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Hadley Says

Why Do Some Hong Kong Visa Applications Take Months to Finalise (if Ever)?

October 17th, 2012

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Hadley Says…, Investment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Special Programmes, Visitor Visas / 11 responses


If your application for a Hong Kong visa is taking a very long time to process any number of things could be going on to cause the delay.

For example, the Immigration Department may be doing deep background checks on you or any of your accompanying family members to assess your bona fides in respect of your identity and your relationship with people included in your application.

They may also be looking into the details of any employer and related overseas entities to better understand their origins and whether or not they could be said to represent a security threat to the HKSAR.

Sometimes, however, the Immigration Department choose not to finalise an application, keeping it open and pending on an indefinite basis as they have concerns about the bona fides and suspect there may be an immigration office being committed by the applicants – but don’t have the jurisdiction to prosecute as it is all happening outside of Hong Kong.

Similarly, if the applicant is in Hong Kong and the Immigration Department have concerns about an application but no evidence of any wrong doing when it basically should be approved all things considered, they may deliberately not finalise an application expecting that prolonged processing time will cause the applicant to withdraw and thereby solving a problem without the department needing to actually come to a decision.

As you can tell, these issues all relate back to the role that the Immigration Department play as part of the Security Branch of the HKSAR, so the bottom line is this.

If it’s taking a very long time, you can be very sure they believe there is a problem.

More Info You Might Find Useful

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How a Hong Kong employment visa application can go completely wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing

Why internet forums are a rubbish source of Hong Kong visa and immigration advice

Why do Hong Kong investment visas get denied?

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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.

  • Eric

    17 Jun 2015 pm30 12:12pm


    I have been working in Hong Kong for 3 years with 2 different companies. Now I am getting my working visa renovation with a new company. The matter is that while submitting my working visa renovation, Immigration found out that when I previously changed job they were not notified of that as no change of sponsor was done at that moment due to a misunderstanding between my employer and myself. Now they made me sign the form ID468 and write a letter explaining why I did not notify Immigration about the previous change of job. My concern is: will my renovation process be affected? are there any chances to be rejected? will the process take much longer?

    Thank you so much!

    • The Visa Geeza

      18 Jun 2015 pm30 3:39pm

      Usually, the ID468 rectifies the previous breach of conditions of stay so long as it’s a single occasion. ImmD prefer to look forward not backwards if the breach resulted from an honest misunderstanding. There’s always a chnance it will be rejected but experience suggests you will be fine.

  • Loretta

    25 Feb 2015 am28 11:43am

    My son was born in Canada in 1979. he moved to HK in 2012 to find a job. as both his dad and myself were born in HK, i expected that he would be granted the permanent residency in HK. he was granted only temporary residency in 2014. was this a mistake on the part of the immigration office?

    also recently I learned from the newspapers that HK government is granting permanent residency for overseas young people with professional skills. may I know if this rule still exists? my son is a chartered accountant. is he elligible to apply for the PR?

    • The Visa Geeza

      25 Feb 2015 pm28 2:05pm

      Likely not a mistake> If you were settled abroad at the time of his birth and he acquired Canadian nationality at the time of his birth he would not get right of abode he should have received right to land). As for the new programme, please see: (again, not PR).


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