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What Types Of Visa For The HKSAR Entitle You To Get A Hong Kong Identity Card?

April 15th, 2024

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


There’s a lot of confusion about the Hong Kong Identity Card so today I’d like to clear it up a bit…

Hong Kong Identity Card



(1) Which visa categories require a Hong Kong Identity Card, and

(2) If they require a Hong Kong Identity Card then will it allow for access to the public health care system, even being a non-Hong Kong national?

Thank you


The question here is not so much what type of visa categories require a Hong Kong Identity Card, but rather what type of immigration status or permission to remain in Hong Kong qualifies you for a Hong Kong Identity Card?

The Hong Kong ID Card is issued under the registrations of Persons Ordinance, and it splits it into two particular types of ID card.

There are (1) non-permanent identity cards and there are (2) permanent identity cards.

Permanent identity cards are granted to people who are long stay residents or are permanent residents as a result of being born in Hong Kong to parents who can transfer their permanent residence status to them by descent. Other long stay foreign nationals secure as a result of being continuously and ordinarily resident in Hong Kong for a period of not less than seven years, so these are permanent identity cards.

However, temporary identity cards are issued to people who have been granted a residence visa, and have been granted a limited stay, which is a minimum of 180 days (that’s six months). And, once you have a residence visa, you get by operation of law called to register for a Hong Kong Identity Card, which you have to carry with you at all times; and, once you’ve got a Hong Kong identity card, effectively, then you’ve got access to the public health care system as of right, irrespective of the underlying immigration status behind it.

So essentially you need to be a resident of Hong Kong in order to get a Hong Kong identity card, and you need a limited state that is at least six months. And once you qualify or satisfy under that criteria, then you will get a Hong Kong identity card irrespective of the immigration status that you have.

Okay, I hope you found that useful.

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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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