Register your company in Hong Kong with our Special Anniversary discount!

Get Started!

How to Get an HKID (And Where to Apply for One)


Register your company with Air Corporate

Pay less, get more

Enjoy a 10% OFF

100% online and hassle-free

To acquire a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID), applicants need to visit the Immigration Department, complete forms, submit required documents like proof of identity and residence, and attend an appointment for biometric data collection and photo-taking. Adhering to the application guidelines from the Immigration Department ensures a smooth process.

All foreigners living in Hong Kong are required to register for a smart Hong Kong identity card.

Regardless of the length of your stay, if you plan to live in Hong Kong, you will need to apply for a smart identity card within the first 30 days of landing in Hong Kong.

Not only is having an HKID a requirement for residential reasons, but it is also a key document required for business transactions and incorporating a company in Hong Kong.

This article will outline everything you need to know about getting a HKID and why you need one.

What Is a Hong Kong Identity Card?

A HKID, which is a smart identity card, is legally required by most non-permanent residents (e.g., a foreign domestic helper) who intend to stay in Hong Kong for more than 180 days.

Since 2003, these HKIDs have been smart identity cards, and a recent territory-wide replacement upgraded them with enhanced security features, better durability, and advanced chip technology for safeguarding personal information. The chip also allows the new smart identity card to function as a library card or medical card in some cases.

It is a form of identification issued by the Immigration Department of Hong Kong.

While the document does not replace other traditional forms of identification and immigration documents, all residents working or residing in the country must carry their smart identity cards with them at all times.

What Does It Look Like?

A HKID is about the size of a credit card and has a microchip inserted in it, which stores data regarding your immigration status, biometrics, and other personal information.

It is a smart identity card with multiple technological features, including card durability and the chip technology already described.

Why Do You Need a HKID?

  • You are required to have a HKID to stay as a non-permanent resident in Hong Kong and are expected to carry it with you at all times.
  • The data stored on the HKID through the microchip helps prevent cards from being stolen, lost, or tampered with.
  • You can use a HKID to make non-immigration-related applications as well.
  • You can use the HKID for all electronic government services such as the Automated Passenger Clearance System and Automated Vehicle Clearance System.
  • You can open a bank account through HKID.
  • You can use the HKID to look and apply for jobs, and it is an important identification document during the recruitment process.

Who Qualifies for HKID Application?

In Hong Kong, children under 11 don't require an ID card. However, Hong Kong resident reaching age of 11 onwards must hold a juvenile identity card until they turn 18. A HKID is mandatory for all residents who have lived in Hong Kong for more than 180 days.

The HKID is issued to residents who have the right of abode (ROA) in Hong Kong.

Those with juvenile identity cards must switch to an adult card in person within 30 days after their 18th birthday. Missing the 30-day deadline can lead to a hefty fine of HK$10,000 and imprisonment for one year.

hkid and residency

HKID and Residency

Having a Hong Kong ID is the physical proof of your residency in Hong Kong.

There are different levels of residency in Hong Kong, but the two you only need to know about are Permanent and Non-Permanent Residency.

Generally speaking, if you are a foreigner and do not have any family sponsorship in Hong Kong, you will first begin your HK residency as a Non-permanent Resident.

This is a restricted version of Hong Kong's regular Permanent Residency status.

Both residency statuses require a HKID.

The difference between them is generally that Non-permanent Resident HKID holders require a visa to support their legal stay in Hong Kong, whereas Permanent Residents do not.

Non-permanent residents are, however, generally treated the same as permanent residents in Hong Kong, with some minor differences.

Non-permanent Residents cannot:

  • Partake in elections
  • Apply for housing subsidy (unless given approval)
  • Have the Right of Abode
  • Hold public office

Non-permanent Residents most commonly become permanent residents by either staying in Hong Kong legally for 7 years, marrying a permanent resident, or naturalizing themselves as Chinese citizens.

One unique benefit of being a non-permanent resident in Hong Kong versus many other countries is that even as a visa-holder with a foreign nationality, HKID holders may use their HKID to enter Hong Kong customs and immigration border control with only their Hong Kong ID card.

How to make an application:

Step 1: Book an Appointment Online or In-Person

  • Avoid queues by making an appointment online with the Hong Kong Immigration Department Mobile Application
  • You can only register a maximum of four people for a single appointment. (For dependents and children of dependents)
  • It is advised to make an appointment earlier to your visit as the appointment booking period is 24 working days

Step 2: Collect All the Necessary Documents

For adults who newly arrived in Hong Kong, applying for an HKID requires:

  • Valid travel document, including your visa, which proves that you have legally entered the country and are permitted to reside in Hong Kong
  • Provide a birth certificate of all children from the ages of 11-17 years old
  • Passport
  • Entry permit and/or one-way permit
  • Affidavit confirming your residence status in Hong Kong

Meanwhile, the requirements for existing residents are:

  • Previous identity card (if you have one)
  • Juvenile identity card. If unavailable, present your birth certificate and proof of identity (valid travel document or passport) or a school document with a photo that is authenticated by the school

Submit your application form and provide the necessary details.

Step 3: Visit the Registration of Persons Offices

Supporting documents to bring is/are:

  • Application for a HKID by a person under 18
  • Application for a HKID by a person aged 18 or above
  • Overseas application for Hong Kong permanent identity card

Note: You can find and complete one at the Office or download the application form here.

  • Make sure you have all the required documents before applying
  • The HKID is ready within ten working days

How Long Is a HKID Valid For?

Hong Kong Identity Cards themselves have no expiration date, but you may be requested to retrieve a new card when newer, updated cards are released.

As a non-permanent resident, your HKID is only valid during the length of your visa's stay.

What Happens if You Lose or Damage Your HKID?

It is extremely important to take care of your HKID, keep it in a protective holder and make sure not to bend, break, tamper with or test it with a magnet.

If you lose or damage your HKID, you need to apply for a HKID replacement to the Registration of Persons Office within 14 days of the loss/damage, and you will also be charged a fee of HK$370 for the HKID replacement.

Last Words

Here's what you should keep in mind:

  • A HKID is a smart identity card legally required by all non-permanent residents in Hong Kong
  • A HKID has a microchip inserted in it, which stores data regarding your immigration status, biometrics, and other personal information
  • A HKID is mandatory for all residents from the age of 11 and above who have resided in Hong Kong for more than 180 days
  • You need to book an appointment and submit your application to the Registration of Persons Office to apply for your HKID
  • If you lose or damage your HKID, you will have to apply for a replacement card and pay a fee of HK$370

Are you looking to apply for a HKID? Register your company with Air Corporate today and get your HKID!


Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au


Your Hong Kong company and business account. Online and Simple.