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 one 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 HKID?
A HKID is a smart identity card legally required by all non-permanent residents in Hong Kong.
It is a form of identification issued by the Immigration Department of Hong Kong.
Every HKID has a microchip inserted that functions as both a form of identification and used for other purposes such as a library card, medical card, etc.
While the document does not replace other traditional forms of identification and immigration documents, all Hong Kong residents must carry their HKID with them at all times.
What does it look like?
An 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 an 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 an 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 a HKID.
- You can use the HKID to look and apply for jobs, and it is an important identification document during the recruitment process.
Who can apply for one?
An HKID is mandatory for all residents from the age of 11 and above who have resided in Hong Kong for more than 180 days.
The HKID is issued to residents who have the right of abode (ROA) in Hong Kong.
It is mandatory to have an HKID within 30 days of turning 11 years old or within 30 days of your arrival date in Hong Kong.
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 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.
- 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.
- Submit your application form and provide the necessary details
- Bring valid travel documentation, 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
Step 3: Visit the Registration of Persons Offices
- Obtain and fill out the application form. 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 your Visa’s length of 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 an 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.
Back to you
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 with Air Corporate today and get your HKID!