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Hadley Says

Why Do Some Hong Kong Visa Applications Take Months to Finalise (if Ever)?

October 17th, 2012

Posted by / in Employment Visas, Family Visas, Hadley Says…, Investment Visas, Long Stay & PR, Special Programmes, Visitor Visas / 41 responses


If your application for a Hong Kong visa is taking a very long time to process any number of things could be going on to cause the delay.

For example, the Immigration Department may be doing deep background checks on you or any of your accompanying family members to assess your bona fides in respect of your identity and your relationship with people included in your application.

They may also be looking into the details of any employer and related overseas entities to better understand their origins and whether or not they could be said to represent a security threat to the HKSAR.

Sometimes, however, the Immigration Department choose not to finalise an application, keeping it open and pending on an indefinite basis as they have concerns about the bona fides and suspect there may be an immigration office being committed by the applicants – but don’t have the jurisdiction to prosecute as it is all happening outside of Hong Kong.

Similarly, if the applicant is in Hong Kong and the Immigration Department have concerns about an application but no evidence of any wrong doing when it basically should be approved all things considered, they may deliberately not finalise an application expecting that prolonged processing time will cause the applicant to withdraw and thereby solving a problem without the department needing to actually come to a decision.

As you can tell, these issues all relate back to the role that the Immigration Department play as part of the Security Branch of the HKSAR, so the bottom line is this.

If it’s taking a very long time, you can be very sure they believe there is a problem.

More Info You Might Find Useful

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Why do Hong Kong investment visas get denied?

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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.

  • KI

    13 Sep 2022 pm30 9:24pm

    What does record checking mean from immigration?

    • The Visa Geeza

      14 Sep 2022 am30 11:20am

      They are doing background checks and deepr diligence on your application.

  • Karen

    30 Aug 2022 am31 8:14am

    I am applied for dependent visa for husband. I gave the interview last month and this is the 8th week that I have been waiting. Why it is taking so llong?

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Sep 2022 am30 11:09am

      How long is a piece of string? It could be ANY reason.

  • jagroop

    9 Dec 2021 pm31 10:11pm

    hi i m on employment visa in hong kong. i applied my wife dependent visa on may 2021. revised i submitted all documents on july. now till dec 2021 there is no response. online status is in process
    is there any problems with documents

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 Dec 2021 pm31 1:30pm

      I have absolutely no idea.

  • Simo

    3 Nov 2021 pm30 4:17pm

    I have applied for a change of employer visa 6 weeks ago and still haven’t gotten any reply yet
    Me and my company called the immigration several times and the officer on the phone keeps telling us that everything is okay we just have to wait, the case officer have already pre-approved and we are waiting for the senior officer’s final approval
    I would like to know if there might be a problem with my application, by the way, the case officer requested additional documents to provide which we did after 3 weeks of the application, and all the documents are okay, I am very worried about this
    I am holding a 2 years working visa that have been approved 3 months ago, I changed employer because I have received a really good offer with an outstanding salary

    • The Visa Geeza

      6 Dec 2021 am31 9:43am

      No idea. I don’t speculate on what ImmD might be doing with an application which we’re not responsible for. You just need to wait out the process.

  • Steven

    7 Dec 2020 am31 9:20am

    Anyone know what kind of explanation letter my friend should write about?

    He gave in the his cv and applied for a work visa but on the cv the dates were wrong and immigration are asking for an explanation and an ID468 to sign.

    Does anyone have experience or know what the format of the explanation letter should consist of?

    Could this effect the application?

    Any advise would be appreciated

    Thank you very much

    • The Visa Geeza

      9 Dec 2020 pm31 3:30pm

      I answered this offline.

  • Eric

    6 May 2020 pm31 10:47pm

    Interesting. I didn’t know that they would deliberately not finalize an application to wait out their decision and keep it pending.
    Eric recently posted..7 Small Kitchen Storage TipsMy Profile

    • The Visa Geeza

      12 May 2020 am31 11:01am

      It’s a lawful strategy that is expensive to pursue…

  • CT

    23 Apr 2020 pm30 6:19pm

    I have applied my visa since about late Feb and now (23/4) I still didn’t get the result. Is it too long or just normal time.

    • The Visa Geeza

      27 Apr 2020 pm30 1:18pm

      Well it depends on the visa type. Delay at this stage is happening on most ImmD visa functions at this time.

      • CT

        28 Apr 2020 pm30 5:14pm

        It’s student visa, I applied through the university.

        • The Visa Geeza

          29 Apr 2020 am30 9:37am

          Yes all delayed – not deemed an essential visa type due to ImmD staff shortages. Looks like they are 100% back to work next week.

          • CT

            3 May 2020 pm31 6:00pm

            So does it mean that I have to wait another 6-8 weeks?

          • The Visa Geeza

            4 May 2020 pm31 2:22pm

            Quite possibly.

  • EA

    8 Oct 2019 am31 11:57am

    Same through as i am experiencing now,
    I applied as medical practitioner in hk last May29 2019, my sponsor company was the one who went to the immigration to submit and apply for working visa last june 15 2019 and until now (Oct. 8, 2019) they haven’t recieved yet any information
    Was it really take that long?

    Help pls

    • The Visa Geeza

      14 Oct 2019 pm31 12:08pm

      ImmD are taking a LOT longer due to the security matters in HK presently.

  • Steve

    2 Aug 2019 pm31 3:51pm

    Im a prospective university freshmen student for HKU waiting for my student visa.
    School notified me that my application docs were handed over to the immd on 9th of July and im yet to hear from them

    The question is, my close friend who applied the visa with me only one day earlier than I did got his visa last week. We are both from the same country. How come the processing time vary so much?
    Its not like im applying a complicated type of visa I don’t understand what could be the problem as the required papers were verified by my university already.

    The only possible reason i can think of is that I used to hold a student visa back in 2016 when I was going to HKUST, and I cancelled the visa three months ago because the new school im going to attend which is HKU told me to apply for a brand new student visa.

    Any help on this case please??

    • The Visa Geeza

      3 Aug 2019 am31 8:56am

      Every case is different and you cannot glean one expected outcome from any other.

  • Kim

    5 Jul 2019 am31 12:01am

    My niece is waiting her student visa for over 14 weeks now. Is there a problem with her application? Her school tuition fees are all paid up but until now nothing from immigration or school. She’s enrolled into a language centre that said they would get her a student visa like all other students in their school. What is the best thing to do now?

    • The Visa Geeza

      9 Jul 2019 am31 9:57am

      Conatc ImmD and see what might be causing the delay. Could be the sponsorship credentials of the language centre.

    • Love

      15 Jun 2020 am30 11:21am

      Have your niece got her visa?

  • Manuel

    4 Jul 2019 am31 12:09am

    I have applied for a Training Visa in April, I got an answer on May, then on July requesting some documents again, and now I’m still waiting for the results. Is that possible? My internship starts on September so I think I should move in lately August, right? Like in one month and a half probably. I’m dying of anxiety. What should I do? Still waiting?

    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Jul 2019 am31 9:46am

      You can but wait. It’s summer rush at ImmD and it always takes longer…

      • Duong Vuong

        20 Jul 2019 pm31 4:46pm

        I got the same problem. my sponsor company apply the training visa for me from 23 may, now they said it’s still in process.
        what should i do now, just wait?

        • The Visa Geeza

          2 Aug 2019 am31 10:16am

          Not much else you can do really.

    • Duong Vuong

      20 Jul 2019 pm31 4:41pm

      hi Manuel,
      have you got the training visa? I’m applying from may and now i havent receive the decision.

  • Eric

    17 Jun 2015 pm30 12:12pm


    I have been working in Hong Kong for 3 years with 2 different companies. Now I am getting my working visa renovation with a new company. The matter is that while submitting my working visa renovation, Immigration found out that when I previously changed job they were not notified of that as no change of sponsor was done at that moment due to a misunderstanding between my employer and myself. Now they made me sign the form ID468 and write a letter explaining why I did not notify Immigration about the previous change of job. My concern is: will my renovation process be affected? are there any chances to be rejected? will the process take much longer?

    Thank you so much!

    • The Visa Geeza

      18 Jun 2015 pm30 3:39pm

      Usually, the ID468 rectifies the previous breach of conditions of stay so long as it’s a single occasion. ImmD prefer to look forward not backwards if the breach resulted from an honest misunderstanding. There’s always a chnance it will be rejected but experience suggests you will be fine.

  • Loretta

    25 Feb 2015 am28 11:43am

    My son was born in Canada in 1979. he moved to HK in 2012 to find a job. as both his dad and myself were born in HK, i expected that he would be granted the permanent residency in HK. he was granted only temporary residency in 2014. was this a mistake on the part of the immigration office?

    also recently I learned from the newspapers that HK government is granting permanent residency for overseas young people with professional skills. may I know if this rule still exists? my son is a chartered accountant. is he elligible to apply for the PR?

    • The Visa Geeza

      25 Feb 2015 pm28 2:05pm

      Likely not a mistake> If you were settled abroad at the time of his birth and he acquired Canadian nationality at the time of his birth he would not get right of abode he should have received right to land). As for the new programme, please see: (again, not PR).


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