In general, unless a person has the right of abode (right to land in Hong Kong), he or she requires a visa or entry permit to enter Hong Kong as a dependant.
What is a Hong Kong dependant visa
The Hong Kong Immigration Department issues Dependant/Spouse Visas to the dependents of people with valid visas or domicile in Hong Kong. It allows wives and children to join qualifying family members in Hong Kong.
The spouse or unmarried dependant child (under 18) of a Hong Kong permanent resident, Hong Kong resident with the right to land, or non-local professional with a work visa can apply for a Hong Kong Dependant Visa. Sponsors must prove they can sustain their dependents without public assistance.
The application process requires confirmation of the relationship, the sponsor’s Hong Kong residency status, and financial competence. Successful candidates will receive a dependent visa to live in Hong Kong for the same time as the sponsor.
For immediate family members of expats who obtained valid working visa, it is relatively easy to apply for a dependant visa so they can live together in Hong Kong. There are a few advantages of holding a dependent visa.
- Dependant visa holders are eligible to legally work in Hong Kong without applying, just like the primary working visa.
- A dependant visa is also a pathway to obtaining a Hong Kong permanent residence status after residing in Hong Kong for at least seven years.
Who is eligible to apply for dependant visa?
The following individuals may join a sponsor for his or her residence in Hong Kong:
- His/her spouse;
- His/her unmarried dependent child under the age of 18; and
- His/her parent aged 60 or above.
Although each application is evaluated based on individual merits, each applicant should meet general immigration requirements. This includes the following:
- Holder of a valid passport or travel document
- Be clear of criminal records and raise no security concerns to Hong Kong
- Have no likelihood of being a burden to Hong Kong, such as certain medical conditions that require public resources
The sponsor can be on a permanent resident status or a resident who has been admitted into Hong Kong to take up employment and is not subject to limit of stay — meaning that he or she has the right to land and have no restrictions on staying in Hong Kong during the validity of visa.
The sponsor can also be a student enrolled in a Hong Kong-based degree-awarding institution as full-time undergraduate or post-graduate studies.
The application of a dependant visa may be considered based on satisfying the following conditions:
- There is reasonable proof of a genuine relationship between the applicant and the sponsor. They provide documentation such as birth certificates, marriage licenses/certificates, and other relevant documents such as family photos and postal communication such as family letters and cards.
- There is no known record to the detriment of the applicant. The applicant has no prior criminal record or other violation of applicable local laws in Hong Kong.
- The sponsor has the means to support the applicant. This includes providing housing accommodation, living expenses, and day-to-day financial assistance.
What are the requirements to apply for a dependant visa?
Applicants are required to fill out Form ID 997; for applicants below 16 years old, the parent or child’s legal guardian must fill out the form. This application, when filed for sponsors who are applying for visas for employment as a professional, for investment to join in/establish a business, for training, or studies, does not need a separate form; there is a section for dependants and can be completed along with the sponsor’s principal application and can be submitted together.
In addition to filling out the form completely, other required documents include:
- Copy of personal details in your passport. If the applicant is currently in Hong Kong, also include a copy of the latest arrival stamp or stay label in Hong Kong.
- Copy of your Hong Kong ID / Macau ID / Taiwan ID and household registration in Taiwan, if any.
- Copy of proof of relationship with sponsor such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, family photographs, family letters.
Sponsors are also required to submit the following documents:
- Part B of the Dependant Visa Application Form. This is found on page 4 of Form ID 997.
- Copy of the sponsor’s Hong Kong ID, if any.
- Copy of the sponsor’s personal details page on his/her passport. If the applicant is currently in Hong Kong, also include a
- copy of the latest arrival stamp or stay label in Hong Kong.
- Copy of proof of sponsor’s financial standing such as bank statements, tax receipts and salary slip at work.
- Copy of proof of sponsor’s ability to provide accommodation such as current tenancy contract and rental receipts.
Please note that documents must be in English or Chinese or translated into English or Chinese by a certified translation agency. The above list are standard documentary requirements but the Hong Kong Immigration Department may demand additional requirements from applicant or sponsor as necessary.
What is the procedure to apply for dependant visa?
Here are the steps when applying for a Hong Kong dependant visa:
- Both applicant and sponsor must fill out the Dependant Visa Application Form / ID 997 and prepare all the necessary documents listed above.
- Once application forms and supporting documents are complete, submission can be done in person or by post. In Hong Kong:
Receipt and Despatch Sub-Unit
Hong Kong Immigration Department
2/F, Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Applicants residing in overseas countries or territories may submit their application forms, relevant supporting documents, and valid travel documents in person to the nearest Chinese diplomatic and consular missions.
Expect the processing of your dependant visa application to take around six weeks. During such period, you’ll receive communication from the Immigration Department on the status of your application and the next steps to take.
If your application has been successful, the Immigration Department will issue a Visa/Entry Permit label which can be collected in person and then posted to you. You will then be required to pay for the visa (as of publishing, the fee is HK$230; see here for details). Typically, you will be granted one year of validity and can be renewed before expiration.
Upon receipt of the dependant visa/entry permit label, you must affix the same on a blank page of your passport. This must be shown to the Immigration officer upon your arrival to Hong Kong.
How to renew your dependant visa?
An applicant can apply for a renewal of his or her dependant visa by filing the renewal application at least four weeks before the limit of stay expires. This renewal application will be considered only if the dependant visa holder continues to meet the eligibility criteria for entry for residence as dependant and sponsor remains a bona fide Hong Kong resident.
If the renewal application is approved, the extension of stay for dependants will normally follow the 3-3 years (three years validity and another three years validity upon next renewal application) pattern for the spouse and unmarried dependant children under the age of 18, and the 2-2-3 years pattern for the parents aged 60 or above.
What benefits can a dependant visa holder receive?
Dependant visa holders enjoy the following benefits:
1. They are eligible to take up employment in Hong Kong without applying for a working visa
2. They are eligible to study in Hong Kong without notifying the Immigration Department
3. They are entitled to access the subsidized government hospital facilities
4. They are eligible to use government facilities such as borrowing books at the library or book sports facilities
Please note that immigration policies may change, so please refer to official guidelines from Hong Kong Immigration Department for accuracy.