Immigration & Customs in Hong Kong

Posted: Jun 8 2014Last Updated: Jan 18 2016

Hong Kong ImmigrationImmigration:  An employment visa is required for those without the right of abode or the right to land in Hong Kong.   Dependents (defined as the spouse and children under 18) may apply for a residence visa based on the acceptance of the employment visa holder.  A dependent visa grants the right of abode (and study to those under 18) based on the sponsor’s (the employment visa holder) conditions of stay. 

Make certain that your passport has a remaining validity of twelve months minimum and also have at least four photocopies on hand.  Save yourself time and frustration and make certain that all application entries are completely filled in and clear -- the authorities will reject your application if anything is missing or illegible. 




Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card


Hong Kong Identity Card:  The law mandates that you must carry personal identification at all times. All Hong Kong residents over the age of 11 years must apply in person for a HKID within 30 days of arrival.  

For more information, you can visit Hong Kong Immigration Department's website here.


Hong Kong Customs & ExciseCustoms & Excise:  Hong Kong is a free port and excise duties are levied on only four types of goods, namely liquor, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil and methyl alcohol.  Duty has been waived on wine and most types of liquor but still applies to liquor with an alcoholic strength of more than 30% by volume, namely spirits.  HK Identity cardholders over the age of 18 are allowed to bring in duty free 19 cigarettes or 1 (25 gram) cigar and 1 liter of alcohol above 30% by volume.  Otherwise permits are required to import the following:

  • Controlled chemicals, pesticides and strategic commodities
  • Pharmaceutical products and medicines, ozone depleting substances
  • Endangered species and live animals, plants & plant pests
  •  Radioactive substances and irradiating apparatus
  • Explosives, firearms and ammunition or weapons
  • Textiles, apart from personal effects or gifts
  • Rice, frozen or chilled meat and poultry
  • Radio transmitting apparatus
  • Left hand drive vehicles, outboard engines exceeding 111.9 kilowatts (150 horsepower) and optical disc mastering and replication equipment


Home Country Support:  Check with your country’s Hong Kong consulate to see what support your Government can give you as a citizen living abroad.  For example, U.S. citizens can register in STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) and sign up for the U.S. State Department newsletter on travel alerts, warning, and specific news to the country in which you reside:













U.S.A. - Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

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Disclaimer:  The above commentary is for reference only.  Any facts should be verified by independent sources and no warranty is made as to their accuracy and they may have changed since the posting of this article.  This article and any references to third parties or other websites is not intended to endorse any business, individual or organization. 

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