The Hong Kong Dependant Visa - preparing to come to Hong Kong

The dependant visa is a great solution for families planning to move to Hong Kong

Being one of the most attractive and well-established business hubs in Asia, Hong Kong is a natural magnet for talent and expatriates. With a dynamic business environment, the Hong Kong immigration department has taken a friendly approach to the immigration policy of Hong Kong. There are various options for visas that adjust to different scenarios and schemes to attract the needed talent to keep Hong Kong’s economy vibrant.  

While the employment visa is one of the most common visas that allow individuals residing overseas to legally work in Hong Kong, it is not the only option. For example, there is the Quality Migrant admission scheme (QMAS), which is a government program that encourages entrepreneurs and other individuals with talents in high demand on a quota basis. 

In this article, we will discuss the implications of coming to Hong Kong on a dependant visa.     

Getting the basics of the Dependants visa 

What is the Hong Kong Dependant Visa? Officially known as the Entry for Residence as Dependant, this kind of visa allows the immediate family members of foreign nationals who hold a valid Hong Kong employment visa to be able to legally stay in Hong Kong. This visa is also often referred to as a relocation visa or dependant visa that the spouse, or unmarried dependant children of a Hong Kong visa holder, can apply to. Additionally, the family members of individuals who hold permanent residence in Hong Kong can apply for this type of visa too. There is a variation on the name of this visa between British English and American English, where it is known as a Dependent Visa in the latter. 

It is important to mention that the validity of a Dependant visa is linked to the duration of the sponsor’s visa. Once the visa of the individual who holds a Hong Kong employment visa, Hong Kong investment visa, or a Hong Kong student visa is canceled, expires or is not renewed for some reason, the visas granted to the immediate family members will be canceled. 

In some cases, the dependant visa holders can work in Hong Kong. More details will be discussed forward in the article to explain in which situations it is possible to work legally in Hong Kong with a dependant visa. 

Who can become a Hong Kong Dependant Visa holder? 

The individuals that qualify for applying for a Dependant Visa

As a dependant visa is linked to a sponsor, there are certain conditions where an individual can qualify to join them in Hong Kong. Here we will mention the conditions related to the status of the sponsor:

Hong Kong permanent resident

If the sponsor has permanent residence in Hong Kong or otherwise is allowed to stay without a limit, which is known as the right to land or unconditional stay, the following individuals can apply for a dependant visa:

  • Spouse: an individual who is in a civil union that is legally recognized in their country of origin.
  • Children: children that are financially dependent on their parents and are under 18 years old. 
  • Parents:  adults that are in need of care and that are over 60 years old. 

Holders of a Hong Kong Visa

For the holders of a Hong Kong visa under the categories of employment, investment, studies in a full-time program, or are part of an immigration scheme, the following individuals can apply for a dependant visa:

  • Spouse: an individual who is in a civil union that is legally recognized in their country of origin. This includes the same-sex civil union or the same-sex civil partnership.
  • Children: children that are financially dependent on their parents and are under 18 years old. 

As a special note, although a person might be a Dependant Visa holder, under certain situations, they might not be able to engage in work activities in Hong Kong. In the following section, we will provide more information on this topic.  

What are the benefits for Dependant Visa Holders? 

While at first glance, the Hong Kong Dependant Visa might look just like a permit to stay in Hong Kong, it has other added benefits. The main advantage is that a Dependant can find work and be hired in Hong Kong. Compared to the regulations of Mainland China, a dependant cannot be legally hired or work there, it is only allowed to stay.

Nevertheless, it is important to clarify under which conditions a Dependant Visa holder can take employment in Hong Kong. A dependant can work in Hong Kong if the sponsor falls under the following categories:

  • Being a Hong Kong permanent resident.
  • Having a limit of days to stay in Hong Kong.
  • Having legal employment in Hong Kong.
  • Being chosen or under an immigration scheme in Hong Kong (Capital Investment Entrant Scheme or Quality Migrant Admission Scheme).

For sponsors who are not in the above-mentioned categories and are in a full-time study program, their dependants are not allowed to work in Hong Kong.  

Preparing for the application for the Dependant visa

As with any process, some prerequisites must be met to proceed with the application. Here we will enlist the most relevant points:

  • Supporting documents and proofs of a long-standing relationship between the sponsor and the applicant.
  • Having a clean criminal record or not having any security objections in Hong Kong.
  • Sufficient financial resources from the sponsor to accommodate the dependants during their stay in Hong Kong.

 The following cases cannot apply for a dependant visa in Hong Kong:

  • Mainland Chinese residents unless they meet one of the above-mentioned criteria.
  • Mainland Chinese individuals who are now permanent residents in Macao.
  • Foreign nationals from Afghanistan, Albania, North Korea, or Cuba. 

Documents to apply for the dependant visa

The applicants interested in obtaining a Hong Kong dependant visa must prepare the following documents and submit them to an immigration officer in the Hong Kong Immigration Department:

  • Visa application form ID 997 for dependants. For minors, their parents or tutor must sign the form.
  • Copy of the identity document.
    Hong Kong identity card, full page passport page with personal details, Taiwan identity card, Macao identity card, or Mainland China resident identity card.
    The landing slip or landing of entry to Hong Kong might be requested by the authorities.
  • Supporting documents of the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor.
    For spouses, the marriage certificate or equivalent document.
    For children, the birth certificate.
    Other additional documents might be requested by the local authorities.
  • Proof of the financial resources and accommodation of the sponsor.
    Tax receipts, bank statements or savings account statements, and rental agreements or contracts. 

Steps for obtaining a Hong Kong Dependant Visa 

Once the documents and supporting documents have been prepared and are ready to be submitted to the authorities, each applicant must apply with the details of the main sponsor. Here we enlist the steps to take:

  • The applicant’s documents must be submitted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
  • If the applicant is outside of Hong Kong, the applicant’s documents can be submitted to their nearest Chinese embay or Chinese consulate.
  • Once the documents have been submitted by the authorities, the time to process the application takes approximately between 4 and 6 weeks. 
  • If the answer has been satisfactory, the Hong Kong Immigration Department will issue the visa, which needs to be picked up by the sponsor.
  • The applicant must place the visa in their passport on a blank page, to be admitted into Hong Kong. 

Extending your dependant visa

It is possible to obtain an extension for a dependant visa. The process of a Hong Kong visa renewal must be carried out within one month before the limit of expiration, and the applicant must meet the eligibility criteria. 

It is also important to mention that the sponsors must fall into the following 2 categories:

  • Hong Kong permanent residents.
  • Hong Kong visa holder under the programs mentioned above or conditions.

Conclusion

Hong Kong has a well-developed immigration system that makes it attractive for expatriates and overseas businesses to relocate there. Unlike other jurisdictions, the dependant visa allows people to come to Hong Kong and explore their potential and enrich their experience, either by allowing them to enroll in a study program or work there. 

Nevertheless, it is important to consult the experts in immigration matters, especially when a family relocates to Hong Kong, to avoid any stressful situation that may lead to delays in your immigration process.

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