Visa requirements for US citizens taking evidence in Hong Kong

02Feb2015

Hong Kong residents are sometimes asked to provide witness statements or depositions for use in the United States and attorneys from the United States may travel to Hong Kong to take such statements or depositions for use in proceedings in the United States.

Generally, a person travelling to Hong Kong for pleasure or business would be given permission to land in Hong Kong as a visitor.  Such permission would be given subject to the following conditions of stay:

a.    he shall not take any employment, whether paid or unpaid;
b.    he shall not establish or join in any business; and
c.  he shall not become a student at a school, university or other educational institution.

The present written policy of the Immigration Department is that a person permitted to enter Hong Kong as a visitor may generally engage in the following business-related activities:

a.    concluding contracts or submitting tenders;
b. examining or supervising the installation/packaging of goods or equipment;
c.  participating in exhibitions or trade fairs (except selling goods or supplying services direct to the general public, or constructing exhibition booths),
d.    settling compensation or other civil proceedings;
e.    participating in product orientation; and
f.     attending short-term seminars or other business meetings.

The category of settling compensation or other civil proceedings is relevant to an attorney travelling to Hong Kong to take depositions of witnesses and the present interpretation of the Immigration Department is that such a person travelling to Hong Kong to take depositions would not require a specific visa to do so.

Immigration

Please note that immigration policies and interpretations may change from time to time.  For specific advice or more information regarding the above or any immigration matter please contact Russell Bennett, Eddie Look or Tim Drew or call +852 2573 5000.