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Your Questions Answered

Do You Need to Have Been Physically Present in Hong Kong for a Full Seven Years (i.e 2555 Days All Told) in Order to Qualify for Hong Kong Permanent Residency?

December 27th, 2017

Posted by / in Long Stay & PR, Your Question Answered / 120 responses


Sometimes even the big name publications can get their facts (and law) wrong… do you need to have been physically present in Hong Kong for a full seven years (i.e 2555 days all told) in order to qualify for Hong Kong permanent residency?



Dear Stephen,

The Wall Street Journal guide to HK states (here: ), concerning the application for the right of abode, that “foreign nationals need to have stayed in Hong Kong for a continuous seven years.

If one traveled for a month outside Hong Kong within a seven-year period, then he or she needs to have resided in Hong Kong for at least seven years and one month.”

Is that last sentence accurate?

A related question:

In some sources, I have read that any continuous absences from Hong Kong of over 6 months need to be listed (and explained) in the application.

Some sources say that whenever one is absent more than 6 months within a year (whether continuous or not), this has to be listed (and explained).

Could you clarify?

 Thanks so much.

More Stuff You May Find Interesting or Useful

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Does time spent outside of Hong Kong working for your employer overseas automatically break your continuity of ordinary residence for PR purposes after 7 years?

I have an employment visa to take me through to 7 years but now I’m unemployed – can I ‘cruise’ the last year without working and still qualify for permanent residency?

How to apply for the right of abode in Hong Kong without any professional help – the documents you need

10 Must Have resources for a successful Hong Kong permanent residency application




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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.

  • HKlover21

    11 Nov 2023 am30 10:18am

    Dear Visa Geeza,

    I have an important question regarding my current situation:

    – I have been unemployed since December 2022.
    – I will apply for permanent residency status in November 2024.
    – My current visa, granted through my previous company, is valid until June 2025

    I don’t know if I will still be eligible for PR if I’m still unemployed at the due date (November 2024).

    The current job market is challenging, and I am afraid I will still be in unemployed when my PR is due.

    I worry that being unemployed for an extended period of time may jeopardize my PR application…

    • The Visa Geeza

      11 Nov 2023 pm30 1:34pm

      Not being employed at the time of PR eligibility will not defeat your claim for Right of Abode as long as you have remained ordinarily resdient in Hong Kong during the time of your unemployment.

  • HKlover852

    7 Oct 2023 pm31 2:35pm

    Hello Visa Geeza, could you please review my situation?

    Here are the key points:

    – I arrived in Hong Kong with a Working Holiday Visa activated in October 2017.
    – I converted this WHV into a working visa in November 2018.
    – In October 2022, I lost my job due to Covid, and my company informed immigration. Prior to that, my working visa had been renewed for 3 years, from June 2022 to June 2025.
    – Since December 2022, I have been actively searching for a new job, but it has been challenging as I don’t speak Cantonese or Mandarin. In the meantime, I have worked part-time in the FnB industry, occasionally meeting the minimum requirements for MPF (Mandatory Provident Fund). I have also taken on freelance assignments, although I don’t have a registered company.

    I finally found a job last month but it fell through due to my new company being blacklisted by immigration (Impossible to do a Visa transfer).

    As a result, I have become somewhat “invisible” to the local administration since last year, and I haven’t paid taxes for the previous fiscal period since I didn’t reach the minimum yearly revenu.

    I have two questions:

    – When will I be eligible for Permanent Residency (PR)?
    – Could this year of “inactivity” hinder my PR application since I haven’t officially contributed value to the city? I have salary slips from my part-time jobs, but I’m unsure if it’s advisable to include that. I believe it’s essential to secure a job as soon as possible, considering my stay is only permitted until 2025, and my PR anniversary may occur after that.

    Thank you for your assistance, it would really mean a lot to me!

    • The Visa Geeza

      17 Oct 2023 pm31 12:36pm

      PR eligibility date – October 2024 – assuming you did not slip into visitor status between October and November 2018. Otherwise PR eligibility date will be October 2025.

      Your year of inactivity will not break your continuity of ordinary residence for PR purposes.

      HOWEVER …

      >>– Since December 2022, I have worked part-time in the FnB industry, occasionally meeting the minimum requirements for MPF (Mandatory Provident Fund). I have also taken on freelance assignments, although I don’t have a registered company.>>

      This activity is 100% unlawful – all of it.

      • HKlover852

        11 Nov 2023 am30 10:40am

        So I’ve checked my visa dates around the WHV/WV transfer

        17.10.2017 working holiday received in my passport in HK
        22.10.2017 working holiday visa activated
        22.10.2018 working holiday visa expired

        I could stay in HK as my working visa was processing

        07.11.2018 working visa received
        11.11.2018 working visa activated

        Does that mean my PR will be in Nov 2025 instead of Nov 2024 because my WHV doesn’t count due to the 2 weeks I spent in HK waiting for my WVisa? (I didn’t leave HK during this Time period)

  • Robert

    5 Oct 2023 am31 8:29am

    Hi Stephen!

    If my child lives in Hong Kong on a dependant visa with me as the sponsor (I have HKPR) but goes to school in Shenzhen (commutes from and to HK every day) would that still count as ordinarily resident?

    • The Visa Geeza

      11 Oct 2023 pm31 7:28pm


  • MAKM

    27 Sep 2023 pm30 3:45pm

    Hi Visa Geeza, could you please advise my case please?

    I arrived in HK on student visa on January 7, 2017. After graduation, I have been on IANG visa which will expire in May 2024. I will be fulfilling my 7 year stay in HK on January 7, 2024. However, I have a job offer from USA now which will start on November 1, 2023. I plan to go to USA to start the job. But I also would like to come in January 2024 to apply for PR. Will I be eligible for PR if I leave HK for these two months before submitting my application for PR? My plan is to come to HK in January 2024, get PR, and go back to USA.

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 Sep 2023 am30 10:57am

      It shouldn’t be a problem but please understand that when you leave HK for the USA you are abandoning your settled purposes of work in HK under your IANG visa which you need to have had for the full 7 years. 2 months away for any reason should not be a problem however unless ImmD ask you expressly why you’ve been away which requires you to give an honest answer.

  • Sally

    1 Sep 2023 pm30 1:10pm

    Hi Stephen,

    I’m a British born Chinese (parents from Hong Kong). I first came to Hong Kong in September 2017. I have continuously stayed in HK for the past 6 years. To qualify for the 7th year, I need to be in HK for at least 180days. Does that mean I will have completed that by March 2024? Will I be able to start my application in February, (28 days before) ?


  • Fay

    6 Aug 2023 pm31 9:56pm

    Hi Stephen,

    Finding myself in a sticky situation regarding my PR status. I arrived back in July 2016 to start a work contract dated 1 Aug 2016. Fast forward 7 years later, July 2023, I begin my PR application 28 days before my anniversary as my employment contract finishes on 31 July 2023, and my visa expires. My hope was head back to the UK for a month vacation to see family after to gaining PR so that I could come back again gain employment easily having PR status. Unfortunately, my PR application was refused, because 7 years ago, my employer picked up my visa label after my start date, and I didn’t activate it until 4th Aug 2016. Based on this, immigration have denied my application as I am three dates short. Aside from finding employment, what can I do to help my situation? My questions to my former employer and immigration do not receive informative answers. Is the only way to fix this finding employment for a week? I applied for an extension but was also refused this due to having no employment sponsor. Do I now need to leave HK to return on a visitor visa? Will this reset my 7 years back to 0?

    • The Visa Geeza

      10 Aug 2023 pm31 9:20pm

      Bummer. You need to:

      (1) get yourself a new residence visa ASAP
      (2) maintain all the vesitages of a normal settled life in Hong Kong until you resolve this by way of a Reconsideration application once you’r e resident again.
      (3) visitor status is the only status you’ll be able to use until you secure a new resident visa
      (4) I would not leave HK until you sort this out.

      There’s no guarantee any of this will pass muster but at the very least it will enable you to sustain the contention that you shouldn’t be refused as it all boils down to substance over form.

  • B

    1 Aug 2023 am31 9:39am

    Hey Visa Geeza!

    Would you mind sharing some advice?

    • I arrived in Hong Kong in 21st September 2017 on a working holiday visa, which lasted for 365 days (Expiring on the 20th September 2018)
    • On the 12th of September, my solicitor helped to apply for my working visa with a company that I had been employed with during my working holiday visa.
    • I left HK on the 20th of September 2018 and returned on the 24th September 2018 on a tourist visa.
    • On the 12th December 2018, I received confirmation from immigration that my visa had been approved.
    • I left HK late December and returned and activated my new working visa on the 8th January 2019.

    I am hoping to apply for permanent residency in September 2024. I appreciate there is a gap between visas, but as the working visa was in process and I was in HK during the time of the break, I’m hoping it’s possible to build a case towards this.

    Will I be eligible for PR in September 2024 or January 2026?

    • The Visa Geeza

      2 Aug 2023 pm31 2:26pm

      As the period 12th September ~ 8th January you were without a residence visa your continuity of ordinary residence was broken and recommenced on 8th January. So January 2026 is your PR anniversary date.

  • Helen

    14 Jul 2023 am31 10:37am

    Hi Stephen,

    I am on an employment visa since July 2021 and I left my job last month although my current employment visa is valid until end of this July, I understand I will have to leave Hong Kong before current employment visa expires in end of this month and re-enter on a visitor visa on my British passport, if I secure a new employment within 6 months on the visitor visa , will my previous two years on employment visa before the visitor visa break count towards the 7-year residence rule when applying for PR later?


    • The Visa Geeza

      14 Jul 2023 am31 11:50am

      As discussed, yes, it will break your continuity.

  • CC

    25 May 2023 pm31 4:05pm

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks a lot for your responses and information provided here.

    I would appreciate you can please take a look at my situation as below:

    I have been living and working in HK for the last approx. 6 years under working visa and will be eligible for my PR application Sep 2023. However I recently have an opportunity to work overseas (not a HK based employer) from Aug 2023 and will unfortunately be away from HK.

    My family however will keep living in HK. My wife is also working here in HK so I will transfer my visa to a dependent visa and will come back to HK periodically. I have two daughters who will also keep living HK and my younger daughter is holding a HK passport.

    I will still be paying my rent in HK.

    My questions are (1) will I still be eligible for PR in Sep 2023? (2) understand the intention to settle in HK is important but can you please advise how we can demonstrate that?


    • The Visa Geeza

      27 May 2023 pm31 11:26pm


      (1) yes

      (2) keep the whole family fully esconced in Hong Kong, visit Hong Kong as frequently as you can, seek to stay silient at the time of your PR application about working away. Obviously if they ask you you must provide honest answers but seek not to volunteer the information up front.

      • CC

        29 May 2023 am31 11:03am

        Thanks for your response. Apologies to a correction to a typo that I will be eligible for PR application in Sep 2024 (not 2023). Does this change your view above? Cheers, CC

        • The Visa Geeza

          29 May 2023 pm31 12:48pm

          Longer period to run. Seek to come as frequently as you can. Otherwise, the advice remains the same.

  • Rene

    16 May 2023 pm31 12:41pm

    Hi Stephen,

    I’ve been in HK on an employment visa for the past 6.5 years. My current contract end: on June 30th (along with my visa), but my new job only starts on September 1st. Will this two-month break in employment be an issue for my PR application in six months time?

    • The Visa Geeza

      24 May 2023 am31 1:39am

      If you slip into visitor status for those 2 months it becomes problematic, especailly if you decamp from HK on holiday during those weeks. Not impossible but still a risk.

  • AP

    16 May 2023 am31 5:55am

    Hi Stephen, I have a top tier visa valid till 2030 and my family has dependent visa as well with same validity , I have been living continuously for 5 yrs since 2018.

    I might be transferred out or be on secondment for 2 yrs starting this year. My family is on dependent visa and they will stay here for next 3 yrs till my sons complete their education.

    I understand my PR application status would be at discretion of IMMD but will my family get dependent visa by virtue of continuous stay of 7 yrs? Dependent visa PR is it a function of their tenure or sponser tenure?

    • The Visa Geeza

      24 May 2023 am31 1:42am

      It’s a function of their own status and ordinary residence in HK. Aa long as they continue to reside ordinarily in HK while you’re away, they will continue to accrue eligibility.

  • JR

    17 Apr 2023 pm30 5:40pm

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for all of your help above. My 7 year anniversary of when my Visa was first activated is 29 April. My current work visa expires 1 June 23. I am travelling in Europe from 23 April to May 10. From what you have said above I am not able to apply for my PR now as I will not be physically in Hong Kong on 29 April. What happens if I apply for PR when I am back on 10 May but haven’t received it by the time my current visa expires on 1 June?

    • The Visa Geeza

      26 Apr 2023 am30 8:30am

      Push the officer for quick finalisation prior to June 1

  • R

    6 Mar 2023 am31 1:42am

    hey stephen!

    i am on a dependant visa and will be able to obtain PR next year sept 2024, but i was planning to go back to my home country for the mean time until then with my wife (sponser). we will be back and forth and still keep our address phone numbers and MPF. was wondering if it affect my 7 year continuous residency, my PR application and how often would i need to be in HK for it to not be affected. also should there be any other things i should keep in mind

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Mar 2023 pm31 10:41pm

      The main thing is to ensure you are not deemed to have ‘gone home’ to your country of origin permanently during this time. To get right of abode you need to have taken HK as your only place of permanent residence and been ordinarily resdient here for a full 7 years for a settled purpose. The settled purpose is a function of the visa type you hold. If your spouse has an employment visa which covers the remainder of the 7 years but stops working in HK before then and ‘goes home’ full time in the meantime (possibly to start working there with you in tow), coming and going to Hong Kong alone is likely not going to be enough. There are no ‘tips’ as such. You just need to ensure that you qualify on the criteria – merely holding a valiud resdiemce visa does not equate to Ordinary Residence: the actual pattern and circumstances of your life will be taken into account by ImmD during your PR application.

  • Maxim

    30 Jan 2023 am31 11:19am

    Dear Sirs,

    Good day

    My 7 years anniversary date is on 28 February 2023

    Could you tell me if I can submit paperwork on 1st February – 4 weeks prior anniversary or would it be reasonable to apply for PR on March 1st instead.

    Thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Feb 2023 am28 8:18am

      Yes you can but you MUST be physcially in HK on both 1/2 and 28/2.

  • GT

    10 Dec 2022 pm31 7:39pm

    On 31st May 2023, I will have stayed in Hong Kong for exactly 6 years as a dependant for 5 years and as a student for 1 year. Then I will have to leave HK for work in Singapore.

    Since I would have completed my university from HK, I will be eligible for a 1-year graduate visa (IANG) in August 2023 since my current visa will expire then.

    This means that I would have a continuous visa in HK for 7 years and 3 months. If I go back and forth to Hong Kong every 3-4 months for a couple of days (let’s say stay over weekends and such), can I still apply for PR in May/June 2024?

    DEPENDANT VISA: 31 May 2017 – 19 April 2022 (VISA ISSUED ON 16 March 2017 but landed in HK on 31 May 2017)
    STUDENT VISA: 19 April 2022 – 31 August 2023 (LEAVE IN JUNE/JULY)
    IANG VISA: 1 September 2023 – 31 August 2024 (VISIT HK TILL MAY EVERY 3-4 MONTHS for continuation)

    • The Visa Geeza

      12 Dec 2022 am31 11:00am

      You can technically qualify under this proposed travel plan and potentially ‘pull the wool’ over ImmD’s eyes but from a strict qualification perspective once you secure IANG status you’re supposed to be resident in Hong Kong under that status for the settled purpose of “work in Hong Kong”. If you’ve essentially decamped to work in Singapore you’re not ordinarily resident in Hong Kong even if you have immigration status that empowers such work. This is a matter of fact and ImmD may very well want to know what you’ve being doing away from Hong Kong for the most part of you holding IANG status especially if you’ve not been working in Hong Kong.

  • harry

    23 Sep 2022 pm30 5:16pm

    I have employment visa I will complete 7 year 2023 .when I apply pr hk which paper need ..

  • Alice

    28 Jun 2022 am30 12:13am

    Hi Stephen,

    my dependant visa will expire next year April and im currently going to start a divorce procedure.
    I will only have fullfiled 6 years of residency next April and that is still one year shy of the PR requisite.. Would immigration grant me another year if im divorced this year?

    • The Visa Geeza

      1 Jul 2022 pm31 1:03pm

      No, sorry to say. The moment you commence divorce proceedings your eligibility for continuing dependant visa permissions post expiry ends (they’re granted for family reunion purposes). You will need to secure an alternate residence visa status (student, employment, business investment for example) in order to retain your continuity of ordinary resdidence for the purposes of PR.

  • LL

    4 May 2022 am31 12:06am

    If I work in Hong Kong 4 days a week and spend long weekend (3 days) in Mainland China, would it affect my permanent residence?

    • The Visa Geeza

      1 Jun 2022 pm30 2:35pm

      No, not usually.

  • Charles

    30 Apr 2022 pm30 9:33pm

    Hey Stephen

    I lived and worked in Hong Kong from 2004-2013 but has since lived elsewhere. If I return to Hong Kong on a work visa in summer, is it true to assume the 7 year clock has to be fully reset and I’ll need to stay till 2029 to be eligible to apply for PR? Regardless I’m a Chinese or non-Chinese?

    Many thanks for your advice!

    • The Visa Geeza

      1 Jun 2022 pm30 2:39pm

      Yes it’s true. The clock will restart.

  • Guillaume

    28 Mar 2022 pm31 8:56pm

    Hi Stephen,

    I was told by a 2 Filipinos colleague that they managed to get their PR application accepted despite the fact that they had been in Hk for only 6 and half years and that it was quite common to be accepted earlier than your 7 years…
    Any thought regarding it ?does it applies only to Filipinos or any foreigners based on particular profiles?
    Thank you

    • The Visa Geeza

      29 Mar 2022 pm31 3:44pm

      The right of abode is an instrument of the Basic Law – it requires a FULL 7 years continuous ordinary residence. If you apply any earlier than a maximum of 28 days before your 7 year anniversary they simply return the papers to you. Even then, they will only give full and due consideration to the application on or after the 7 year date has passed. I can’t sepak to your colleagues’ expeprience but I’ve been doing this stuff for 28 years and NEVER seen RoA granted any earlier than 7 years, no matter the nationality.

  • Paul

    28 Mar 2022 am31 10:32am

    Hello Stephane,

    Thank you for answering our questions, this is super helpful!

    Here is mine: I got my HKID in November 2017, so it’s been almost 5 years I’ve been living in the city.

    I’m planning to leave for 4-5 months starting next May in order to travel and see the family.

    I’m renewing my working visa next month for 3 years, which means I’ll go directly to the PR (Nov 2024)

    However, I’d like to spend as less time as possible in HK for the next 2 years so I can enjoy my family

    The plan would be to spend 6-7 months per year in HK for each of the next 2 years and the rest outside the city

    Do you think I could still get my PR at the end, even if I spend only 60% of my time working in the city for each of the next 2 years until I reach PR? I know the immigration ask for more details when you spend more than 6 months consecutively out of the city but in my case, it would be no more than 5 months each time. I guess immigration officers can see that in their data and still ask me for clarifications…

  • PR Applicant

    2 Aug 2021 pm31 5:39pm

    Hi, Stephen.

    My working visa will expire in 2024. I have been in HK for 5.5 years. I am qualified for PR application in June 2023.

    Here’s the current situation:
    My family (wife and son) will be staying in HK, and I will be maintaining my apartment rent under my name). My working visa is valid until 2024. I will not withdraw my MPF and planning to continue paying income tax (if needed); however, my new employer is not in HK nor have presents in HK.

    I will be working overseas soon, mostly will be remote work from HK because of the pandemic. The plan is to travel from time to time from overseas to HK. My official residence will be still in HK because I am maintaining my rent, and my family is living here.

    Based on the above information, do you think I am still qualified to apply for PR in June 2023 or reset to zero because I am no longer working here? Note, my visa validity is valid until 2024.

    Thank you, and looking forward to your response, Stephen.

    • The Visa Geeza

      3 Aug 2021 pm31 4:06pm

      Yes, but there is some nuance in articulating your story properly as you must not abandon your settled purpose of work in Hong Kong.

  • Yang

    6 Jul 2021 am31 7:41am

    Hi Stephen, thank you for the website, very helpful indeed.

    I first came to HK on a training visa for a year, and then various employment visas (including renewals) for 6 years.

    However there’s a gap of 15 days between the training visa and the first employment visa – I had switched to another company, and the company had applied for the employment visa, but delays caused the gap. In that 15 days I had to leave HK.

    What is your view on the qualification for PR, in terms of the 7 year continuous residency requirement?

    • The Visa Geeza

      7 Jul 2021 pm31 2:37pm

      It could serve to break your continuity of ordinary residence. ImmD have been a bit more flexible in recent times though so submit your application assuming the 7 year commencement date is the date your training visa commenced and see how you make out.

      • Yang

        7 Jul 2021 pm31 4:41pm

        Thank you Stephen!

        I had just called ImmD office (28293983) explaining the situation. I thought I’d share the info I got here with you and others who may be in a similar situation.

        The officer at the end of the line says ‘they would consider the case, and judging by what I had described, it should not be a problem to approve my application for PR’.

        I further asked about the document that I would need to fill in – ROP 145. I asked how I should fill section 4.(1) – Period of Ordinary Residence in Hong Kong, considering the 15 days gap.

        The officer says I should fill only one period, for example, 01/07/2014 to 01/07/2021, and not include the 15 days gap. They would have records of my visas and applications so that should not be a problem.

        • The Visa Geeza

          12 Jul 2021 pm31 1:24pm

          Yes, that’s good news and representative of a less rigid approach than previously. Thanks for your feedback.

  • Lisa

    30 May 2021 am31 10:51am

    If i left hong kong for a bit more than 6 months due to personal illness during my 7 years in hk, will i still be able to get my PR?

    Thank you very much.

    • The Visa Geeza

      7 Jun 2021 am30 8:30am


  • Alex

    27 May 2021 am31 12:24am

    Hi, I am 5 years into my count for PR with 2 years left in the current working visa.
    My company would like to send me overseas for a new assignment that might last 2 years or so.
    I can plan return trips in HK to avoid staying out for over 6 months every time.
    What do I need to do in order to keep the count running and be able to apply for PR?

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 May 2021 am31 10:00am

      Only if your work overseas is a temporary secondment for your HK sponsoring employer and you maintain all of your employment relationship as an an employee of the Hong Kong employer will you be able to carry on accumulating continuous ordinary residence to qualify for PR. Merely holding an employment visa is not sufficient to amount to ordinary residence in Hong Kong. So, if they are cancelling your HK employment and re-engaging you on a whole new contract overseas, you will be abandoning your ‘settled purpose of work in Hong Kong’ no matter how many times you return to Hong Kong in the interim.

  • Marto

    20 May 2021 am31 1:41am

    Hi Stephen, your site is an incredibly helpful resource thanks. Two hopefully simple questions – I’m coming up on 7 years continuous employment / residence in HK, but I’m a little unclear on when I can apply. In my old passport I have a “Good for Single Journey to HK” sticker (F number) which also mentions “Employment 12 months”. It’s been stamped “Journey Completed” – and if memory serves me correctly was stamped when we first arrived in HK, July 2014. Does the 7 years count from that date?

    I also have another visa sticker (V number) which extends our “permission to remain” to July 2018 for “Employment”, issued in 2015. That one isn’t stamped.

    (I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this next one, but..) our current Visas expire literally on the date (day/month) we arrived in HK. Given the processing times for PR, I assume we need to extend these visas beforehand, and then apply for PR?

    Many thanks!

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 May 2021 am31 10:05am

      >>It’s been stamped “Journey Completed” – and if memory serves me correctly was stamped when we first arrived in HK, July 2014. Does the 7 years count from that date?>>

      Yes this date.

      >>our current Visas expire literally on the date (day/month) we arrived in HK. Given the processing times for PR, I assume we need to extend these visas beforehand, and then apply for PR?>>

      Yes, the PR process is complicated if you don’t extend first.

  • Liza

    11 May 2021 am31 1:36am

    hello.. having a contious working visa in our passport for 7years is an advantage to apply PR? although i always going to macau last year.. and my children is not studying here in hk but online study in our origin country.. does it affect for their application of PR? and do immigration will ask a contract of where we live?

    • The Visa Geeza

      14 May 2021 pm31 12:15pm

      Having back to back residence visas for 7 years (a working visa is a residence visa) is a mere prerequisite for PR. As long as you can demonstrate that you have maintained a family home in HK throughout the 7 years, it doesn’t matter that your kids were educated outside of Hong Kong. If the scenario is one where you effectively lived / resided in Macau and occasionally travelled to Hong Kong ostensibly for work purposes here it will be difficult to claim that you have been ordinarily resident in Hong Kong and therefore qualify for PR. Merely having a working visa for 7 years doesn’t amount to ‘ordinary residence’ in Hong Kong.

  • YM

    2 Apr 2021 pm30 11:42pm

    Hi Stephen,
    Your advices on different cases are super helpful.

    I currently have employment visa and I will be eligible to apply for PR from July 2023. But I might have to change my visa status early 2022 to dependent visa and travel between China and Hong Kong as my HK citizen partner resides in SZ.
    So here are my questions:
    – If I have dependent visa and travel between CN-HK, do I still need the residential address in HK to prove that I am HK resident?
    – Is there a minimum days of stay required in HK annually to be eligible for PR (regardless of visa type)? I couldn’t find a clear requirement from immigration site.
    Many thanks in advance.

    • The Visa Geeza

      13 Apr 2021 am30 10:19am

      You need to be careful with this. If you have a dependant visa yet actually live in China with your spouse and have no work or home in Hong Kong you cannot readily claim you are ordinarily resident in Hong Kong when you (a) clearly don’t reside here (b) don’t maintain a family home here (c) your sponsoring partner has left Hong Kong to live in China – and your immigration records will show that your time in HK is merely sporadic prior to a return Home to china after each visit. In any event, your Qs:

      – If I have dependent visa and travel between CN-HK, do I still need the residential address in HK to prove that I am HK resident?

      Yes – 100% – and not just an address – a tenancy agreement for a physical family home.

      – Is there a minimum days of stay required in HK annually to be eligible for PR (regardless of visa type)? I couldn’t find a clear requirement from immigration site.

      There is no minimum – ImmD consider all the factors to assess if ordinary residence is made out (hence by caveat above).

  • D

    30 Mar 2021 am31 10:37am

    Hi Stephen – I entered Hong Kong on a working holiday Visa, and then got a full time employment Visa a few months later. Does my PR eligibility date start from the day I entered on a working holiday Visa, or from the start of my employment Visa?

    Thanks for the help!

    • The Visa Geeza

      2 Apr 2021 pm30 12:26pm

      From the date of your activation of the WHV.

  • AP

    1 Dec 2020 pm31 2:59pm

    Hi Stephen,

    I have lived in Hong Kong for just over 4 years with a month and a half of staying overseas after high school graduation. I am now a student at HKUST on a dependant visa and I have it valid for 3 more years, however, my father is getting relocated. Since the universities are online, I am planning to take a gap year and leave with him for about a year. I can come back if need be but would it break the continuity. Also, since my father wouldn’t be working here, will my visa be invoked or impacted in any way? Please reply asap.

    • The Visa Geeza

      2 Dec 2020 am31 10:16am

      Your dependant visa will not be revoked – it will stay valid until it expires but there’s no possibility of an extension of stay when it does. The year away may be a problem but much turns on the pattern of your life during that year and the documented arrangements from your school about this temporary sojourn overseas and the actual pattern of your life AFTER this one year is up (do you return to HK full time and settle here independently etc.). Not easy and no sure fire way to ascertain in advance how ImmD will treat your continuity of ordinary residence. The dependent visa is designed to avail family reunion but if your father leaves HK permanently and you go with him you are leaving HK to attain family reunion somewhere else. This is a risk to your continuity of ordinary residence. The only sure fire way to protect it is to stay here. Outside of that you will only know when you apply for PR.

  • Queen

    10 Oct 2020 pm31 4:24pm

    Hi Stephen. I am a dependant visa holder and I still have 2 years before getting my residency.

    I am planning to go back to my country because of this pandemic. I am jobless so I’m deciding to go back to my country for the mean time. My question is How long can a dependant visa holder stay outside of Hong Kong? And are they going to revoke my application if I stay outside Hong Kong for a long period of time?


    • The Visa Geeza

      16 Oct 2020 am31 11:49am

      It’s not a simple question you ask. To protect your continuous ordinary residence for PR purposes you are expected to be resident in HK with your spouse/family as the dependent visa is granted on the basis of ‘family reunion’. On the other hand, you can maintain your dependent status indefinitely so long as you are physically present in HK on at least one occasion each 12 months. If you have not been so resident before your next renewal, then ImmD may conclude at the time you apply that you are no longer actually a resident here and so no longer need the visa.

  • JV

    5 Oct 2020 am31 11:43am

    Hi I have been in Hong kong and at first came on a tourist visa then applied for my work visa in April but I waited till may to go to Macau and activate my visa next year I will be completing 7 years. Do I need to wait till may to apply or can I apply in April already?

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Oct 2020 am31 11:17am


  • Kelly

    30 Sep 2020 pm30 4:09pm

    Hi Stephen!
    I have been living in Hk for 6 years now and unemployed for a year now. However my previous working visa is valid until aug 2021 which is exactly when I will reach the 7 years.

    However there are severals questions that came to my mind.
    In 2017, there is a gap of 2 weeks because my previous company was late in applying for my working visa.. does it compromise my journey to PR ? 🙁
    Also, I accumulated different types of visa which were working holidays visa/ training visa 2years/ gap of 2 weeks / and working visa until now.

    Do you think my application will be accepted by the immigration department next year?

    Thanks so much for your help!


    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Oct 2020 am31 11:27am

      The visa types you have held will qualify you for PR but the 2 weeks gaps could be a problem, depending on the facts of your visa situation and your physical whereabouts during these gaps. You wont know until you apply I’m afraid.

  • BZT

    31 Aug 2020 pm31 7:02pm

    Hi Stephen,
    I will hit 7 years of continuous work visa in HK in September 2021. I lost my job in July 2020. In the event that I find a job in France with a 1-year contract or study for 1 year in Paris, can I still apply for the PR?

    In my mind, it would be a 1-year break to then come back to HK.


    • The Visa Geeza

      7 Sep 2020 am30 9:41am

      This will definitely break your continuity of ordinary residence. You need to be living and working in HK (if you hold an employment visa here) to be able to claim ordinary residence over the full 7 years.

  • Ganesh

    30 Aug 2020 pm31 3:28pm

    I complete 7 years in Aug 2020 and will apply for PR now. My child was born in Hong Kong in 2017. Can I apply for my child together? Is she eligible for PR as I will get my PR now? Thanks in advance.

    • The Visa Geeza

      31 Aug 2020 am31 9:07am


  • Ganesh

    30 Aug 2020 pm31 3:25pm

    Hi Stephen,
    I completed 7 years in Aug 2020 and my wife and child will complete in Nov 2020. Can I apply for PR together in Sep 2020? i.e. 2 months advance of my family completing their 7 year anniversary. I want to do this so it’s easier to get through this process in one go. I have seen some forums stating 1-2 months in advance is generally fine.

    • The Visa Geeza

      31 Aug 2020 am31 9:08am

      No. Your family can only qualify after 7 years in their own right.

  • B

    9 Aug 2020 pm31 12:31pm


    I came to HK on dependant visa in 2011 and from 2015 to date have been away for study but have maintained my Hong Kong bank accounts, same address and phone number, and return every 6 months, renewing my visa promptly. Am i correct in understanding that because i have been away despite maintaining documents and re-entry, i am not eligible for PR? Just want to be clear so i don’t waste an application! Thank you!

    • The Visa Geeza

      10 Aug 2020 am31 9:56am

      Assuming your family home is maintained in HK throughout this time then the fact that you have been away from HK in pursuit of your education should not preclude you from qualifying for PR after 7 years continuous ordinary residence.

  • CC123

    31 Jul 2020 pm31 3:41pm

    Does the ordinary residence date start when I landed in HK 7 years ago? Or when my employment visa was “activated” (we had to go to Macau to get it stamped)

    • The Visa Geeza

      3 Aug 2020 am31 10:56am


  • Tom

    26 Jul 2020 am31 7:14am

    I would like to know if there is any possibility for me to extend my dependant/spouse visa since I am now divorced from my wife who used to be my sponsor.

    Presently I have already got my last 3years dependancy visa extended before my divorced.

    Would I be able to qualify for applying permanent resident with my divorce certificate before my current dependent visa expires 2022/10/01 and on this day I will be 7 yrs that I had already continues living in Hong Kong ?

    I would like to get my PR I Hong Kong and I hope your expertise in immigration matters might be of great help to me.

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    • The Visa Geeza

      27 Jul 2020 am31 10:59am

      Yes this should be possible but it needs careful management at the time your 7 year anniversary is up. Ideally you would change to an employment visa in the months before your dependent visa expiry (assuming you are working) so that there is no ‘panic’ at the 7 year mark where you have a continuing residence visa after the exact 7 year anniversary. Otherwise, it is stressful and administratively problematic where your 7 year anniversary falls exactly upon your dependent visa expiry date.

  • Igor

    17 Jul 2020 am31 11:37am

    Can I apply for PR after 8 years of holding valid visa?

    I will reach 7 years in 20 of Aug 2021. However, I am planning to go overseas for my further study in Sep 2021. I am afraid there is little time for the application and receiving the PR. My visa will be valid until Jul 2023, so supposedly I could still come back to Hong Kong after my study and apply for PR afterwards?

    • The Visa Geeza

      20 Jul 2020 am31 9:17am

      No. This will not work. You must have 7 years of ordinary residence counting back from the date you apply for PR. If you leave HK to study before you secure PR you will fail in your PR application. Just having a visa for the 2 years doesn’t amount to ordinary residence. There is enough time in that month before you need to travel to study to complete your PR application.

  • Andy

    7 Jul 2020 am31 9:40am

    Hi Stephen, your information is very helpful. Hope you can help.

    I am a HK citizen living overseas and I am going to return to both HK and China with my partner and child who are not from HK. The thing is that we will live in both HK and China but more in China because I will work there (maybe 10 or 11 months out of a year). Can they are still eligible to apply for a relevant visa in HK and wait 7 years for PR?

    • The Visa Geeza

      13 Jul 2020 am31 11:51am

      No. If you are not ordinarily residing in HK but in China instead you will not qualify for PR in HK after 7 years.

  • JTC

    10 Jun 2020 pm30 4:05pm

    Hi Stephen,

    My wife has been a continuous ordinary resident (Canadian Citizen with HKWP) from Sept 2011 to July 2015. She then left Hong Kong temporarily from July 2015 until August 2017 for a work placement in Shanghai with the same company. In August 2017 she returned back to HK again with the same company and has been continuous ordinary resident until present day (June 2020).

    We are explaining the gap as a company assignment and will provide proof that she had the intention to return. She had kept her HK bank accounts and credit cards active, her mobile number fully active, her personal belongings in storage in HK. We will be using the monthly statement, records, and invoices between July 2016 to August 2017 as evidence. We also got married and had a baby in Shanghai before returning to HK will mention that we moved the family back to reinforce the notion that we had the commitment and intention to return.

    Is there an assessment criterion that HK Immigration uses to consider PR cases with a gap? I want to make sure nothing is missed when justifying the gap.

    Thank you!

    • The Visa Geeza

      15 Jun 2020 pm30 12:24pm

      If she held an employment visa in HK during the gap in CHN then no problem. If no EV then you’re going to struggle. Eligibility for RoA requires back to back residence visas during the 7 years claimed.

  • MAT

    1 Jun 2020 pm30 6:46pm

    Hi Stephen, I have a question regarding the top-tier stream work visa.

    I have worked in Hong Kong for 4 years and am applying for a top-tier stream work visa that will have 6 year validity. (so 10 years in total on Visa) If I change my job sometime and work overseas before the end of the 7 year period for PR status, will I be able to still qualify for PR when I apply upon the 7 year mark? (say need to work in Japan from Year 5 onwards.) I still plan on keeping my residency in Hong Kong and can travel back quite frequently (given my job is mostly in Japan, Korea etc.)

    Thanks for your help in advance.


    • The Visa Geeza

      3 Jun 2020 pm30 2:01pm

      See my email.

      • LJ

        4 Feb 2021 pm28 12:38pm

        Hi Stephen ..
        My husbands and I been married since 2015 and my husbands working in Hk since 2014, in 2021 on November he will be 7years but he been unemployed from July to November Cos of pandemic and we been extended the visa with tourist visa for 1 months each extended 4 times but we not out of HK Cos of pandemic ,
        Did my husbands still can apply for HK PR
        after that situation?

        Thanks .

        • The Visa Geeza

          9 Feb 2021 am28 10:33am

          Ouch. You need to have back to back residence visas for the full 7 years in order to qualify for PR. If your circumstances change and your husband can get an employment visa and you a dependent visa again quickly, you might be able to mount an argument in November that your time under visitor status was enforced-temporary and didn’t denote any intention not to have taken HK as your place of permanent residence during those weeks. But the holding a residence visa for a full 7 years is vital to qualify for PR.

  • Sandy

    14 May 2020 am31 1:07am

    Hi Stephen, I’m a HK PR and my husband is making his application. It has past 7 yrs since we got married and he got a spouse visa – however within these 7 years we have spent 2 years overseas when I were on a secondment (my contract is called “return transfer” so my HK company is expecting me to return after the secondment). My husband has followed me to go overseas, during this period, we do not pay hk tax as we do not have hk sourced income, but we do maintain an apartment for our stay when we return. What is the chance of getting it approved?


    • The Visa Geeza

      20 May 2020 am31 9:38am

      So long as you show ImmD the paperwork relating to your temporary secondment overseas for those 2 years then this time away will not usually break his continuity of ordinary residence and so he should readily qualify this time.

  • RPT

    23 Apr 2020 pm30 9:05pm

    Hi Visa Geeza,

    Really appreciate your time fielding questions. I sent an email to ImmD this AM but it bounced back unfortunately. I wonder if you can help…

    I am British and a HK PR (lived in HK 20 years). I and my wife (dependent visa holder, expires Feb 2021) have been married 6.5 years. She is due to apply for her PR this July. We are currently in the UK and were due to return to HK at beginning April. However, dude to the Covid-19 situation we have decided to remain here in the UK ‘sheltering-in-place’ and making sure the folks are well until it is a safer time to travel back to HK. We have an open return ticket.

    My question is; how long is my wife able to stay in the UK without it jeopardising her application for PR? I have checked up and down online and most information points to no longer than 180 consecutive days out of HK. However, I have also seen a figure of 90 days crop up. This is the reason I tried to contact ImmD, but to no avail.

    I wonder if you may be able to shed any light on this.

    • The Visa Geeza

      27 Apr 2020 pm30 1:24pm

      As long as you return to HK as soon as you are practically able to the time spent away in the UK in these unusual circumstances will not negatively impact her eligibility for PR after 7 years.

  • Wendy

    6 Jul 2019 am31 12:15am

    Hi Stephen,

    Thanks for your advice! I have been studying/working in HK for 6 full years but I am unemployed right now. My visa is expiring soon (one month later)… If I am unable to land a job and renew the visa before it expires, does this mean my past 6 years counting towards the 7-year anniversary will go down the drain?

    What if I get another job in two months (and get another visa) and there’s less than one month gap… Does this still count as “continuous period of not less than 7 years”?

    Thanks a lot!

    • The Visa Geeza

      9 Jul 2019 am31 10:00am

      “Thanks for your advice! I have been studying/working in HK for 6 full years but I am unemployed right now. My visa is expiring soon (one month later)… If I am unable to land a job and renew the visa before it expires, does this mean my past 6 years counting towards the 7-year anniversary will go down the drain”

      For the most part yes, as you need to have had back to back residence visas all through the 7 years claimed. Slipping into visitor status invariably breaks your continuity of ordinary residence.

      “What if I get another job in two months (and get another visa) and there’s less than one month gap… Does this still count as “continuous period of not less than 7 years”?”

      I’ve seen it go both ways.

      • Wendy

        10 Jul 2019 pm31 12:28pm

        Thank you Stephen!! It’s very helpful

  • Phil

    27 Jun 2019 pm30 6:27pm


    I have been in Hong Kong for 3 years already so am almost halfway to applying for PR. I am getting married and will legally change my surname. Will it be an issue that my name changes?

    I have been told by some one that the rules regarding PR say I have be in in Hong Kong for 7 years on one name. Is this true?

    • The Visa Geeza

      2 Jul 2019 pm31 8:17pm

      It makes no difference whatsoever just so long as it is you and you have spent the requisite time here.

  • T

    14 Jun 2019 pm30 5:00pm

    Hi hi,

    My question about 7 years: is it 6 months being away or 180 days? The reason I’m asking is that I will be away exactly 181 days which is less than 6m. Unfortunately I will be on the other side of this planet from HK, so I can’t fly back in between just to be sure about this 6 m rule . Thanks for your response.

    • The Visa Geeza

      19 Jun 2019 am30 9:44am

      6 Calendar months – but it doesn’t automatically follow that if you’re away from HK longer than 6 months at a stretch you are instantly ineligible for consideration for PR at the 7 years mark. You just need ti justify why you’ve been away that long to the extent that you have not abandoned your ordinary residence in HK by staying away as long as you have.

  • Angie

    6 Apr 2019 am30 11:56am

    I am a univ student of overseas nationality. I am planning to work in HK after graduation, so I’m seeking for the way to get PR. I have several questions regarding PR application.

    1) Is the explanation (or excuse) for the period of absence during student status necessary?

    2) Second is, if it is needed, “gap year approved by the university” and “exchange program abroad”, would these be accounted?

    In my case, I had an year-long gap year (of course got the approval from school) and had internships in my home country. And now, I am going for exchange in the coming semester. So in total, I wouldn’t be physically present in HK for 1.5 year before my graduation. My student visa would be valid for 5.5 years, but 1.5 would be empty in the middle.

    3) So summing up 2 questions and my situation, would this 1.5 years would be counted for my PR application in the future (at the time I spend 7 years in HK)? If that’s the case, I should spend 8.5 years in HK to apply for PR right?

    ++) What I heard is that as long as the student visa is expired in the middle, there is no problem. Is this right?

    Thank you.

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Apr 2019 pm30 5:00pm

      Sorry – this isn’t a question. It’s proxy advice and way too complicated to get into via this public facing website.

  • Matrix

    2 Jan 2019 am31 11:59am

    Hi Stephen,
    I have an employment visa to take me through to 7 years but now I’m unemployed for 3 months now due to redundancy in my previous compsny and still looking new job. My visa is untill July 2020 and I will turn 7 years here in hk on Nov 2019. I am planning to apply for PR ahead of time since most of the employer here is looking for PR status abd doesn’t want sponsorship. What is my chance of getting it approve?

    • The Visa Geeza

      3 Jan 2019 am31 9:28am

      If you apply for PR more than 28 days before your 7 year anniversary ImmD will just send the papers back to you.

      • Peachy Agregado

        5 Apr 2019 pm30 4:39pm

        When is the earliest time possible to apply for PR?

        • The Visa Geeza

          8 Apr 2019 pm30 5:01pm

          28 days before the 7 year anniversary BUT you must be physically present in HK on the day you submit and also on the 7 year anniversary day.

  • Pedram

    26 Nov 2018 pm30 11:00pm

    Hi Stephen!
    You have answered my question regarding PR application, but I wanna make sure. I will be out of HK for a period of 6 months as an exchange student. It means that my student visa is still valid and I ll be receiving my salary (and paying tax). In that case, 1) Do I have to stay in Hk for a period of 7 years and 6 months or is it just & years? 2) I can arrange my trip to be 5 months and 20 days; does it help to ease the process of my PR application? Does it make any difference being outside for 6 months or 5 months?

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 Nov 2018 am30 10:58am

      This is getting into the land of proxy advice which I am uncomfortable giving. What do you mean by this?

      >>It means that my student visa is still valid and I ll be receiving my salary (and paying tax).>>

      Under a Hong Kong student visa employment is not permitted except for certain on-campus work or off campus work during summer holidays.

      • P

        1 Dec 2018 pm31 3:27pm

        Hi Stephan!
        By that, I mean the studentship paid by university! Just like all students in HK. However, my question is if I go for an exchange program during my study (with permission of school), how long can I be far from HK to be eligible for PR application? Does it really make any difference in my future application if I stay 6 months + 1 day instead of 6 months?

        • The Visa Geeza

          3 Dec 2018 am31 10:49am

          6 months and 1 day is not the issue. The key thing is that you maintain your student visa back to back at all times (NO GAPS ALLOWED) and the nature of your time away is manifestly temporary and that you return to back to HK immediately after the short time away for studies is complete.

  • Alfred

    17 Jan 2018 am31 7:31am

    Hi Stephen, thank you very much for your great advice.

    I’m sorry if this follow up questions sounds a bit silly but here it goes, what happens if long absences from Hong Kong are interrupted by short periods in Hong Kong, for example, away for 5 months, back for 2 week break, and then away again for another 5 months? Do you think I still need to list (and explain) those long stints away despite the fact they don’t exceed the 6 month limit? I hold an investment visa if it is relevant.

    • The Visa Geeza

      24 Jan 2018 am31 9:00am

      Yes, ImmD will certainly want to know what was happening in your life that took you away from Hong Kong all of that time to be certain that you did not abandon your continuity of ordinary or settled purpose for living in Hong Kong in all of those months away.

  • Victoria

    3 Jun 2017 am30 10:42am

    Hi Stephen!

    I think my question is not big enough to warrant a separate entry on your website.
    I have a friend that works for an orchestra and is issued with 10 months’ visas, with 2 months’ breaks each year. I find it very unusual because no one else I know has ever been on visas like that (including myself), but now my friend is starting to wonder if this kind of visa will entitle her to ROB/PR? She lives in Shenzhen but travels to Hong Kong for work almost every day. She;s been doing it for the last 5 years.


    • The Visa Geeza

      6 Jun 2017 am30 10:29am

      On the face of it, I doubt she would be able to successfully make a claim for ordinary residence in Hong Kong given that she actually lives in Shenzhen.


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