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Hadley Says

Will Any Time You Spend in Hong Kong as a Visitor Count Towards the Magic 7 Years for the Right of Abode?

September 7th, 2012

Posted by / in Hadley Says…, Long Stay & PR / 24 responses


To get the Right of Abode in Hong Kong you need to:

Spend seven years continuously resident in the HKSAR

Have taken Hong Kong as your only place of permanent residence

Be obviously settled here, and

Have no outstanding taxation liabilities

Moreover, you need to have held a resident visa in all of that time, except for short periods when your immigration status was in a state of administrative flux.

This means that you can start counting the 7 years from when your first residence visa was issued through to the 7th year anniversary.

In that time, any short periods where you unexpectedly had to have a visitor visa  (say, if you were changing employers at the time your employment visa expired, or you had to leave Hong Kong temporarily and your visa expired while you were away) will not count against your ‘continuity of residence’ for the purposes of your permanent residency application.

But it is absolutely vital that you have a valid residence visa at the time you file your application for the Right of Abode AND at the time of its approval – otherwise you simply will not qualify.

More Stuff to Help You Along

10 Must Have Resources for a Successful Hong Kong Permanent Residency Application

Time Spent Outside of Hong Kong With Work – the Impact on Your Right of Abode After 7 Years

Do I Need to Work For the Same Employer for 7 Years to Get 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.

  • James

    10 Aug 2022 pm31 4:09pm


    I was on a working holiday visa for the first 10 months I believe before I changed over to a working visa. Will this count towards my PR?


    • The Visa Geeza

      4 Sep 2022 am30 11:19am

      Yes – as long as there was no break between your working holiday visa and the subsequent employment visa (they ran bacvk to back)

  • JC

    18 May 2020 am31 3:27am

    Hi, I’m an approaching my 7 years. Does the 7 years count from when you first get your working visa or from when you physically land (with a tourist visa) in Hong Kong?

    • The Visa Geeza

      20 May 2020 am31 9:32am

      When you land with your activated working visa. Visitor status does not count.

  • Melanie

    28 Nov 2018 am30 10:22am

    My employment visa expires 24th Dec this year. I am current unemployed and looking for a job. I have a trip planned for 10 days on January 1st. Can I leave Hong Kong and re-enter on a tourist visa before 24th Dec or does it have to happen on the visa expiry date? I already have a new passport, my valid visa sticker is in my old passport. Also, since I would be in HK on a tourist stamp then going on my trip in January and back again, well that affect my 7 year PR?

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 Nov 2018 am30 10:54am

      >>Can I leave Hong Kong and re-enter on a tourist visa before 24th Dec or does it have to happen on the visa expiry date?>>

      If you leave and come back before the 24th your visa will remain valid til the 24th. So you will need to leave on the 11 pm ferry to Macau on the 24th and return to HK on the 1 am ferry from Macau on the 25th. Take both passports with you when you travel. If you do not have the means to extend your employment condition of stay before the 24th and return as a visitor after that you will almost certainly break your continuity of ordinary residence for the purposes of PR. Time spent in HK on visitor condition is not ‘residence’ for the purposes of a RoA application.

      • Melanie

        29 Nov 2018 am30 1:30am

        Since I have a valid China visa, is it also possible to leave on the 24th to shenzhen and return to hk on 25th? Just want to confirm that I must do this process on those exact dates and I cannot enter hk on a tourist stamp before 24th because my visa will still be active?

        • The Visa Geeza

          29 Nov 2018 pm30 6:31pm

          SZN is fine. Yes – your employment permissions are valid right up to 23.59.59 on the 24th and you can’t otherwise divest yourself of them other than by passage of time or ImmD cancellation. ImmD don’t routinely cancel upon request.

  • Alam shi

    25 May 2018 am31 4:27am

    We are two friends come as a tourist in hongkong. Now is it possible to get employment visa. Or can we get business investment visa

    • The Visa Geeza

      28 May 2018 am31 8:36am

      You can apply while you’re physically in Hong Kong but you cannot use the fact of an application pending as a means to secure an extension to your visitor visas.

  • Iain McNair

    9 Nov 2012 pm30 10:41pm

    I have been resident in HK for 6 years and 2 months. First as dependent and now under non local graduates scheme. I have had a residence throughout this period, owned a property for part of the period (sold due to divorce). But I was studying in Beijing for 2 years during this time and returning to HK during holidays and at least every 2 months. I also have a child in HK who lives with my ex wife who visits me regularly. Will my period of residence only be deemed to start when I returned to HK in February 2011 and resecured an employment visa? Essentially, has the period I was travelling in and out on a tourist visa stopped my period of residence for Right of Abode purposes even though i was ordinarily resident under the plain English meaning. You may assume I have all necessary paperwork to show tenancies, bank details, tax returns etc.


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