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Hong Kong Visa Application Denial – Overcoming Failure: Reconsideration, Appeals, and Strategies

October 3rd, 2023

Posted in Feature Article, Musing, Refusals & Appeals, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


A Hong Kong visa application denial is disappointing and can occur for numerous reasons. In this post,  I will explore several avenues to pursue following an application denial and provide actionable advice to maximize success in getting that denial overturned or positively reconsidered.

Hong Kong visa application denial

Reasons for Application Denial

An application can be denied for various reasons, ranging from being fatally flawed or poorly prepared to having a negative prior history or simply not taking the application process seriously.

Application Denial? Requesting Reconsideration from the Immigration Department

If your application is denied, the first step is to request Reconsideration from the Immigration Department. Be prepared for a challenge, as overturning a decision can be difficult. This process requires submitting new information that was not previously available to the Immigration Department at the time of the refusal decision. This is your best shot and 99.9% of all appeal cases end at this first level of appeal,

The following 2 appeal pathways exisit on paper but are rarer that hen’s teeth.

Appealing Under Section 53 of the Immigration Ordinance

If your Reconsideration request fails, you can appeal under Section 53 of the Immigration Ordinance, arguing that the Immigration Department was wrong in their decision. This process involves waiting for a response from the Immigration Department, which will come via the Secretary of Security’s office before it goes before the Chief Executive and Council. Beware, this take a long long time and you cannot remain in Hong Kong as a visitor while this application process plays itself out.

Direct Application to the Chief Executive

Another option for those with a significant matter of public interest is to make a direct application to the Chief Executive, asking them to intervene. This avenue is rare but can be effective in specific cases, such as when there are mistakes in the application process that have led to an erroneous decision.

Persistence and Determination

While overcoming an application denial can be challenging, persistence and determination are key. It’s crucial to provide comprehensive documentation and well-constructed arguments to bolster your case. Remember, when faced with a denial, do not give up easily. Explore all your options, gather the necessary information, and present a strong case. By doing so, you will maximize your chances of success and potentially overcome the obstacles standing between you and your desired outcome.

In appeal situation, you’re likely going to want to stick around in Hong Kong as a visitor to see out the appeal process. For an in-depth look at the challenges faced by long-stay visitors in Hong Kong, check out this guide on the Long Stay Visitors’ Awkward Predicament.

What to do next? Research each avenue of appeal, evaluate the best course of action, and gather the necessary information to present a robust case.

More Stuff You May Find Interesting or Useful

Hong Kong Visa Handbook – Refusals &  Appeals

The Industry Secret Most Hong Kong Immigration Consultants Don’t Want You to Discover

The 7  Things Your Employer Needs to Know About the Immigration Process When Applying for an Employment Visa for Hong Kong

I Know the Immigration Department Website is a Black Hole for Denied Hong Kong Visa Applicants So What Can I Do Now

How to Engage the Hong Kong Visa Centre if Your Application Has Been Refused by the Immigration Department


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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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