Business Visa requirements for Hong Kong visits

Introduction

Recently in the litigation department, a client asked what type of visa to apply for if he intends to travel to Hong Kong for business purposes including, for example, to attend seminars and trade shows, look for business opportunities, meet clients or suppliers based in Hong Kong or meet agent companies.

Business visits for such purposes as specified above are permitted without the need to obtain an employment entry visa. In any case, the applicant coming to Hong Kong for such business purposes will not be eligible for an employment entry visa. An employment entry visa must be obtained where work is to be performed in Hong Kong for an entity with a place of business in Hong Kong.

What type of visa to apply for?

Applicants who wish to come to Hong Kong for business purposes may apply for a general visitor’s visa. The relevant visa application forms are ID(E) 936 A, B, C, D and L. There are three sub-categories under a general visitor’s visa, including leisure visits, social visits and business visits.

What if an individual wants to set up a business in Hong Kong?

For those applicants who wish to set up their own business in Hong Kong, they must apply for an ‘Investment visa’. This type of visa is a sub-category of an employment entry visa. The relevant immigration forms which must be completed are ID(E) 936 A, B, E, F and J.

HKSAR Travel Pass

As a result of both its responsibilities as a member of APEC and recognition of a lack of a suitable ‘mid way’ visa status in Hong Kong (between the visitor visa and an employment entry visa) the Immigration Department introduced the HKSAR Travel Pass. This new type of visa is a variation on the existing visitor visa category – albeit with more favourable administration arrangements for those who possess one.

In order to qualify for a HKSAR Travel Pass, the applicant:

  1. should possess a travel document which enjoys visa-free access to the HKSAR
  2. should, at least, have made a minimum of 3 separate trips to Hong Kong (excluding ‘side visits’ to Macau and China) in the 12 months immediately prior to submitting the application; OR be able to satisfy the Director of Immigration that the visits can be of substantial benefit to the HKSAR as a whole;
  3. is expected to be employed in another country (such as will continue even after obtaining the HKSAR Travel Pass);
  4. should have a genuine need to visit Hong Kong frequently.

The benefits of obtaining an HKSAR Travel Pass include:

  1. Fewer or no questions asked by the examining immigration officer as to why the individual is always visiting Hong Kong, as he may be.
  2. Use of the Hong Kong Resident counters at the airport (instead of the visitors counter) thereby speeding up clearance through immigration.
  3. Use of the automated passenger clearance system at the airport, thereby speeding up clearance through immigration.
  4. Extended period of 2 months stay in Hong Kong upon each entry.

The application fee for a HKSAR Travel Pass is HK$660. Those who travel to Hong Kong frequently for business purposes may wish to apply for the HKSAR Travel Pass.

For further information, please contact us.

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.

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