This guide runs through what you need to know about Hong Kong permanent residence
The Hong Kong ID Card - also known as the Hong Kong Smart ID Card, or just HKID - is required by pretty much all Hong Kong citizens, Permanent Residents, and long term residents with permission to stay for 180 days or more.
If you’re a new arrival you’ll need to apply within 30 days for your Hong Kong Identity Card for foreigners - this guide tells you how. To help you save money when you’re relocating, we’ll also touch on how you can save on international payments and currency conversion with Wise.
Under the Hong Kong Registration of Persons Ordinance, anyone over the age of 11 who will be resident in Hong Kong for 180 days or more is required to get a Hong Kong ID Card.¹ If you’re a Hong Kong Permanent Resident, you’ll need to apply even if you’re under 11 years old in order to get a passport - although no matter your age, there are limited exceptions made for people unable to apply due to disabilities or for other significant reasons.
New arrivals in Hong Kong must register for their HKID Card within 30 days - and if your card is lost, damaged or stolen you must apply for a new one within 14 days.
Book your appointment to apply for your Hong Kong ID card online.² You’ll need to enter:
- The number of applicants - up to 4 people can attend together
- Your personal information including your date of birth
- Your travel document number
- A 4 digit code you can use to change or cancel your appointment online if you need to
There’s also a verification stage to make sure the appointment is being made by a genuine applicant and not a robot.
If you’re a new arrival in Hong Kong the chances are you need to send and receive international payments as you complete your relocation, or to pay bills back home. You could save money on international transfers by choosing Wise.
Wise uses the real mid-market exchange rate every time, for cross border payments which cost less. You’ll only ever pay a low transparent fee per transaction - no hidden costs and no nasty surprises. Compare the price of your transfer versus other providers on the Wise website to see instantly how much you can save.
The exact list of documents you need to bring along does depend on your age, and whether you’re a new arrival or applying for a card due to a change in your status. You can get a lot of helpful information on the Hong Kong government website, including full lists of supporting documents for different application types.
To give an example, here’s what you’ll need if you’re a new arrival in Hong Kong, aged over 18³:
- One way entry permit - if you’ve arrived from the Mainland
- Your valid travel document, entry permit, or affidavit showing your residential status in Hong Kong
You can make an appointment to apply for your HKID Card within a 24 working day window - meaning you’ll be able to set up a meeting any time in the upcoming month. The availability of appointments within this time window will depend on demand, so do check with plenty of time to spare. After your appointment you can expect to have your card in around 7 days.
Depending on the situation you may need to pay a fee to get your HKID Card replaced or altered. However, getting your Hong Card identity card for foreigners who have just arrived is usually fee free. Here’s what you need to know:
|Registration for a card - first time
|Renewal of card
|Replacement of card due to loss, damage or a change of personal details
Card is lost, damaged, destroyed or defaced - 370 HKDChange of personal details - 460 HKD
|Replacement of card under Territory-wide replacement exercise
|Free (more details on this below)
A new Smart Identity Card has been being rolled out gradually since late 2018, to make sure anyone holding an older version of the HKID has access to the new, enhanced card type. This Hong Kong smart identity card replacement exercise is ongoing, with different age groups being asked to apply for their new cards in different application windows.⁵
If you’re applying for your HKID for the first time you won’t need to apply for a new card under this scheme - you’ll be issued the updated form of ID card automatically. However, the requirement to update the HKID Card applies to all Hong Kong citizens and residents with the old style of card, including expats and domestic helpers.
If you fail to replace your card within the designated time window - and don’t have a valid reason for not doing so - you could be prosecuted and fined up to 5,000 HKD.⁶ This does not apply to people who are outside of Hong Kong at the time their call up window opens. If you miss your timeframe under this circumstance you’ll be required to attend an appointment to replace your card within 30 days of returning to Hong Kong.
Let’s look at the current and upcoming application periods under the Hong Kong smart identity card replacement exercise.⁷
If you need to replace your card, and don’t see your year of birth listed, you may be overdue. Check on the Hong Kong government website to see the details of your application window, and make your card replacement appointment.
|Years of birth
|2005, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
|3 May 2021 - 18 September 2021
|1977, 1978, 1979
|20 September 2021 - 18 November 2021
|1980, 1981, 1982
|19 November 2021 - 18 January 2022
|1983, 1984, 1987, 1988
|19 January 2022 - 2 April 2022
|1989 - 2000 / Before 1954
|To be confirmed
Getting your Hong Kong ID card is an important - and required - step towards your new life in Hong Kong. Use this guide to understand how to get your application booked and pull together the documents you need, and you’re one step closer to being settled. And don’t forget - if you’re sending a payment to a HKD account from abroad you could save both time and money by using Wise. Get low cost international payments which use the mid-market exchange rate, using just your FPS ID.
1 Immigration Department: Registration/Replacement of Hong Kong Identity Card
2 HK Government: Online Appointment Booking for Identity Cards Application
3 Immigration Department: Registration/Replacement of Hong Kong Identity Card - Applying
4 immigration Department: Fee table
5 New Smart ID
6 New Smart ID: FAQ
7 New Smart ID: Call-up Programme
Sources last checked on 10-Sept-2021
This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.
We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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