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Hadley Says

The Reality Behind the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s “4 Weeks” Visa Application Consideration Time Frame

January 3rd, 2013

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Hadley Says…, Investment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Special Programmes, Visitor Visas / 35 responses


When you make most any type of Hong Kong visa or immigration application, you will find yourself in the Hong Kong ID’s infamous 4 Weeks Zone.

You see, the Immigration Department cite that they need 4 weeks to finalise an application once they have received from you all of the documents they need to  decide on your case.

What is not stated, of course, is the time that is required to undergo the inevitable requests for information and documentation to enable the Department to enter into the 4 Week Zone.

Unless you are adept at reading between the lines in the official correspondence of the Hong Kong ID it is easy, therefore, to conclude that it should take just 4 weeks for an application to be finalized.

In fact, it’s usually more like 6 – 8 weeks from case submission to case finalization by the time the Immigration Department have on hand everything they need and, in the instance of a business investment visa application, more than 12-16 weeks.

However, in fairness to the Department, if the application is readily approvable once they have all the documents in hand, they more often than not do not need the full 4 weeks to finalise your case and the reality is that Immigration Officers genuinely do try their hardest to get cases completed in the quickest time possible.

They do, in reality, provide a truly excellent, cost effective service!

 More Stuff to Help You Along

Checking the status of your Hong Kong visa application on line – yeah right!

The Hong Kong Immigration Department are out to refuse – not approve – visa applications (aren’t they?)

ImmD – what an efficient organisation they really are!

Winning a Hong Kong right of abode application in record time – just 4 days!

How to Gee Up a Hong Kong visa application that is taking too long to finalise


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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.

  • Bishal Ale Magar

    1 May 2018 pm31 6:02pm

    Hello, i am submitting my documents for visit visa this 4 May 2018, i havent booked ticket yet. What is the best date for flight booking? How long is it gonna take for the arrival of visa once i submit my documents?so i dont need to rebook my ticket.

    • The Visa Geeza

      7 May 2018 am31 8:32am

      6-8 weeks.

  • Ern

    9 Jan 2018 pm31 1:34pm

    I need urgent help and advice.
    I was hired to a new company last year 2017 Nov. I’m want to know why my company told they don’t get news from immd until now about the working visa now is Jan 2018. Is there I need to do personally to come to immigration and inquire about the status of the processing? Please help and advice thank you!

    • The Visa Geeza

      16 Jan 2018 pm31 4:16pm

      If you have your file reference number you can approach 24/F of Immigration Tower and seek an update from them directly.

  • Suga

    4 Jan 2018 pm31 6:03pm

    I have submitted the tourist visa application last week in person at immd 2nd floor wanchai. But havent received any acknowledgement letter or reference number to check the status online. Any idea please .

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Jan 2018 am31 11:29am

      It takes 10 days to 2 weeks to get a receipt

  • Tanvir

    23 Nov 2017 am30 6:40am

    Hi, I am a Bangladeshi passport holder living in Tokyo. I will need transit visa for Hongkong. What is the usual processing time to get the transit visa in case if I apply through the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo.

    • The Visa Geeza

      23 Nov 2017 pm30 4:28pm

      Allow 4 weeks processing time after submission.

  • Wena

    30 Oct 2017 am31 9:52am

    Hi and good day Sir, I will be giving birth on the second week of next month and have applied my mother for a transit visa. Her ticket is on November 5 checked the status online still in progress will be 3 weeks now. Any chance she could enter as a tourist first in case that date comes without any result yet and just wait for her visa when she arrived here in HK? Thank you so much, appreciate it a lot. Warm regards!

    • The Visa Geeza

      31 Oct 2017 am31 9:15am

      You need to tell me the nationality of your mother. Wihthout that I cannot help.

  • Jess

    26 Oct 2017 pm31 3:11pm

    I submitted my documents for dependent visa application on Tuesday Oct 24 2017, these are the documents submitted between my spouse and I together:
    cover letter requesting to join spouse in hong kong along with index
    marrigae certificate (from Gibraltar, original copy and apostilled)
    both our birth certiicates
    rental slips from over a year as proof of acommodation
    inland revenue from 2011-2017 (240,000) a year plus rent support (18,000 per month)
    tax slips
    transunion credit report
    copy spouse HK id card
    copy both our passports
    photo before weding
    photo during wedding ceremony with friends and family
    photo after marriage
    whatsapp history of 5 months everyday chatted while we were away
    family letters with original envelopes
    spouse last will and testament including me as wife on it

    I would like to point out that on March after a trip to Macau i was refused entry to hk twice my spouse got solicitor ro help m back in and on my colombian passport only give me one week, instead of 90 days. i am back in hk as a visitor permitted for 90 days with one month remaining.

    Any idea of how long visa for dependant spouse takes? And if I apply for visitor extension is there a chance?

    • The Visa Geeza

      31 Oct 2017 am31 9:19am

      Normal application time for a DV is 6 weeks.

  • Edmund

    12 Oct 2017 pm31 2:44pm

    hi, my wife is a Vietnamese passport holder, we have applied for a tourist visa on 6th oct 2017 to HongKong, What is our chances to get a reply before the end of this month ?as we plan to travel on the 31st Oct.

    kindly pls advised, thank you.
    Mr Edmund Liew

    • The Visa Geeza

      17 Oct 2017 pm31 6:46pm

      Not great. You should allow 6 weeks for visa processing typically.

  • Waqar Ahmed

    30 Sep 2017 pm30 6:57pm

    Dear RespectedTeam.
    I have applied for HK visa & waiting for the confirmation ,I have a business meeting in HK between 16 Oct to 24 Oct , I need visa confirmation before that can you please help me in this case ?
    Further I have received Visa Reference number from HK immigration .if you required will send to you .
    Waiting for your positive response.
    Best regards.
    Waqar Ahmed .

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Oct 2017 am31 11:40am

      If you have already submitted your application to ImmD please follow up directly with them as we don’t intervene in cases which have already been submitted.

  • Christine

    19 Sep 2017 pm30 9:56pm

    Hi sir!

    My company has applied for me a working visa. The comoany said to wait for the approval of the immd. It has been already 2 months since the application. Is it normal or do I have to expect that the application was rejected? Thank you in advance.

    • The Visa Geeza

      23 Sep 2017 am30 9:26am

      This time frame is not unusual.

  • Ravi Prakash Sharma

    4 Aug 2016 am31 10:38am

    Hello Sir , just was curious that how long more does it take after your reference number is given to you by the hk immigration department . Is there another letter after i receive my first letter to get the approval letter . I look online the status is showing in process .
    I have received first letter in the month of June 16 (1st week) it has almost 8 weeks completed and letter date is 25th May 2016

    • The Visa Geeza

      7 Aug 2016 pm31 1:45pm

      It takes about 12 months for a QMAS application and about 4-6 weeks for an employment visa application.


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