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Waiting-in-the-Wings: The Typical Experience of a Foreign National Spouse in the Hong Kong Visa Application Process

December 28th, 2019

Posted in 60 Second Snapshot, Family Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


First Published May 4, 2013

If you and your family are relocating to Hong Kong with your spouse’s job and he (or his employer) is responsible for organizing the visas for you and your children, what can you expect of the Hong Kong visa application process?

Firstly, the dependant visas which you and the children secure flow on naturally from your spouse’s principal employment visa. Just so long as you can show that you are legally married, the children are yours and that you have legal custody of any minors accompanying you from previous relationships, then it usually is all plan-sailing.

Your applications will be joined on the same form as your spouse’s. The two visa applications are then run together by the Hong Kong Immigration Department as a single application and are considered in tandem.

The over-arching requirements for approval of a dependent visa is for your spouse – as your sponsor – to be able to show that he can put a roof over your head and food on your table. This is typically and readily satisfied through the provision of a copy of the employment contract which is bringing you to Hong Kong in the first place.

The normal processing time is 4-6 weeks if your application is joined together with the employment visa application – and 6-10 weeks if applied for separately.

Once approved, both you and your children’s limit of stay will mirror exactly that of your spouse’s and (here’s the really good news) you are allowed to work, start or join in a business, study or – in fact – undertake any activity in Hong Kong as a dependant visa holder – with no further immigration permissions required (so long as its lawful needless to say!)

More Stuff to Help You Along

How is my dependant visa impacted under the Admission of Mainland Talents and Professionals Scheme  if my sponsor-father goes back to China to work?

Can I get a Hong Kong dependant visa for my Chinese spouse presently resident on the Mainland?

Am I eligible for an extension to my Hong Kong dependant visa  if my PHKID holding spouse doesn’t actually live here any more?

What are your visa options if your marriage in Hong Kong has irretrievably broken down?

Why public internet forums are a cr@p source of Hong Kong visa & immigration advice


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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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