Residence as a dependant in Hong Kong during and after divorce FAQs


In our matrimonial work with families of international backgrounds in Hong Kong, we are often asked to assist in matters of dependants visas for spouse and children.

We generally advise clients to pay attention to the timing of matters especially in the context of a divorce or separation which also ends a spouse’s eligibility to renew his or her dependants visa.

1.    I am on a dependants visa sponsored by my husband.  What happens to my visa after divorce?

Upon divorce, you are required to inform the Immigration Department of your change of status. Your dependants visa and conditions of stay will remain valid until its date of expiry.

If you intend to remain in Hong Kong after that, you will need to arrange in advance of the date of expiry for another visa such as by employment.  Depending on your individual circumstances other applications can be made on your behalf to ensure you can remain in Hong Kong.

2.    I am an unemployed mother on a dependants visa sponsored by my husband.  We have children and they will remain in Hong Kong as his dependants after the divorce. Can I also stay in Hong Kong?

As above, your visa and conditions of stay will remain valid until the date of its expiry and you will need to apply for another visa.

If you wish to remain in Hong Kong and intend to work you may, for example, apply for a visa for employment or investment as an entrepreneur. However depending on your individual circumstances and the arrangements in place for the children, other applications can be made on your behalf to ensure you can remain in Hong Kong with them.

3.    I just got married and want to apply for a dependants visa.  What should I do and how long does the process take?  

If your spouse is a Hong Kong Permanent Resident or holds other valid forms of visa such as employment or investment as an entrepreneur, you and your spouse will need to jointly apply to the Immigration Department.

If your spouse also needs to apply for a visa to stay in Hong Kong such as an employment visa or for an extension of his stay, your spouse can apply for your dependants visa in the same application.
The process should take up to six weeks upon receipt of all the required documents provided that no requisitions are raised by the Immigration Department. If more documents are required by the Immigration Department the application will take up to 6 weeks from submission of the additional documents.

4.    I am an unmarried mother in Hong Kong.  I have an employment visa.  Can I sponsor my child’s dependants visa?   If so, how long will my child’s visa be valid for?

You can sponsor your child’s dependants visa provided that your child is under the age of 18 at the time of application. The validity period of your child’s dependants visa will generally be in line with your own visa.

Joanne Brown

The above is not intended to be relied on as legal advice and specific legal advice should be sought at all times in relation to the above.

Contact us for assistance in efficiently applying for a visa amid changing family circumstances:

Joanne Brown
Partner | Email

Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.

Updated 12 February 2020