Administrative issues are a definite downside of expat life. Alas, there’s no escaping them, wherever you go. But our Hong Kong guide is here to help: We introduce visa applications for one of East Asia’s expat hotspots, its local IDs, and various import regulations that apply even in a free port.
Hong Kong has always attracted its fair share of temporary and permanent immigrants. The reasons for its popularity are based on both political and economic aspects: Once one of Britain’s most important colonies in East Asia, it now profits from its status as one of China’s Special Administrative Regions. Its geographical location has made the city ideal for shipping and trade, but in the course of the 20th century, it also became a finance hub of global significance. As such, Hong Kong remains a major expatriate destination. However, Hong Kong visa are no longer that easy to come by. The highly qualified local workforce and potential applicants from Mainland China are a good pool of human resources for the city’s job market. Nonetheless, quite a few expats still move to Hong Kong outside the usual intra-company transfer. Our introductory guide explains the various options available when it comes to visa for Hong Kong.
Once you have arrived in Hong Kong, you will have a variety of administrative issues to handle: signing a rental contract for your new home, enrolling your kids in a local school, getting phone and online access in your apartment, and many more. However, your first priority should be obtaining a Hong Kong ID card. Within one month of your arrival, you have to register all your family members for this essential document. As long as you have a valid passport and visa, signing up for your personal Hong Kong ID isn’t all that hard. It is very important, though, to get this proof of legal residence that allows you to stay in Hong Kong for a certain period. Moreover, you can even use your new ID for several other purposes, e.g. as a library card. And if you have had a Hong Kong ID card for seven consecutive years, you can think about applying for permanent residency.
Even if you have prepared all the necessary paperwork for your family’s visas, there may be some red tape left to cut through: In case you would like to import your car or ship all your belongings to Hong Kong, you need to be familiar with the requirements for Hong Kong imports. While the city’s classification as a free port means that imports are usually free from customs duties, there are still a few aspects to consider. For instance, everything must conform to the rules for customs inspections. Furthermore, Hong Kong customs regulations restrict the import of items like alcohol, prescription drugs, or even pets. So, if you need to take regular medication or want your dog to join you overseas, you should travel well prepared.