPF Schemes Authority.
Under the MPF system, employers are legally obliged to enrol their new employees, whether they be full-time or part-time, in the MPF scheme they are participating in within the 60-day enrolment deadline. Employers must make mandatory contributions for their employees with their own funds. They must also deduct the employee's contributions from his/ her relevant income for each contribution period (generally the wage period).
Business owners who are self-employed persons (SEP) are also required to enrol themselves in an MPF scheme and open an SEP account within the first 60 days of becoming self-employed. They are required to make mandatory contributions equal to 5% of their relevant income to an MPF scheme on a monthly or yearly basis. You may refer to the website of the MPF Schemes Authority for details.
Hong Kong adopts the territoriality basis of taxation, whereby only income/ profit sourced in Hong Kong is subject to tax and that derived from a source outside Hong Kong by a local resident is in most cases not taxed in Hong Kong. Therefore, Hong Kong residents generally do not suffer from double taxation. Many jurisdictions which tax their residents on a worldwide basis also provide their residents operating businesses in Hong Kong with unilateral tax credit relief for any Hong Kong tax paid on income/ profit derived from Hong Kong.
Notwithstanding this, the Government recognises that there are merits in concluding Comprehensive Double Taxation Agreements (CDTAs) with our trading partners to help investors better assess their potential tax liabilities on economic activities and provide an added incentive for overseas companies to do business in Hong Kong. As at November 2022, Hong Kong has signed CDTAs with 46 jurisdictions and is in negotiations with 13 jurisdictions.
If you already have a job offer in Hong Kong, you may ask the human resources department of your prospective employer on some advice on accommodation. There are also many online platforms where you can search and book for hotels and guesthouses for short-term stay, while you take time to explore the city and decide on your preferred area of stay. It is advisable to stay in licensed hotels and guesthouses, which you can search by district from the Home Affairs Department's website.
Serviced apartments are also a good choice, particularly if you are coming with your family and wish to have a more homelike and spacious living space. Serviced apartments come with an equipped kitchen, amenities and periodic housekeeping service, and are usually more cost effective for longer stays.
As there can be quite a demand for quality hotels and serviced apartments, you are strongly advised to book well in advance of your move.
Hong Kong is one of the top international financial centres and home to many major global banks. Before you move, you may wish to explore with your local bank if they have a presence in Hong Kong. If your bank has a global network, they may be able to open a local bank account for you in Hong Kong while you keep your bank account in your home country. You may also consider opening an offshore bank account which enables you to keep your money with the same bank in a central location irrespective of where you will be moving.
Hong Kong has a world-class health system consisting of public and private medical sectors providing comprehensive and efficient healthcare services.
The public medical sector, comprising hospitals and institutions as well as general and specialist out-patient clinics run by the Hospital Authority and Department of Health, provides quality healthcare to Hong Kong citizens who are holders of Hong Kong identity card (and children under the age of 11 who are Hong Kong residents) at highly subsidised and very affordable rates.
Hong Kong also has a robust private medical sector with practitioners trained both locally and from around the world. On top of 12 private hospitals, there are plenty of general practitioners' and specialists' clinics and Chinese medicine practitioners. You can also find further information on primary care medical practitioners at the Government's primary care directory.
As in many places, services provided by the public medical sector in Hong Kong are always in great demand and waiting times for non-urgent or stable cases can be long. To give yourself a wider option in healthcare, it is recommended that you take out health insurance. There are many insurance providers and health insurance plans in Hong Kong from which you can choose from. Local health insurance plans cost less as they only cover medical expenses incurred in Hong Kong. Depending on your needs, you may wish to consider international health insurance plans which give your more flexibility by being transferable to different countries but understandably attract a higher premium.
Depending on where your driving licence is issued, you may apply for a full driving licence by direct issue without test in Hong Kong.
If your driving licence was not issued by one of the countries or places specified by the Transport Department, you can apply for a temporary driving licence which is subject to, among other things, your having applied for a driving test within 3 months after the date of arrival in Hong Kong. If the holder of a temporary driving licence subsequently fails in any part of the driving test, the temporary driving licence will be cancelled immediately and the relevant holder cannot apply for another temporary driving licence.
Please refer to the Transport Department's website for further information.
Yes you can. Vehicles imported into Hong Kong are not subject to any customs tax. Nevertheless, before importing a vehicle, you are required to ensure that it meets the applicable requirements for registration and that it is fully compliant with air quality and noise emission standards. You may refer to the Transport Department's website for details.
Before setting foot in Hong Kong, you have to apply for a Special Permit from the Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to bring your pet to Hong Kong. Depending on the source country and the availability of the required health and vaccination certification, your pet may not be required to undergo the four-month quarantine period. Please refer to AFCD's website for further details. You can also seek advice from AFCD directly if required.
Dogs and cats less than 5 months old or more than 4 weeks pregnant; Pit Bull Terrier (also known as the American Staffordshire Terrier), the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Braziliero (and any dog of their crossbreeds); and Bengal cats not of 5th or above 5th generation shall not be imported/ transshipped. You may wish to refer to AFCD's website for further information and updates.
Arriving and Settling In
Starting from 29 December 2022, inbound travellers are no longer required to undergo nucleic acid testing upon arrival. Neverthless, all inbound persons (aged three or above on the date of arrival at Hong Kong) are required to conduct the pre-departure test and obtain a negative result for entering Hong Kong. They should keep the photos showing the test results or the test report for 90 days for presentation for checking on request by Government personnel. The Government also recommends all inbound persons to conduct daily rapid antigen tests from the day of arrival at Hong Kong until Day 5 after arrival at Hong Kong.
As the inbound control arrangements may be adjusted from time to time in accordance with the development of the local COVID epidemic situation, you are advised to check information on inbound travel before you make your travel arrangements to Hong Kong.
To safeguard public health and to allow the resuming of normal activities of the society gradually, the Government is implementing a free territory-wide COVID-19 Vaccination Programme for all Hong Kong residents. Vaccination services are available in community vaccination centres, selected general out-patient clinics and many private medical practitioners' clinics free of charge. Further details can be found at the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme website.
You can dial 999 to request for police, fire or ambulance assistance in case of emergencies.
The Hong Kong education system comprises of kindergarten education, 6 years of primary education and 6 years of secondary education. The 12 years of free primary and secondary education are mainly provided by public schools. There are also private schools comprising Direct Subsidy Scheme (DSS) schools, private independent schools and international schools including those run by the English Schools Foundation (ESF).
Kindergarten education in Hong Kong is optional, but virtually all children aged 3 to 5 were attending kindergartens in the 2021/22 school year. Kindergartens are run privately, but the Government provides a subsidy sufficient for the provision of good quality half-day service to local non-profit-making kindergartens joining the kindergarten education scheme. Further details on kindergarten education can be found at the website of the Education Bureau (EDB).
For primary and secondary education, public sector schools form the majority in the free 6-year primary and 6-year secondary education. These consist of government schools operated directly by the Government; and aided schools and Caput schools that are fully subvented by the Government, mostly run by religious, charitable or clan organisations, and managed by their own incorporated management committees or school management committees. Primary and secondary education are also provided by DSS schools, which enjoy greater flexibility in charging school fees whilst receiving Government subvention mainly based on enrolment, and self-financed private schools, which provide alternatives to parents. Further details on primary education and secondary education can be found at EDB's website.
The Government is committed to developing a vibrant international school sector mainly to meet the demand for international school places from non-local families living in Hong Kong and families coming to Hong Kong for work or investment. In the 2021/22 academic year, there were 54 international schools in Hong Kong, which generally operate on a self-financing basis and offer different non-local curricula.
Further details can be found at the International Schools in Hong Kong website.
EDB provides support services for newly-arrived children, including the 6-month full-time Initiation Programme and the 60-hour Induction Programme, and provides public sector schools and DSS schools admitting these students with a School-based Support Scheme Grant to run school-based support programmes for them, so as to help them better integrate into the local community and overcome learning difficulties. All these support services are available to newly-arrived children from the Mainland, non-Chinese speaking children and returnee children. Placement service and information on study pathways are also provided for them as appropriate. Further details can be found at EDB's website.
For Government and aided schools, the application process for primary school education is generally done through the Primary One Admission system. Parents may apply for central allocation, where they will be given a choice of schools in the neighbourhood, or discretionary places admission, where they can apply to one school either in or out of their residential area. For secondary school education, the application process is generally done through the Secondary School Places Allocation System where students are allocated based on their primary education results. New arrivals can apply directly to the School Places Allocation section of EDB.
For international schools, they generally accept applications from new students throughout the year but could have long waiting lists. Schools run by ESF are divided into geographical zones and will only accept students within a certain catchment area.