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Hong Kong Top Talent Pass – USD320,000 In Annual Salary Income Or World Top 100+ University Graduate?

July 3rd, 2023

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Feature Article, Musing, Special Programmes, VG Front Page / 4 responses


Hong Kong Top Talent Pass

If you’re a big earner (USD320,000 in the last 12 months) or one helluva smart cookie (top 100+ world university Bachelor degree holder) the Hong Kong Top Talent Pass visa could be for you!

Top Talent Pass Visa

Updated November 13, 2023

Top Talent Pass Visa Conditions

The Top Talent Pass Scheme (TTPS) is a relatively new immigration program in Hong Kong designed to facilitate the employment of the creme de la creme of talent from around the world, as defined by earning power and alma mater.

There are three categories of eligibility for the TTPS.

Category A includes individuals with an annual salary income of at least USD320,000 in the 12-months immediately preceding the date of application submission.

Category B consists of bachelor degree graduates from one of the world’s top 100+ universities with three or more years of work experience.

Category C is for recent graduates from a top 100 university, but with less than three years of work experience.

Category C has a limited annual quota. Category A applicants need to prove their salary income, while Category B and C applicants must demonstrate their educational qualifications and work experience.

Top Talent Pass Limit of Stay

Successful applicants are granted an initial stay of 24-months, during which they can start businesses, change jobs and travel freely in and out of Hong Kong without a re-entry visa.

Top Talent Pass Extension of Stay

Visa extensions for 3-years require proof of employment or business establishment. Top Talent Pass visa holders can apply for a six-year extension if they show that they have earned at least HKD2 million (USD260,000) in taxable salary income in Hong Kong in the fiscal tax year prior to the year of the expiry of the first 2-year TTPS visa.

Top Talent Pass Eligibility for PR

Once they have maintained continuous ordinary residency in Hong Kong for seven years, holders of all Categories of TTPS visas and their families are eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Top Talent Pass Accompanying Family

Legal spouse and unmarried children under the age of 18 qualify. Dependents are allowed to work, study or conduct business in their own right under their dependant visa status. Parents over 60 qualify for dependant visas once the sponsor has secured PR.

Proof of Income Under Top Talent Pass Category A

To apply for the TTPS, Category A applicants must submit the necessary supporting documents to prove their income reached HKD2.5 million or above in the immediate past 12-months (USD320,000).

These documents may include a notice of salaries tax assessment from a local competent authority (e.g., taxation office or revenue department), documentary proof issued by the applicant’s employing company specifying the value of stock options granted to the applicant, and/or documentary proof of the financial standing of the applicant’s self-owned companies (e.g., the latest audited financial report, trading profit and loss account, or profit tax return) if applicable.

If an applicant’s income is not denominated in Hong Kong dollars, they can choose from 17 other major currencies available in the online application service. After selecting the currency, the computer system will automatically convert the applicant’s income into Hong Kong dollars. If the applicant’s income is not denominated in Hong Kong dollars or one of the 17 foreign currencies (such as RUB), there is an offline RMB-RUB cross- conversion mechanism available to convert their income into Hong Kong dollars or one of the 17 foreign currencies uploading the relevant supporting documents to the Immigration Department for assessment.

Proof of Graduation Under Top Talent Pass Categories B & C

Category B consists of bachelor degree graduates from one of the world’s top 100 universities with three or more years of work experience.

Category C is for recent graduates from a top 100 university, but with less than three years of work experience. Category C has a limited annual quota.

Top Talent Pass Documents Required

Category A Applicants: Proof of income as detailed above.

Categories B & C Applicants: Official transcript of academic records, graduation certificate or supporting letter from the degree awarding institution showing the applicant’s attainment of a bachelor’s degree at any eligible universities/tertiary institutions which are listed on the aggregate list of the world’s top 100+ universities,  detailed CV covering at least the last 5 years’ work experience, confirmation in writing from the official employers detailed in 3 of the last 5 years included in the CV.

All Applicants Generally: High-quality scan copies of passport bio details page, accompanying children’s birth certificates, marriage certificate, colour passport size photographs for all.

Documents do not need to be notarized or apostilled.  However, birth and marriage certificates not in English or Chinese need to be certified-translated by an officially sanctioned translator.

Top Talent Pass Criticism

There are 2 core criticisms:

(A) Only Bachelor Degrees from the world’s top 100+ universities qualify: post-grad qualifications don’t count.

(B) Processing time – most applications are taking longer than the 4 weeks cited. Especially those with less than straightforward eligibility documentation in play. 10-12 weeks is the norm in our experience.

Hong Kong Top Talent Pass – 160,000 Applications & Counting?

As of the publishing of this post, the noise is that more than 160,000 applications have been received with 100,000 having been approved.

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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.

  • jay

    21 Dec 2023 pm31 2:14pm

    I applied and then they followed up with the form ID520, requiring a “Statement of Sponsor’s Family Background” and DOB of sponsor’s family members. Why do I need a sponsor? Am I required to provide this for the Hong Kong Top Talent Pass Scheme?

    • The Visa Geeza

      25 Dec 2023 am31 11:20am

      If you’re including dependants yes

  • DB

    17 Jul 2023 am31 9:00am

    One quick question,

    The scheme says “only bachelors degree qualifications not postgraduate” but in the UK we have something called an integrated or undergraduate masters (MSci not MSc) I.E it is a whole 3 year bachelors plus 1 extra year to give the full MSci degree and you don’t get a bachelors certificate and and a postgrad masters certificate you just get one for the full 4year degree so it is considered an undergraduate degree as it is done straight out from school and also the degree is graded like a bachelors I.E First Class Honours not Distinction like a postgrad masters. Is this eligible for the talent pass scheme?

    • The Visa Geeza

      25 Jul 2023 am31 8:54am

      You’ll have to apply and state your case. It’s a grey area at the moment.


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