Hong Kong has the most densely located world-class universities than any other country in the world. With a total endowment value of HK$46 billion, it provides a stable source of funding for research hence attracting many gifted scholars. Be it their cosmopolitan nature, or having four of the world's top universities, the country is quickly becoming a prominent educational hub in Asia as well as the world. Having said that, all international students need to be well versed with the requirements of a Hong Kong visa/entry permit.
Whether it's for an exchange program or full-time study, all non-local students need either an entry permit or a student visa. It is recommended to keep in mind all the immigration related requirements before beginning with the Hong Kong university application process. International students need to obtain a Hong Kong Visa for studying in any of the following programs:
- All Undergraduate Programs
- Targeted Taught Postgraduate (TPG) Programs
- Research Postgraduate (RPG) Programs
- Short Term Programs
- Exchange Programs
- Summer Programs
- Visiting Programs
Confused about the process? Here is a handy guide which may simplify this process and provide further information for those planning to study in Hong Kong.
|Hong Kong Visa Application Process||Documents must be sent by mail/fax or submitted through a local sponsor|
|Hong Kong Visa Application Form||ID995A|
|Visa Application Fee||*HK$ 230|
|Payment Mode||Visa, Mastercard or China Unionpay|
|Visa Courier Fee||HK$ 290|
|Visa Processing Time||Six to eight Weeks|
|Maximum Length of Stay||Six years upon entry|
|Fax||Application Forms and Supporting Documents can be faxed to (852) 2824 1133 in the first instance to reduce processing time.|
|Visa-Free Period for Indian Citizens||14 days for Visitors|
|Contact Immigration Department||Call at (852) 2824 6111 | Fax to (852) 2877 7711 | Email to firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mailing Address||Receipt and Despatch Sub-Unit, Hong Kong Immigration Department, 2/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong|
*Please Note that many universities help international students during the process so the fee may vary or be higher.
Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, postal services and processing may take more time so it is best to apply as soon as possible.
Who needs a Hong Kong Student Visa/Entry Permit?
While all international students need an entry permit or visa for studying in HKSAR, there are some exceptions:
- Chinese residents of the Mainland of China and Taiwan: Need an entry permit instead of a student visa to study in Hong Kong.
- Nationals of Afghanistan, Laos, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Cambodia, Cubas, Nepal, and Vietnam: Not eligible for any of the visas and hence, can not study in Hong Kong.
- Others: If you are planning to study in Hong Kong and do not fall under either categories given, then you must obtain a student visa or an entry permit to be able to study in HKRS. It will be issued by the Immigration Department before entering Hong Kong.
How to apply for a Hong Kong Visa for Students?
Visa processing may take anywhere from six to eight weeks or more once all the necessary documents have been received. Due to its processing time, it is advised to apply for a student visa as soon as you receive your university acceptance letter.
The acceptance rate of the Hong Kong student visa is high if all the requirements are met. These chances can be further improved if you contact the admitting institution as very often, most universities in Hong Kong help non-local students with the entire process.
To apply for a student visa, you need to nominate a local sponsor that can either be:
- The university granting you admission
- An individual above 18 years of age living in Hong Kong who is financially-able to sponsor your education and provide accommodation. A Declaration by your Financial Sponsor must be signed and submitted.
Forms Required for Student Visa Application
- The visa application form for the student Form ID 995A and the visa application Form ID 995B for the sponsor can be downloaded online at the Hong Kong Immigration Department Website.
- You can also collect from the offices of the Immigration Department free of cost
- Both application forms i.e. ID 995A and Form ID 995B must be properly completed and signed.
Hong Kong Visa Fee
- For the visa, a non-refundable fee of HK$ 230 needs to be paid by all international students.
- You can remit the fee in cash, by debit/credit card, or by cheque to the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission.
- If paying by cheque, it should be crossed and made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region", properly dated and signed.
- If the application is submitted to an overseas Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or), the visa/entry permit fee should be paid directly to the Chinese diplomatic and consular mission or Immigration Division of that consular mission as appropriate.
Documents Required for Student Visa Application
Visa process begins once the student has been offered a Firm Admission Offer Letter from the university. Applicants need to provide the following documents to be eligible for a Hong Kong Student Visa.
A visa/entry permit will be issued only when all original, properly completed visa/entry permit application forms have been received. Missing even one supporting document can lead to cancelation or delay in seeking a visa.
- Acceptance letter from the admitting university, without which the process is not possible.
- A passport valid for the entire course of study
- Scores other qualifications like IELTS or TOEFL (compulsory for non-native English speakers)
- One passport sized recent photograph
- A copy of Identity Card/travel document (only for international applicants currently staying in Hong Kong)
- A copy of scores on the highest public examination with certificates
- Proof of your financial condition including your latest bank statement(s), tax returns, etc. to show that you can support your living expenses in Hong Kong.
- This should be possible without working or relying on public funds
- A proof of HK$120,000 approximately is expected (rest depends on the educational program under consideration)
- Award letter of any scholarships to study in Hong Kong (if any)
- Proof of accommodation arrangement in Hong Kong
Note: Students below the age of 18 years must provide a consent letter authorizing the local sponsor, signed by both parents.
The application forms along with the required documents need to be submitted through the local sponsor in Hong Kong or directly to the following address:
Receipt and Despatch Sub-Unit,
Hong Kong Immigration Department,
2/F, Immigration Tower,
7 Gloucester Road,
Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
You can also submit them to the nearest Chinese diplomatic mission in your home country.
It is advised to regularly track the status of your application online on the Online Application System for Student visa/entry permit. Application status can also be tracked via phone through the 24-hour telephone enquiry system at (852) 3160 8663.
Activation of Student Visa
- The Hong Kong Immigration Department will send a student visa package comprising a sticker/visa label, an approval letter, and a no-objection letter.
- The Visa Label, once received should be stuck on the black page of your passport. On arrival, this label must be shown to an Immigration Officer who will activate your Hong Kong student visa. A Landing slip will be issued to you which has following characteristics:
- Your name
- Conditions and stay limit while studying in Hong Kong
- Travel Document Number
- Arrival Date
- This landing slip must always be kept while you remain in Hong Kong.
- While its loss normally does not affect one's departure clearance formalities, a replacement can be obtained from the Immigration Department.
Hong Kong Identity Card
- You need to apply for a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID Card) if you hold a student visa and will be in the country for more than 180 days. According to the Hong Kong law, it is compulsory to carry HKID at all times.
- Apply for an HKID card within 30 days of arrival in person at the Registration of Persons Office at the Hong Kong Immigration Department
Renewal of Student Visa
The validity of your Hong Kong student visa is usually in accordance with the normal duration of your choice of study program. This validity is subject to the validity remaining on your travel document on the day of your entry in HKSARS. Overstaying beyond the validity of the student visa is an immigration offense.
- You must leave the country within 4 weeks from the date of termination of the study.
- An extension should be applied for at least four weeks before the expiration date of your limit of stay in case of early expiry or other genuine reasons.
- This Extension of stay is usually for a year. The application form to stay, study or work after completion of the study program is different and takes 2 to 3 weeks to process.
- You are responsible for tracking the expiry of your visa and apply for extension as per the Immigration rules of Hong Kong.
- An extension has following steps:
- Submit a completed form for Visa Extension Application
- Provide an original and photocopy of your Hong Kong ID card.
- Provide an original and photocopy of your travel documents.
- A testimony from the admitting institute stating your full-time registered student status.
- It is recommended that this extension is applied in person or through a representative by authorizing it in writing. You must make sure to be physically present in Hong Kong on the date of submission of this application, as well as on the date of collection of the new label.
Hong Kong allows full-time students to bring their spouse or unmarried dependent children (under the age of 18) with them. In this case, students will be acting as sponsors for their accompanying dependents. The sponsor has to provide proof of financial ability to support their living expenses with suitable accommodation.
- Dependents will be granted the permission to stay for 12 months which can be extended later upon request.
- They can also enroll in a university in Hong Kong. However, they can not take up employment unless they obtain a work permit from the Director of Immigration.
With its booming economy and increasing diversity, Hong Kong has been attracting more and more internationals to visit, study and work. The HKSAR government also allows international students of their universities to stay and work in Hong Kong post completion of their education, making it a lucrative place for them.
Ques. Who needs a visa/entry permit for visiting Hong Kong?
Ans. Citizens from about 170 countries can visit Hong Kong without a visa/entry permit for a period ranging from 7-180 days. However, an entry permit is required for those who wish to study in Hong Kong in any of their undergraduate, postgraduate (Taught or Research) as well as Short term programs which include exchange programs, summer programs and visiting programs.
Ques. How can I submit an application for my Hong Kong student visa?
Ans. A properly completed Application form must be submitted along with all relevant supporting documents. For international students, an application form ID 995A must be submitted by the student whereas a form ID 995B will be completed and submitted by the sponsor. These can also be faxed to (852) 2824 1133. However, a visa/entry permit will be issued only when all original documents and other forms have been received.
Ques. I am an international student, Can I work on a student visa in Hong Kong?
Ans. March 17, 2014 onwards, non-local students enrolled in a locally-accredited local or non-local program at UG level or above may take up only internships under some conditions. There are no restrictions regarding nature, salary, location or working hours. However, employment is restricted for international students. The conditions for internships are broadly mentioned below:
- These internships must be related to their curriculum and are to be arranged by their endorsing institutions.
- These internships can not exceed one year or one-third of their normal course duration, whichever is shorter.
Ques. Are students allowed to bring their dependents while studying in Hong Kong?
Ans. Those admitted into a full-time UG or PG program in a local degree-awarding institute can bring their dependents which are legally and officially recognised by the local authorities. A separate application needs to be filed for this.
Ques. In case if the validity of my visa is not long enough, can I get an extension?
Ans. All non-local students are granted a length of stay according to the duration of their study programs, which can not exceed the maximum period of 6 years. If necessary, an extension is granted for which you need to apply within 4 weeks of the limit expiration date. However, these applications are considered only if the applicant continues to meet all eligibility criteria for entry of study.