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Hadley Says

Will Any Time You Spend in Hong Kong as a Visitor Count Towards the Magic 7 Years for the Right of Abode?

September 7th, 2012

Posted by / in Hadley Says…, Long Stay & PR / 15 responses


To get the Right of Abode in Hong Kong you need to:

Spend seven years continuously resident in the HKSAR

Have taken Hong Kong as your only place of permanent residence

Be obviously settled here, and

Have no outstanding taxation liabilities

Moreover, you need to have held a resident visa in all of that time, except for short periods when your immigration status was in a state of administrative flux.

This means that you can start counting the 7 years from when your first residence visa was issued through to the 7th year anniversary.

In that time, any short periods where you unexpectedly had to have a visitor visa  (say, if you were changing employers at the time your employment visa expired, or you had to leave Hong Kong temporarily and your visa expired while you were away) will not count against your ‘continuity of residence’ for the purposes of your permanent residency application.

But it is absolutely vital that you have a valid residence visa at the time you file your application for the Right of Abode AND at the time of its approval – otherwise you simply will not qualify.

More Stuff to Help You Along

10 Must Have Resources for a Successful Hong Kong Permanent Residency Application

Time Spent Outside of Hong Kong With Work – the Impact on Your Right of Abode After 7 Years

Do I Need to Work For the Same Employer for 7 Years to Get the Right of Abode?


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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.

  • Alam shi

    25 May 2018 am31 4:27am

    We are two friends come as a tourist in hongkong. Now is it possible to get employment visa. Or can we get business investment visa

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 May 2018 am31 8:36am

      You can apply while you’re physically in Hong Kong but you cannot use the fact of an application pending as a means to secure an extension to your visitor visas.

  • Iain McNair

    9 Nov 2012 pm30 10:41pm

    I have been resident in HK for 6 years and 2 months. First as dependent and now under non local graduates scheme. I have had a residence throughout this period, owned a property for part of the period (sold due to divorce). But I was studying in Beijing for 2 years during this time and returning to HK during holidays and at least every 2 months. I also have a child in HK who lives with my ex wife who visits me regularly. Will my period of residence only be deemed to start when I returned to HK in February 2011 and resecured an employment visa? Essentially, has the period I was travelling in and out on a tourist visa stopped my period of residence for Right of Abode purposes even though i was ordinarily resident under the plain English meaning. You may assume I have all necessary paperwork to show tenancies, bank details, tax returns etc.


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