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What Hong Kong Visa Options Exist for Unmarried, Trailing Partners?

August 20th, 2012

Posted by / in 60 Second Snapshot, Employment Visas, Family Visas, Investment Visas, Special Programmes / 23 responses


Under Hong Kong immigration policy, if you’re married, life is pretty much plain sailing from a visa perspective.

Married spouses accompanying their partners to the HKSAR when they come to work secure dependent visas which effectively provide carte blanche approvals to engage in any kind of activity which is lawful, eg, study, work, or establish a business.

However, if there is no legal marriage, the options are really very limited and the following classes of visa can be considered as a means for trailing partners to accompany their loved one to Hong Kong.

You can consider:

Getting a job offer – and then applying for an employment visa in your own right but there are no special privileges available to trailing partners in these circumstances and the approvability test for such work visa permissions is still very onerous.

The Quality Migrant Admission Scheme – if your partner is a top notch talent, representing human capital which would manifestly attractive to Hong Kong in your own right.

If you have 10 million Hong Kong dollars to invest –  in certain financial assets which you are prepared to lock into the HKSAR for the life of your residency this will provide the visa permissions you need to be with your partner and, after 7 years, you can release these funds finally and secure an alternate long stay immigration status freeing up your invested capital for other uses.

Start your own business – if you have the means and experience, you can consider the business investment visa.

Study at university – if you have the desire and means, you can secure a student visa and, upon graduation with a graduate or post graduate degree, you can automatically join the Hong Kong work force under the special privileges afforded under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates.

Alternatively, if you have been living together immediately prior to relocating to Hong Kong, you can make an application for a prolonged visitor visa on the basis that you are defacto spouses (both heterosexual and same sex partners.)

However you should consider such immigration permissions as a slippers and pipe visa as it will allow you both to remain together, but not provide the consent of the HKID to work, join in a business or take up any course of study.

More Stuff to Help You Along

Why applying for a Hong Kong foreign domestic helper visa for your girlfriend is not a good idea

How a Travel Pass was used to keep an extended family together in Hong Kong – quite lawfully!

Can I come to Hong Kong as a visitor, find a job, then apply to adjust my immigration status to a working visa?


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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.

  • Hugo

    23 Oct 2018 pm31 11:27pm

    Hi there,

    My girlfriend is from Hong Kong, and we have lived together for the last 5 years and we are now considering to move to HK for a while. I know it won’t be easy for me to get a partner visa as we are not married, but I wonder whether it is still possible or not at all. Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Bharvi pandya

    11 May 2017 am31 3:19am

    Hi me and my boyfriend both are living in Hk at the moment. My boyfriend is on a working holiday visa,which is going to be over soon . he already has a Hk I’d. I have my employment visa till 2018 . Is there anyway that he can extend his stay On my visa ?

    • The Visa Geeza

      12 May 2017 pm31 3:00pm

      No. Not unless you are legally married and can demonstrate to ImmD you are in a genuine relationship and you have the means to feed, home and financially support him for a dependant visa.

  • expat

    21 Feb 2016 pm29 2:10pm

    Hi, I have the following situation:
    My girlfriend is currently working in Hong Kong and has a HKID (she is from Japan).
    Since we both want to leave together, we are planning to get married in HK so I can move in with her.
    If I marry her, would it be possible for me to receive a HKID so we can both live together?

    Thanks in advanced for any hint!


  • amigo

    6 Sep 2012 pm30 7:54pm

    I am married to a divorced HongKong ID Lady from Nepal.I want to join her in Hongkong and i applied my visa since two years. Till date i am waiting my visa to go to Hongkong.The question is how long i have to wait to get an approval from Hongkong visa office?

    • The Visa Geeza

      8 Sep 2012 pm30 4:50pm

      Hi – thanks for your question. It must be frustrating to have to wait all of this time but, after 2 years, it would seem fair to assume that the HKID have doubts about the bona fides of your relationship (practical, legal, both). There’s not a lot you can do other than to write to them and ask them to confirm in writing that they are still considering your application, the reason for the lengthy period of time and provide, also, an indication as to time for finalisation of your application as you have your lives to plan.


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