Types of Visas in Hong Kong

Types of Visas in Hong Kong

Hong Kong stands among the most accommodating jurisdictions for businesses seeking foreign investment. A primary driver of this reputation is its immigration strategy, meticulously crafted to cater to investors, entrepreneurial individuals, and skilled professionals.

Let’s have a look at the different type of visa and their main characteristics.

Work Visa (Employment Visa)

The Employment Visa is intended for individuals who will be working for a Hong Kong-based company and residing within the city. Notably, there is no established quota system that restricts the issuance of Employment Visas to any particular company. It's important to note that the application for an Employment Visa is only permissible once the individual has successfully secured a job offer from a Hong Kong company.

 Who can apply for a working visa? Individuals who have received a confirmed job offer from a Hong Kong-based company, and falls in the below two categories: 

  • Foreigners who have graduated from an academic institute in Hong Kong
  • Foreigners who graduated overseas and possess special skills, knowledge or experience not readily available in the Hong Kong

Which are the basic requirements for a working visa?

  • Demonstrated skills, knowledge, or experience relevant to the job.
  • A reasonable salary commensurate with the position and industry norms.
  • A clean criminal record.

The visa is usually valid for one year, renewable. Employment Visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent residence status after having resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of at least seven years.

Investment Visa

The Investment Visa falls within the category of an Employment Visa and is tailored for foreign entrepreneurs seeking to establish their business in Hong Kong. This visa option allows foreign entrepreneurs to reside in Hong Kong as employees of their own company.

Notably, there is no specified minimum investment threshold mandated by the authorities for individuals applying for the Investment Visa

Who can apply for an investment visa?

Individuals who intend to establish or join a business in Hong Kong
and who possess a good educational background or good technical qualifications, relevant professional abilities, achievements and experience. The applicant must prove that the business will make a substantial contribution to the economy of Hong Kong.

Which are the basic requirements for an investment visa?

  • A well-defined business plan.
  • Substantial investment in the business.
  • Proof of relevant experience or expertise.
  • Potential to contribute to Hong Kong's economy.

The visa is usually valid for one year, renewable. Employment Visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent residence status after having resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of at least seven years.

Dependant Visa

The Dependant Visa functions as a visa intended for the purpose of relocation, targeting the immediate family members of foreign individuals who possess a valid Hong Kong visa for employment, investment, training, or study, or who hold permanent residency in Hong Kong. This category includes the spouse and unmarried children under 18 years of age.

The duration of the dependant's stay in Hong Kong is correlated with the duration of the sponsor's stay. Essentially, a Dependant Visa holder is granted the ability to reside, work, and study in Hong Kong for the same period that the principal visa holder is authorized to stay in the region.

Depending on the residency status of the sponsor, eligible dependants have the opportunity to seek residence in Hong Kong under the following categories:

Category A – Applicable to sponsors who hold Hong Kong permanent residency or are residents with an unrestricted limit of stay (such as those with the right to land or unconditional stay):

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under 18 years of age (including legally adopted)
  • Parents aged 60 years and above

Category B – Designed for sponsors who have been granted a visa for employment in a professional capacity, investment to establish or join a business, training, full-time undergraduate or post-graduate studies in a local degree-awarding institution, or those who are allowed to remain in Hong Kong through the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children under 18 years of age (including legally adopted)

A Dependant Visa application must meet the following criteria:

  • Substantiation of a legitimate relationship between the applicant (i.e., dependant) and the sponsor
  • Absence of any documented records that could adversely affect the applicant
  • The sponsor's ability to demonstrate substantial financial support for the dependants and provide suitable accommodation for their stay in Hong Kong

Student Visa

The Student Visa is intended for individuals who will be study for a Hong Kong-based university and residing within the city. 

Who can apply for a student visa?

Individuals pursuing full-time studies in Hong Kong.

Which are the basic requirements for a student visa?

  • Acceptance by a recognized educational institution in Hong Kong.
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition fees and living expenses.
  • No intention to engage in paid employment during studies.

Training Visa

An application for a training visa in Hong Kong will provide the applicant with a visa or entry permit that allows them to enter Hong Kong for a restricted duration, typically up to one year (12 months), for the purpose of undergoing specialized training. This training is intended to acquire unique skills and knowledge that are not readily accessible in the applicant's home country or region. 

Who can apply for a training visa?

Individuals participating in a training program conducted by a Hong Kong company.

Which are the basic requirements for a training visa?

  • A well-structured training program with clear objectives.
  • Sponsoring company's commitment to provide necessary resources.
  • Proof of relevant qualifications or experience.
  • No intention to undertake employment unrelated to the training

Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) is an initiative designed for foreign individuals aspiring to explore employment or business prospects in Hong Kong. This scheme operates on a quota system (suspended for 2 years with effect from 1 January 2023) and evaluates candidates based on a points framework.

Once selected, successful participants are required to take proactive measures to integrate into Hong Kong by either securing meaningful employment or establishing a business within the visa's valid duration.

Who can apply for the QMAS?

Individuals with exceptional skills, talents, or experience who wish to reside in Hong Kong.

Which are the basic requirements for a QMAS?

  • Satisfy any of the achievement-based criteria (e.g., educational qualifications, work experience, language skills).
  • Aged 18 or above.
  • No security or criminal record.

A similar type of visa is the Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS)

Business Visit Visa

The Business Visit Visa is distinct from a work visa and serves the purpose of facilitating business executives' attendance to business-related matters in Hong Kong.

Citizens from over 170 countries and territories are eligible for visa-free visits to Hong Kong, ranging from 7 to 180 days.

Individuals arriving in Hong Kong on a visit visa for business reasons are permitted to engage in various business-oriented activities. These activities include:

  • finalizing contracts or tender submissions;
  • overseeing the installation or packaging of goods and equipment;
  • participating in exhibitions or trade fairs (excluding direct sales to the general public);
  • resolving disputes or civil proceedings;
  • attending product orientation sessions;
  • exploring business opportunities;
  • meeting clients or suppliers based in Hong Kong; and,
  • attending brief seminars or business gatherings.

To substantiate the purpose of the business visit, applicants must provide evidence, such as:

  • an invitation letter from a local company; or
  • a trade body, confirming their participation in trade fairs and exhibitions.

It's important to note that individuals entering Hong Kong with a visit visa intended for business purposes are prohibited from taking up any form of employment, establishing or joining businesses, or enrolling in educational institutions.


Hong Kong offers a diverse range of visas catering to various purposes, from employment and investment to study and training. Each visa category has its own set of requirements and eligibility criteria. It's crucial to thoroughly understand the specific requirements associated with the visa you intend to apply.

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