Why Do You Need an HKID and How to Apply for One?

6 minute read

Whether you plan to reside in Hong Kong for a short or long period of time, all foreigners will have to register for a smart identity card – otherwise known as the HKID.

Keep reading to learn more about this smart identity card – discovering what makes it unique, its benefits and why foreigners still require it. You may end up finding valuable information in setting up your business!


What is a Hong Kong identity card?

When a foreigner arrives in Hong Kong (with a proper visa), they are allowed to stay in the region for six months.

However, to become a legal non-permanent resident, one has to apply for a Hong Kong smart identity card.

Registering for a Hong Kong smart identity card is mandatory for everyone. This smart identity card is a document that has a microchip and serves not only as a form of identification but also for various public services.

Hong Kong identity cards are credit-card-size, with each smart identity card embedded with a microchip that has immigration-related data such as thumbprints and personal information on it.

Thanks to this, foreigners can enter and exit the country through automated fingerprint kiosks. However, it is also possible to activate the smart identity card for various non-immigration-related functions such as a library card.

Hong Kong law also requires individuals to carry their smart identity cards with them at all times! But bear in mind that this document does not replace other important information such as travel documents from people’s home countries.

Changes to the Hong Kong identity card

Hong Kong has issued smart identity cards as a form of ID since 2012. However, it has recently undergone a territory-wide identity card replacement exercise towards the new smart identity card that has been upgraded with enhanced security features, card durability as well as the aforementioned chip technology on personal information and data.

Who can apply?

Under the Registration of Persons Ordinance, all residents of Hong Kong aged 11 or above have to register for a smart identity card.

When an individual applies for an identity card in Hong Kong, they have a guaranteed right to remain in the country.

If that person has a family, family members who are older than 11 years of age have to apply for their smart identity cards too. Young children below the ages of 11 do not need to get an HKID.

All individuals should apply for a Hong Kong Identity Card within 30 days of arrival.

How to get an Hong Kong identity card?

To apply for the smart identity card, applicants have to visit the Registration of Persons Offices and file the necessary details in the application form.

To avoid queues, it is possible to make appointment bookings with the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Up to four persons can be registered for a single appointment.

The appointment booking period at the Registration of Persons Offices is approximately 24 working days. As such, applicants are advised to make appointment bookings prior to visiting the office. Applicants may also go online to make an appointment before visiting the Registration of Persons Offices under the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

Once the day of registration arrives, collect and bring valid travel documentation along with your visa. This will prove that you have entered legally and that you are permitted to stay.

Children aged from 11 to 17 years must have their birth certificates too.

To fill out an application form, you first need to obtain one at the office or download the application form for the Hong Kong Identity Card. Alternatively, it is possible to fill out the form on the spot at the office. However, do make sure you have all the necessary documents of all applicants before doing so!

Key benefits and uses of HKID cards

Hong Kong Identity card possessors enjoy the following benefits but also need to be aware of their obligations:

  • The first and most obvious reason behind this card is identification. In other words, individuals who stay in Hong Kong as non-permanent residents have to carry this smart identity card at all times.
  • Hong Kong Identity cards are safe. All data and information is engraved into different layers of the card, stored in the chip which helps prevent stolen or lost cards from being altered or used by other people.
  • The cards provide great convenience since they can be used in various non-immigration applications.
  • All electronic government services are delivered via the card. The smart identity card is the base of this delivery.
  • With the thumbprint templates stored in the chip of the identity card, holders can enjoy more convenient immigration clearance via e-channels of the Automated Passenger Clearance System and the Automated Vehicle Clearance System.
  • Hong Kong Identity cards allow quicker clearance at airports.
  • The smart identity card allows holders to open bank accounts.
  • Hong Kong Identity cards are useful when looking for jobs.

Procedures and timings

The Hong Kong ID card for non-permanent residents grants them the right to reside in the territory for a specified period.

No rights reserved for citizens are reserved for non-permanent residents. These include the right to vote, the right to travel abroad, and so on.

The smart identity card is ready within ten working days (excluding the weekends and holidays) following the submission of the application.

The exact date can be checked on the acknowledgment of the application.

Useful tips and information

  • In order to protect your smart identity card, keep the card in an appropriate holder.
  • Do not bend it or test it with a magnet. Also, do not place the card together with keys or coins.
  • If you lose your card or it gets destroyed, damaged, or defaced, you should report to any Registration of Persons Office and apply for an identity card replacement within 14 days.
  • A fee of HK$370 shall be charged for a smart identity card replacement.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, you now know all the necessary information about the HKID card.

If you plan on staying in Hong Kong, take every measure to respect the local laws!

Registering for this smart identity card is one way to do so. For any queries or further information, feel free to contact us at Sleek!

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