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How to Establish Your Bona Fides as a Non-Business Frequent Visitor to Hong Kong

July 12th, 2017

Posted by / in Visitor Visas, Your Question Answered / 8 responses


If ever there was a situation where a person can be said to be a ‘bona fide visitor’ to Hong Kong, this set of circumstances, arguably, illustrates ‘it’. The question though… is it sustainable?



I’m a British citizen of Chinese descent who’s been making repeated trips as a Visitor to Hong Kong for the past 2 years. Granted that I’m allowed a generous 180 day visa on my British passport, I’ve been spending most of my time in HK.

On each trip, I stay for about 75-80 days, return to the UK for a month or two then come back to HK.

I’ve never overstayed, I don’t need to work and have enough income to support myself.

My reasons for wanting to come here so often are simple: I have plenty of friends and family here, and I’m a Chinese person who enjoys living among Chinese people.

On my last entry, however, I was questioned by the Immigration Officer as to the purpose of my trip. I responded in Cantonese and explained that: (1) my deceased parents were HK permanent residents/ID card holders, that (2) they’re buried here and that (3) I like to be here to spend time with family and relatives.

All of this I can prove.

The Officers that interviewed me were very understanding, saying that they were just curious as to my motives for making such frequent and long trips to Hong Kong.

In the end, I was granted my usual 180 days and one Officer even assured me I wouldn’t be refused entry next time. In the end, I think I made a positive impression on them and if they’d put down anything about me on their computer records, it shouldn’t be something bad.

I’ve heard about visitors who do short visa runs to Macau which isn’t quite my case because when I leave, I’m always absent from HK for at least a month, but should I still expect to run into any problems with immigration if I can prove that I’m not in HK to work illegally, that I have my own income and I’ve bought a place here to stay?

Is there any possibility that I can do this indefinitely? Am I in danger of receiving a SCL in my passport one day given my circumstances? I don’t plan on extending my visitor visa as I need to go back to the UK at least once or twice a year anyway.

More Stuff You May Find Useful or Interesting

Is it ever OK to work in Hong Kong on a visitor visa?

Will the Hong Kong Immigration Department extend your visitor visa if you ask them to?

The long-stay visitor’s awkward predicament

Is the Travel Pass as good as a Hong Kong employment visa?

Will any time you spend in Hong Kong as a visitor count towards the magic 7 years for 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.



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