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Does My Child Get The Right Of Abode If She Wasn’t Born In Hong Kong But I Have The Right To Land?

June 6th, 2024

Posted in Family Visas, Long Stay & PR, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Your Question Answered /


A relatively straightforward answer to, what can be, quite a complex question dealing with ‘Hong-Kong-immigration status-by-descent’ and, eventually, the Right of Abode for foreign nationals born in the HKSAR.

Right of Abode


I was born in Hong Kong  (I am a British passport holder and of British parents). I do not have ***.

My daughter was born in the US and has a US passport and a British passport.  We have lived back in Hong Kong since 2010 and she has had a visa for school. She was born in 2003.

Does she need to spend 7 continuous years here in HK or can I apply for permanent residency for her because I was born here?

Thank you


Just reading between the lines of your question, it appears to me that as a British National, born in Hong Kong, you got your Immigration status here now by virtue of your birth in Hong Kong to British Hong Kong belongers prior to 1997, this gave you the right to land in the process; and this is an immigration status that is not quite the Right of Aboad, it’s just one notch below it. The Right to Land basically means that you have the right to land in Hong Kong, not be removed from Hong Kong, and not be subject to any conditions or limit of stay, including the amount of time that you can spend in Hong Kong.

However, with the Right to Land, you can’t pass this onto your daughter by descent. So, in practice, you will have found that when you came back in 2010, there was no immigration status available to her automatically, and therefore she had to be assessed on her own circumstances at that time.

So I suspect that you would have had to go on to secure immigration status for her, so that she could be here and study, and that would have been a dependent visa which you are able to sponsor for as a Right to Land holder. You could have, of course, made an application for student visa as well, and that would have been granted to.

Certainly she would have been entitled to a dependent visa had, you made an application, given that you do, on the face of it, possess the Right to Land. Therefore, as a temporary resident, whether she’s got a student visa or a dependent visa, she will have been, once she’s been here for a period of not less than seven years, she’ll be entitled to apply for the Right of Abode in her own right, and with that, her current limitations to her visa status will be lifted. And similarly for you,  as I say, I assume when you say that you don’t have a three star ID card, you’re effectively saying that you haven’t yet gone on yourself to acquire the Right of Abode.

And after you have been here for seven years continuously, so looking at the dates, looks like 2017, you’ll be eligible to adjust your own immigration status from the Right to Land to the Right of Abode. And on that note, the three star denotation on your ID card itself basically just indicates that the holder is eligible for the issue of a Hong Kong re-entry permit from China, but only in the case of Chinese citizens, and that’s not routinely available to foreign nationals. But in and of itself, if you do possess three stars, it does indicate, as an implication that the ID card holder does have the Right of Abode. But that notwithstanding, it does state, the permanent identity card does state on the back that you have the rights of abode accordingly.

So, just to recap, effectively, once your daughter gets to seven years continuous order in residence, she’ll be able to make an application for the Right of Abode in her own right.

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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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