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Can I Extend My Hong Kong Visitor Visa If I Am Stuck Here Due to COVID19?

July 11th, 2020

Posted in The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Visitor Visas, Your Question Answered /


I get 30-40 questions each week and not all of them merit a podcast answer. Some are answered quickly via email and for the next few days I’ll post some of these anonymised replies here.

Can I Extend My Hong Kong Visitor Visa If I Am Stuck Here Due to COVID19?



I’m here on a visitor visa, which I’ve already extended for a further 2 months. If I leave Hong Kong to do a visa run, I won’t be able to return because non-residents are barred.

What are the chances of a second extension?

Will I be able to stay if I get a job and apply for a work visa, or will I still need to leave?


The chance of getting a second extension now is still favourable due to the current COVID19 situation.

You may include an explanation letter in your application for extension stating your health concerns and travel restrictions etc.

We do not recommend you to include the reason of looking for a new job in Hong Kong as it does not look convincing to the Immigration Department that you are looking for a job while being a visitor here.

You may assure in the letter that, as a visitor visa holder, you are not engaging in any activity that would represent a breach of your conditions of stay, including taking up employment (paid or unpaid), enrolling in any formal course of study or any other activity not commensurate with visitor permissions.

If you apply for an employment visa, you may or may not need to leave and re-enter Hong Kong. Originally, applicants needed to exit and re-enter Hong Kong to activate their employment visas. However, the Immigration Department is now offering a special arrangement for onshore visa activation although this arrangement does not officially exist.

To activate the visa without exiting Hong Kong, applicants can fax, email or submit in person an explanation letter to the approving officer stating the difficulty to exit and re-enter Hong Kong, with case reference number and contact details.

After that, if so minded to make a positive act of discretion, the officer will contact and make an appointment with the applicant. It normally takes four weeks to process visa/entry permit applications for employment upon receipt of all the required documents, so there can be changes.

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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

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