Dependant Visa Hong Kong:
What You Need to Know for Your Business Prospects
10 minute read
Hong Kong is seen as one of the leading regions of Asia and the world when it comes to business and job opportunities.
It takes pride in its huge expatriate community where people come together from all corners of the globe to create a thriving business landscape. Many of their business ideas and personal goals can become a reality in Hong Kong, and it’s a great place to pursue them.
However, in order to properly settle in Hong Kong, one has to apply for a Hong Kong visa. In many cases, those who want to move to Hong Kong have families to bring over as well. This is where the Dependant Visa Scheme comes in.
If you have decided to move to Hong Kong and you want to bring your loved ones along, we’ve laid out all the important information down below.
- What is a dependant visa?
- Who is eligible for a dependant visa?
- What documents are required?
- What does a typical application procedure look like?
- How much does a dependant visa cost?
- Can dependant visa holders work?
- Can I renew, extend, or convert my dependant visa?
- Wrap up
What is a dependant visa?
Hong Kong authorities released the Dependant Visa Scheme to make it easier for foreigners to become sponsors for their loved ones and help them legally reside in Hong Kong as well.
A sponsor must hold a valid visa such as an employment visa, an investment visa, or a student visa in order to acquire dependant visas. These are valid for dependant partners, parents, and children who fit the correct criteria and wish to live in Hong Kong as well.
In its essence, the dependant visa is a relocation visa created for the immediate family members of foreign nationals holding a valid Hong Kong visa of any nature.
Who is eligible for a dependant visa?
As mentioned, the most important factor in obtaining a dependant visa is the residency status of the sponsor. Depending on the sponsor’s status, there are two categories of dependants who can apply to join them and reside in the region of Hong Kong.
This category is designed for sponsors who are Hong Kong permanent residents or residents who are not subject to a limited stay. In other words, this applies to residents who hold the right to land and can stay for however long they’d like without restrictions.
Sponsors can bring over their partners, single children under 18 years of age, and parents of at least 60 years of age, except those dependants of Chinese nationality*.
*Mainland Chinese dependants need to apply for the “One Way Permit” from the China Local Policy Authority. The ImmD has no right to grant a visa to a Chinese if the Sponsor is PR or residents who are not subject to a limited stay.
This category is designed for sponsors who hold a visa for either of the following:
- Employment as a professional
- Investment to join or establish a business
- Studies or training
- Permitted to stay in Hong Kong under the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme
These individuals can bring their partners and children under the age of 18, including legally adopted children.
What documents are required?
In order to obtain this visa, a foreigner first has to collect various supporting documents that need to be submitted upon applying.
Every applicant needs to complete a dependant visa application form. Keep in mind that parents should sign the form for their children who are under 16 years of age.
Category B dependants are not required need to fill in the separate dependant visa application form if the sponsors and the dependants are applying for all visas at the same time. The reason behind this is that the application forms for employment or investment visas, training visas, and visas designed for studies already have a sponsor’s principal application, and they will be grouped together upon application.
You’ll also need to submit a copy of the personal particulars page from each applicant’s passport. If the applicant is currently staying in Hong Kong, make sure to include the latest arrival stamp in Hong Kong.
If the applicant is a Chinese resident who has not been issued with a travel document, they may submit a photocopy of their China resident identity card. If they’re from Taiwan, they can do the same with their Taiwan identity card. However, the applicant must hold and submit a valid travel document to Immigration Department before approval, otherwise the application will not be approved.
It is also necessary to submit a copy of the sponsor’s Hong Kong identity card, if they have one.
Finally, you must submit a copy of proof of the sponsor’s relation to the applicant (e.g. marriage certificates, birth certificates, family photos, family letters).
What does a typical application procedure look like?
Once all the necessary documentation is done, they all need to be submitted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. It’s good to note that if you cannot personally come and hand in the documents in Hong Kong, you can do this at any nearby Chinese Embassy or Consulate. If you are a foreigner living in Mainland China, you can submit the documents to the Hong Kong Immigration Division in Beijing.
Should you need to apply for multiple visas at once, the application can be submitted by your sponsor together with their principal visa application form.
When you submit all of the requested documents, the Immigration Department will begin processing your dependant visa. The whole process usually takes 6 to 8 weeks to complete. If your application gets approved, the Immigration Department will issue you a visa (or an entry permit label). Either you or your sponsor can collect it in person.
If submitted to the embassy or a consular body, your visa or entry permit will be issued to the relevant Chinese diplomatic mission or the Hong Kong Immigration Department in Beijing on behalf of the Immigration Department.
For non-Mainland residents, when you officially receive the visa, it is necessary to affix it on a blank visa page of your passport. After it’s safely placed in your passport, you can present it to the Immigration Officer once you arrive in Hong Kong.
However, if you are a resident in Mainland China and receive the entry permit label, it is necessary to obtain an exit-entry permit (EEP) in order to travel to and from Hong Kong and Macau, and a relevant exit endorsement from the Public Security Bureau office where your home registration is located.
Finally, the entry permit label needs to be affixed onto a blank endorsement page of your EEP on which the relevant exit endorsement has been acquired. The EEP has to be shown to the Immigration Officer once you arrive in Hong Kong.
How much does a dependant visa cost?
The fees for a dependant visa are very affordable.
For the ordinary visa, you have to pay HKD $230 in fees. If the change of conditions of stay or an extension of the limit of stay is necessary, that will cost an additional HKD $230.
A transfer of endorsement (transferring your visa to a new passport), is HKD $240.
Can dependant visa holders work?
Even though a dependant visa is seen as a relocation visa by most foreigners residing overseas, it is possible to do work and receive proper remuneration for it without breaking the law under certain circumstances.
For most cases, dependants are eligible to take up employment in Hong Kong. As long as the individual has a sponsor who is a Hong Kong permanent resident, is not subject to a limit of stay, admitted for employment or investing, or an entrant under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme or Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.
However, dependants admitted into Hong Kong to study are not allowed to work in Hong Kong unless they receive a permit from the Director of Immigration.
Dependant Visa holders don’t need to apply for a separate Employment Visa in order to obtain employment in Hong Kong.
If the candidate meets the requirements that all dependant visa holders meet above, they are allowed to work and take up any internship they like.
Starting a business
Fortunately, it is possible to start a business as a dependant in Hong Kong. Hong Kong encourages bright new ideas, even if the entrepreneur holds a dependant visa. Here are some reasons why you should start a business in Hong Kong!
Can I renew, extend, or convert my dependant visa?
The dependant visa length is usually tied to the sponsor’s allowed length of stay. If your sponsor’s visa will be valid for longer than your dependant visa, there are various methods you can use to renew or extend your dependant visa.
Renewing dependant visas
You must apply for a renewal of the visa by filing the renewal request at least four weeks before the limit of stay expires.
The application will be considered if the candidate still meets the eligibility requirements to reside in Hong Kong as the dependant and their sponsor remains a bona fide Hong Kong resident.
Extending your dependant visa
A dependant can apply for an extension of stay for permanent residence in the HKSAR within four weeks prior to the end of their limit of stay.
However, keep in mind that these applications are only considered if the applicant still meets the eligibility criteria.
Converting your dependant visa
It is possible to ‘convert’ dependant visas into employment visas if the dependant is supported by their employer and their employer has a strong desire to keep them at the office in Hong Kong. However, both the applicant and the employer need to pass the required tests and go through the same application procedure as though the candidate is being recruited from a foreign country.
Keep in mind that the candidate also needs to have a good reason why they have lost the dependant status. The Immigration Department can be quite lenient if the candidate has a good reason for this, and they are known to issue an employment visa quite often. However, your case has to be strong and supported. This application must also be submitted 4 weeks prior to the end of the dependant visa.
Obtaining a dependant visa in Hong Kong is not a very difficult feat if the candidate has real ties to the sponsor. Let this guide serve as a clear walkthrough of the whole process that you can refer to if you have plans to move to Hong Kong with your loved ones.
If you still have some questions that have not been covered here or additional uncertainties, do not hesitate to contact us.