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Hadley Says

Is the Travel Pass as Good as a Hong Kong Employment Visa?

September 30th, 2012

Posted by / in Hadley Says…, Visitor Visas / 10 responses


The Travel Pass is designed for frequent visitors to Hong Kong who have a current, pre-existing employment outside of the HKSAR that is going to continue in the future.

Moreover, The Travel Pass requires that your frequent visits here will be of benefit to Hong Kong.

You also need the support of a local contact who can vouch for your bona fides.

Essentially, then, if you can satisfy these three key elements it is reasonable to expect approval.

Of course, in order to get out of the starting gate, you need to have made three trips to Hong Kong in the 12 months immediately prior to submission of your Travel Pass application and you have to be a citizen of a country that is provided with visa-upon-arrival privileges.

It takes 4-6 weeks to finalise a Travel Pass application and, if successful, your prize is quick and easy clearance through immigration each time you arrive, a 2 month limit of stay granted ‘no questions asked’ and get three years of trouble-free to-ing and fro-ing between Hong Kong and your current country of residence (or any third country for that matter).

But it is NOT a visa to live in Hong Kong and so you cannot transfer your employment here on the strength of  your Travel Pass, cannot get a Hong Kong ID Card, cannot sponsor your family for dependant visas nor employ a foreign domestic helper.

So, for those of you who are looking for pseudo-residence permissions in Hong Kong it’s close, but no cigar!

More Stuff You Might Find Interesting

Hong Kong Travel Pass Used to Keep A Family Together in Hong Kong – Quite Lawfully

I Want to Live in Hong Kong With My Boyfriend – is the Working Holiday Visa a Viable Option?

I Have an Employment Visa  and I Want to Bring My Girlfriend to Hong Kong – Options Please?

Why Applying for a Foreign Domestic Helper Visa for Your Girlfriend is Not a Good Idea


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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.

  • Harrison

    17 Jan 2020 pm31 11:10pm


    I have a US passport and have been staying in Hong Kong for the last 5 months (renting an apartment), with frequent visits to factories in the mainland as well as other neighboring countries.

    On a recent return to Hong Kong I was stopped at immigration and interviewed by an officer, asking my purpose of stay. This happened two more times in the same week coming back into Hong Kong from China. They said I’ve been flagged in their system as showing a substantial number of days residing in Hong Kong; however, admitting that I’m not breaking any laws.

    If I can get the Hong Kong Travel Pass will it alleviate some of these issues? Is there another Visa that would fit my scenario (foreign business owner primarily in Hong Kong to develop products in mainland factories)?

    • The Visa Geeza

      20 Jan 2020 pm31 1:39pm

      A Travel Pass might well solve this problem. Long stay visitors in HK now meet quite a lot of challenges as they enter and exit and I’m seeing this more and more. If your biz entity is established in HK then a Travel Pass is not suitable. You would need a business investment visa as an entrepreneur.

  • Mike Winstanley

    12 Jun 2019 am30 5:22am

    My wife has a job in Macau. I will have a dependent visa but wanting to work. Do I need to get a Blue Card and can I get one before I arrive in Macau?.

    • The Visa Geeza

      19 Jun 2019 am30 9:41am

      Sorry – no idea. I only know about HK visas and have no competency in Macau immigration.


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