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Hadley Says

Will a Criminal Record Impact on Your Application for a Hong Kong Residence Visa?

July 23rd, 2012

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Hadley Says…, Investment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Refusals & Appeals, Special Programmes, Visitor Visas / 39 responses


Every now and again the question of criminal convictions and the impact they have on the Hong Kong visa process raises its head. Hadley here waxes lyrical on this subject and surprisingly, has quite a lot to say!

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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.

  • GC

    22 Jun 2018 pm30 11:14pm

    hi, i have some felony drug charges that are 15 years old, can i get a hong kong visa and teach english

    • The Visa Geeza

      23 Jun 2018 pm30 12:00pm

      It depends. The rule is there should be no known record of serious crime. ImmD do not ask you to disclose any prior criminal record. Not having a criminal record is no guarantee of an employment visa to teach English though.

  • C…

    5 Jun 2018 pm30 10:19pm

    Hi ! I am accused of shoplifting hk$800 clothes where i have no time to plead not guilty and fight the case because of my sick mother so i have decided to plead guilty will this criminal record of shop theft will effect my permanent residence application ? Right now im
    In dependent visa and i shall be permanent in 2020 ?my husband is permanent resident here in hongkong please help

    • The Visa Geeza

      7 Jun 2018 pm30 7:04pm

      It all depends on the sentence and the police report to your ImmD file. It may or may not. If you were to go to jail then yes certainly. One time minor offences tend not to be a problem. If you’re not guilty it is not a good idea to plead guilty though…

  • F

    22 Jan 2018 pm31 9:36pm

    I was charged with one charge of breach of condition of stay and the case is regularly adjourned every 3 months and I don’t have any criminal records in Hong Kong . Right now my police records is clear records.
    Will it be affect my dependent visa application?

    • The Visa Geeza

      24 Jan 2018 am31 8:57am

      Yes. Until it’s resolved ImmD will not finalise your applciation

  • Mark

    9 Oct 2017 am31 10:05am

    Hi, I was convicted for theft 1+ year ago in Hong Kong (clothes for HK$240). First conviction ever (in HK or elsewhere). I have been leaving in HK for 4+ years and I am planning to apply for working visa renewal for the second time. Any chance to be rejected?

    • The Visa Geeza

      11 Oct 2017 pm31 2:51pm

      If the police have no objection and the offence did not involve imprisonment then it is unlikely that you will be refused an extension of stay.

  • Polly

    19 Aug 2017 am31 8:27am

    My boyfriend wanted to know if he has to go through a special procedure to enter Hong Kong and if he has to pay to enter or fill out any paperwork for having a past DUI?

    Thank you!

    • The Visa Geeza

      22 Aug 2017 am31 9:26am


  • Jamie

    28 Jul 2017 am31 3:39am


    I have a job offer as a UK national to HK but declared my record spent (5 years in UK) and therefore clean as we can do this here.

    I have: ‘theft of article x 2’ ‘theft by employee’ and ‘fraudulent use of article’: all gambling related in 2008/09, sentencing was fine and community order (12 months), all mitigating through addiction.

    since then gained teaching qualifications and master.

    Will I be granted a working visa (working with children)

    Thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Jul 2017 am31 11:50am

      I doubt this will be an issue for you.

  • Violet

    20 Jul 2017 pm31 1:38pm

    I am from Czech Republic and am living in UK now. I would like to apply for a spouse visa as my fiancee is a Hongkonger. However, I had custodial sentence 9 years ago and still need 1 year to be eligible to erase the record. May I ask if the probability that my application will be declined is high? Thanks a lot.

    • The Visa Geeza

      26 Jul 2017 am31 11:50am

      Normally ImmD do not specifically ask about criminal records but if they do you will need to disclose it and then see how the cards fall. if they don’t ask then it’s unlikely they will refuse your application. You will never know until you apply.

  • Mark

    26 Jun 2017 am30 11:34am

    Hi there,
    I have 3 unspent offenses next to my name

    2009 custody of a knife in a public place (fined)
    2009 Exceed speed limit <45 Km/H (fined)
    2010 Damage to property (fined + convicted, 12 month bond)

    It's 2017 now and I haven't been in trouble since 2010. How do my chances look for a working visa in HK?

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 Jun 2017 pm30 12:34pm

      Shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Jen

    18 Nov 2015 am30 10:42am

    I have a drink driving conviction in Australia (fine only) and an otherwise clean criminal record. Will I be automatically denied a QMAS visa. I have 110 on the points test.

    • The Visa Geeza

      18 Nov 2015 am30 11:18am


  • Maccau

    8 Mar 2015 pm31 4:24pm

    Would the same general rules apply for a Blue Card application in Macau?

    • The Visa Geeza

      9 Mar 2015 pm31 12:14pm

      I doubt it as we are 2 different immigration jurisdictions but I have no expertise in Macau immigration law.

  • Stephanie

    4 Mar 2014 am31 9:12am

    Thank u for the reply. Does fines count as a custodial sentence? No jail time or anything.

    • The Visa Geeza

      6 Mar 2014 am31 8:42am

      No, a fine is not the same as a custodial sentence and is usually not deemed to be a ‘serious crime’.

  • stephanie

    3 Mar 2014 pm31 5:20pm

    with a reckless driving conviction in the u.s.
    will applying for work visa be difficult or be declined?


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