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Persons who need to apply for a visa, i.e. other than described in Entry as a tourist without a Hong Kong Visa should obtain the form from a Chinese consulate or embassy.  Some travel agents sometimes offer a service of providing you with forms and submitting them for you but you will have to pay their fee.   

On the Immigration website, the master page for obtaining forms and guidelines for the various types is: http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/forms/hk-visas.html. The most commonly required forms for tourism and transit are at http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/forms/hk-visas/visit-transit.html. The application process is essentially the same for all types but each has its own regulations and may require different supporting documentation. 

While it is not mandatory, if you have a Hong Kong sponsor it can help your application.   A sponsor must be either a Hong Kong business or a resident at least 18 years old and acquainted with the applicant, Nominate the sponsor on the application and have the sponsor complete a sponsor form. 

Take the completed forms, with any supporting documentation, a passport type photo, and the fee to your local Chinese embassy or consulate, the Immigration Department in Hong Kong.  There are further details at the end of this article on HK visas.

Where you have a sponsor and submit the form to the Hong Kong office, the sponsor must collect the visa.

Allow 4 weeks for the application to be processed once you have submitted all the correct information and documentation.

The major visa types are explained below.
• Tourist
• Transit
• Professional employment and investment
• Working holiday
• Training
• Study
• Dependants

Tourist
Most nationals only need to obtain a tourist visa if they want to stay longer than the number of days allowed for their nationality.  Persons from a few countries are required to obtain one which at the time of writing are: Afghanistan, Albania, Angola*, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh*, Belarus, Burundi*, Cambodia, Cameroon*, Congo (Zaire)*, Republic of Congo*, Cote d'ivoire*, Cuba, Eritrea*, Ethiopia*, Georgia, Ghana*, Guinea-Bissau*, Iran, Iraq*, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia*, Libya, Moldova, Myanmar, Nepal*, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan*, Palestine, Panama, Special Peruvian Passports, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone*, Solomon Islands, Somalia*, South Sudan, Sri Lanka*, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo*, Tongan National Passports, Tongan Protected Persons Passports, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uruguay passports issued under Decree 289/90, Uzbekistan, Vatican Service passports, Vietnam and all 'stateless' travel document holders. 

The forms and a guide to the regulations (which includes a checklist of what you must submit) can be downloaded from http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/forms/hk-visas/visit-transit.html.

Transit
These are required by those nationalities marked above with an asterisk and include just changing planes in HK. A transit visa is really a limited stay tourist one and is applied for in the same way, so please read the Tourist section. Note that you cannot normally upgrade a transit type to a tourist type on arrival.

Professional Employment and Investment
Hong Kong has two schemes which are relevant to obtaining a work visa. One is the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/quality-migrant-admission.html) where no offer of employment is required in advance and the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/capital-investment-entrant.html). Persons considering applying for 'professional'  visa should consult the website and then contact a Chinese consulate or other offices to discuss their personal situation.

In summary, you might be granted a 'professional visa' if you meet the following criteria:
1. you have been offered a genuine job at a senior or professional level or
you have investment expertise and will invest at least HK$6.5m or.
you meet the conditions of one of the schemes
2. you have specialist skills, knowledge and experience needed for the job – especially if you have recently graduated from a HK university
3. you will be making a substantial contribution to the economy or culture of HK
4. the terms and conditions of employment are not less than otherwise prevail in HK
5. the job cannot easily be filled locally
6. you are not an security risk, been convicted of a serious crime, or are otherwise undesirable 

The employer must complete form 990B and the applicant 990A.  Details of dependants who want to accompany the applicant must be entered in part B of the 990A form.  Once granted a visa you are permitted to change jobs provided you continue to comply with all the regulations ie, the job must still be professional, properly paid and you must be a suitable person to fill it.

There are separate regulations based on the guidelines provided above for a number of categories such as those in the list below. Persons who are interested in these areas should view the Hong Kong Immigration website information and then discuss their application with a Chinese embassy/consulate.
1. domestic workers
2. technical and lower levels of skilled workers
3. mainland Chinese, with variations depending on they are resident on the mainland, in Taiwan, Macau or a foreign country
4. foreign graduates of HK universities
5. nationals of Afghanistan, Albania, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, DPR of Korea, Nepal who are not normally admitted as workers.

Working Holiday
This is only available to small numbers of young persons (aged 18-30) from Australia (1,000 a year), New Zealand (200), Ireland (100) and Germany (100), countries with which Hong Kong has bilateral arrangements.  The applicants are required to show proof of having HK$20,000 (Kiwis HK$14,000) to support themselves.  Other than Australians, individuals will be required to have medical insurance. See http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/working-holiday/guidance-notes.html.

Training
This is granted for a maximum of 12 months to enable a person to obtain training or skills they cannot easily acquire in their home country. See http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/training.html

Study
Persons may obtain a study visa if they enrol in an approved course of study, have sufficient funds for their stay, and are within certain age categories depending on the level at which they wish to study. See http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/study.html

Dependants
HK residents and persons admitted as professionals or to study can usually have dependants  admitted provided they are a spouse, a child under 18 years, or a parent over 60.(HK residents only), and the sponsor has sufficient finances to support the dependants.  Dependants are permitted to seek employment. See http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/dependents.html

Mainland Chinese
The regulations are different for citizens of the mainland of China.  They are summarised here, but travellers should also check the provided links. Citizens of the Chinese mainland holding valid travel documents such as the Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau with the visa annotation of Hong Kong and Macau (commonly known as "two-way exit permit" (双程证)  can visit HK for 30 days.  The HK Immigration website at http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/overseas-chinese-entry-arrangement/mainland-china.html provides further details.

Mainland Chinese living in Taiwan will find further details at 
http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/overseas-chinese-entry-arrangement/overseas-chinese.html

Macau residents travelling to HK should check http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/overseas-chinese-entry-arrangement/macao.html

Under the existing arrangements, Taiwan passport holders have to apply for entry permits (i.e. Taiwan Visit Permits ) for visits to Hong Kong. Applications for single-journey or multiple-journey Taiwan Visit Permits must be submitted through the authorised airlines in Taiwan to the Immigration Department for processing. See http://www.immd.gov.hk/en/services/hk-visas/overseas-chinese-entry-arrangement/overseas-chinese.html

Addresses for submitting visa applications
According to the situation, select one of the following to submit the completed application.  In Hong Kong the address for mailing or submitting the application in person is
Receipt and Despatch Unit, Immigration Department, 
2/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong 

On the China mainland, foreign passport holders should mail their application to:
Immigration Division of the Beijing Office of the Government of the HKSAR
71, Di'anmen Xidajie, Xicheng District, Beijing 100009)
Telephone Enquiries   (8610) 6657 2880

When applying from overseas, applicants should submit their application to the nearest Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in closest to their home or current location if traveling. This may need to be taken personally or submitted through an agent who can handle it for you as mailed applications are often not accepted.