You must apply to verify your eligibility for a Permanent Hong Kong Identity Card via form ROP145.
This is submitted to the HKID at Immigration Tower via the Right of Abode section along with the completed the declaration on Form ROP146.
Alternatively you can initiate your application on line via the dedicated online submission process.
To speed up the exercise, it is preferable to submit all of your supporting documents at the same time as you file your application thereby enabling ImmD to efficiently assess your eligibility allowing you anticipate approval in the fastest time possible.
This can be very important if your present residence visa is due to expire on the same date as, or very soon after, your formal 7 year anniversary date.
The rules say you need to have a valid residence visa on the day you make your Right of Abode application and also on the date the Immigration Department approve your application.
So if your current limit of stay is set to expire just around your 7 year anniversary, it is undoubtedly best to have all your ducks lined up so that you can make an application 30 days before your 7 year anniversary, anticipating that ImmD might be prepared to quickly finalise your application on or soon after the formal 7 year date, thereby saving them the hassle of having to administer an extension to your present residence visa just so that the qualifying conditions for verification of your eligibility for PR can then be met.
By the same token, you need to be physically present in Hong Kong on the day you file your Right of Abode application and also again on the day that your eligibility is formally verified by the Right of Abode Officer at the time he inspects your original documents and signs off on your approval during the short interview which marks the completion of formalities.
Most ‘verification’ interviews do not require any formal question and answer session per se, but merely allow the originals of certain of your documents submitted in support to be examined for authenticity.
This is normally your passport and Hong Kong ID card – but can include other documents which ImmD believe are critical to your approval – it just depends on all the circumstances of your case.
Whilst you can apply 30 days before your 7 years are up, ImmD will not finalise your case until the 7 year anniversary has arrived or passed – this is a hard and fast rule.
Finally, you may find yourself out of work yet still in possession of an employment visa at the 7 year mark and the question is begged as to how ImmD assess you in these circumstances.
So long as you can demonstrate earnestness in your life circumstances, that you are settled in Hong Kong and have manifestly taken Hong Kong as your only place of permanent residence, present Immigration Department practice appears to mean that being ‘out of work’ yet still resident here is not held against you in the PR eligibility verification exercise.
Similarly, there is no enquiry as to financial means when you make your PR application so if you find yourself temporarily struggling financially at the time you apply, this too should not preclude you from qualifying for the Right of Abode.