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What Exactly Do You Need to Include in a Visa Application to Join in a Side Business in Hong Kong?

December 17th, 2021

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Your Question Answered / 7 responses


So, you sense there’s an opportunity to augment your salary with some freelance work so how do you go about making an application to join in a side business in Hong Kong?


Dear Visa Geeza,

I have listened to your podcasts regarding sole proprietorship and followed the information given.

Background information – I am currently working as a Business Manager (3+ years) for a Hong Kong based company who holds my working visa.

My employer has agreed that I can work outside of my current company as a sole proprietor / freelance.

I have registered and got my BRC and waiting on forms to open a bank account.

My questions is, what is the best way to approach immigration / who to write to regarding acceptance of my sole proprietorship?

1) My employer to write a letter confirming that they allow me to work outside the company – is there anything you would advise to include / not include?

2) A personal letter from myself outlining my business activates / plan – during work for my current company I have been approached by a number of other businesses and sometimes friends who want certain services for Hong Kong companies.

Do I need to outline in detail or just explain what services I will be offering?

Do I then need to link how this will benefit Hong Kong and potentially create new jobs etc?

Any advice would be great as this will hopefully be the last step and I can start accepting work during my free time and keep immigration happy.


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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.

  • Ca

    11 Aug 2017 pm31 12:02pm

    You mention there is no need to set out how your side business will create jobs in Hong Kong or to obtain an independent sponsor for a side business, however, having recently applied for permission I have been asked to account for how my business will create local jobs and provide an independent sponsor. Have the rules recently changed regarding these factors?

    • The Visa Geeza

      17 Aug 2017 pm31 2:12pm

      Yes: the Audit Commission Report Number 66 changed everything. Now such applications are treated just like a full investment visa applciation in terms of the documents and plans for Hong Kong go. Much bigger endeavour.

  • Adam

    26 Jun 2017 pm30 1:51pm

    Thank you for all of these great resources on requesting permission to join in a sideline business. I wanted to ask you about the process of submitting the information to Immigration. I listened to your podcast answers from various pages, and on one of them you mention that applicants who have their documents ready (non-objection letter from sponsoring employer, copy of business registration from IRD, and letter of business intent), can mail these in to the Immigration department rather than showing up in person. I called Immigration last week to ask for the address of the department I could mail my documents to, and they told me it was compulsory to show up in person and take care of it there. I’m not sure if the man at the hotline I called was assuming this was regarding some other form of work, different from sideline? He tried to tell me that I also needed to fill out an “Extension of Stay” form. This all sounded strange to me.

    Have you had this issue show up before? I was really hoping I could simply mail in my documents instead of go in person, as it will be a challenge to get the time off work.

    Thank you for your help and consideration.

    • Adam

      26 Jun 2017 pm30 1:54pm

      Also, I wanted to add that I have tried looking on the HK Immigration website for information about sideline business, but I cannot find anything. Perhaps I just don’t understand the legal jargon? Can you point me in the right direction?

      • The Visa Geeza

        28 Jun 2017 pm30 12:37pm

        There isn’t any!

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 Jun 2017 pm30 12:36pm

      Yes, since the Audit Commission Report you now need to treat the application via 5/F with the documents you mention and also complete form ID91 (Extension of Stay) even though you’re not asking for an extension of stay. Clear as mud eh?

      • Adam

        29 Jun 2017 pm30 1:31pm

        Thank you for the update and clarification! I really appreciate it. I’ll work on preparing the ID91 and plan an in-person visit.

        Thanks again!


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