Last Updated: March 10, 2021
Hong Kong Student Visa
If an individual is planning to study in Hong Kong and is not a resident of the country, then they will need to apply for a student visa. Students applying for a visa should be aware of the following information.
How to get a Hong Kong Work Visa?
Pre-requisite to Student Visa for Hong Kong
First of all, the student should choose the course they want to pursue in a Hong Kong School / University. After that, they must contact the school /college/university seeking admission. If the local educational institution confirms their admission eligibility, it is only after that that their visa application can be processed. Those students who are mainland Chinese residents may request for entry permit instead of a visa to the Immigration Department.
Similar to a visa permit, a local sponsor is equally important to study in Hong Kong. Before visa application, the applicant would need a local sponsor who could declare to sponsor their education. This sponsor could be an educational institution they are looking up to or could be a resident who is financially capable of sponsoring your education. An applicant’s educational institution or University might help find a local sponsor for them. In this case, ‘Declaration by Financial Sponsor’ should be completed, signed, and submitted for further process.
Eligibility for Hong Kong Student Visa:
- The applicant should be admitted to a private school registered under the Education Ordinance or Post-Secondary Colleges Ordinance. Entry to study in public or government-aided schools is not permitted.
- The applicant must be registered for a full-time locally-accredited program, which may include part-time or short-term post-graduate programs (or above).
- The applicant is admitted as part of an exchange program in full-time local programs at the primary level for not more than 6 months or for not more than one year at undergraduate or above level.
- The applicant must be between the ages of 5 years and 8 months to 11 for primary education. For university and secondary education, the applicant has to be below 20 years of age at the time of application.
Types of Student Visa
Since a visa is a precondition to a student’s admission procedure and your plans to study in Hong Kong, it is essential to understand the types of a student visa. The type of student visa depends on the type and duration of their course/educational program. If the students are aspiring for a full-time and long-term graduate course, the visa duration would certainly be different from that of full-time postgraduate courses, part-time graduate/postgraduate programs, short-term graduate / postgraduate programs, and exchange study programs at bachelor's or above level. However, in either case, seeking a visa is mandatory before entering the land of Hong Kong as per the law.
Documents required for Visa application
In addition to understanding the type of visas, the student must also be aware of various documents that they will need to complete the admission and visa formalities. For reference, here is the list of forms and documents that are needed by non-resident students:
- Form ID 995A, completed and signed by the applicant
- Form ID 995B, completed and signed by the sponsor
Both the forms can be downloaded online or can also be sought from concerned branches of the Immigration Department. Along with the above forms following documents should be submitted for applying for a visa:
- A photocopy of the applicant’s letter of admission from a university in Hong Kong and the letter of acceptance to the specific course.
- Photocopy of Passport.
- A photocopy of Identity Card/travel document which contains personal credentials
- One passport-sized recent photograph.
- Photocopy of Highest Public Examination/Academic Result along with transcripts, awards, and certificates.
- Photocopy of other qualifications such as IELTS or TOEFL (which is required for applicants whose mother tongue is not English; UK and US natives may not need it).
- Proof of the applicant’s financial condition. Proof of scholarship funds, bank statements, passbooks, etc. (This is to prove that they can afford education and living expenses in Hong Kong. A proof of HK$120,000 approximately is expected, the rest depends on the educational program under consideration).
- Evidence of the student’s accommodation arrangement in Hong Kong. An undertaking by the sponsor detailing they will provide accommodation to the applicant can also do the needful.
Steps to Apply for a Hong Kong Student Visa
- Before application the student must make sure that they are eligible to receive the student visa. The criteria for eligibility are listed in a previous section in the article.
- The applicant must have a local sponsor. In most cases for students, this sponsor will be the educational institution in which the applicant has been accepted in. Alternately the applicant can choose to instead nominate a ‘financial sponsor’. A financial sponsor is a resident of Hong Kong who is willing and capable of supporting the applicant. In both cases, a declaration by the sponsor should be procured and completed.
- The applicant must then prepare all the documents mentioned in the “Documents required for Visa application” section.
- The applicant must also include the visa fee which includes the application fee, cost of a courier, and administration fee.
- The applicant must then submit the required documents along with the Visa fee to the closest Chinese or Hong Kong Embassy.
- The Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) will receive the application and will eventually inform the applicant about their result. The duration of the approval period is subject to a variety of factors; however, it typically takes around 6 to 8 weeks from the date of submission.
Things to keep in mind while compiling documents along with Visa application form
One must be extremely careful with their documents since if, by any chance, if the student fails to submit even one relevant document, their admission could be at stake, as they may not get a visa or there could be a delay in seeking a visa. It is wise to cross-check all the documents before submission (whether all documents are compiled properly and all are duly filled/attested as per requirement, etc.) and also keep in touch with the immigration department of the University so that one can make up for anything missed. The applicant can also check the status of their application from time to time online. Also, it is advisable to complete and submit the necessary documents before time (starting of the academic session) so that you may have time in hand to finish anything left out.
Where to submit Visa application and related documents?
Submitting the documents at the right place and through a reliable channel cannot be overlooked. The documents can be sent either directly by post to Receipt and Despatch Sub-Unit, Hong Kong Immigration Department, 2/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The post may also be sent to the applicant’s nominated local sponsor. Applicants from abroad may submit their applications to the nearest Chinese Embassy. It is advisable to get in touch with their concerned educational institution to understand the procedure better. Most of the educational institutions lend a helping hand to help the applicants do all the necessary formalities and sometimes may even help complete the process for them.
How Long Does Visa approval Take?
If you succeed to submit all the necessary documents astutely and if they are approved by the Immigration Department then the whole visa process may take up to 6 weeks to complete all the necessary formalities. The duration of your approved visa will depend on the duration of your study program.
When to renew Hong Kong Student Visa?
Overstay after the expiry of the visa is strictly prohibited. Thus, it is suggested that the student applies for renewal of visa at least one month before the expiry of the old visa if they plan to stay/study/work after completion of the study program, as the case may be. Accordingly, they can choose their application form and proceed with further formalities.
Studying in the emerging economic hub of Hong Kong would certainly add weight to one’s resume and launch their careers as four universities here have been ranked amongst the top 200 universities in the world and 35-50 graduate and postgraduate courses are being offered here.