1. The documented wanderings of Bea. Mostly to let her family and friends back home know she’s still alive, but partly so she can remember herself. 
How I Got My HK Passport Without Living There for 7 Years!

How I Got My HK Passport Without Living There for 7 Years!

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6 min read

Were you told that you had to live in HK for 7 years?

Or that you’d need to visit HK every 3 years to maintain your status?

Yeah, me too…

…but I didn’t have to do either.

This is how I got my HKSAR passport. Maybe you can too!

Get Your HK Identity Card 香港永久性居民身份證

Okay, so I’m assuming that you already have your HK ID card.

Because you need it in order to even think about getting your HK passport.

BUT do you have the right one?

That’s right – there are 2 different types!

Two Types of Identity Card

There’s a normal one and a permanent one.

What’s the difference?

Well, the permanent one has “Permanent Identity Card” written on the front, and has “the right to abode in Hong Kong” written on the back. This is the one that you need in order to get the HK passport!

Looks like this: 


The normal one doesn’t.

3 Stars vs 1 Star

Also, here’s the low down about the whole 3-stars and 1-star thing.

*** does NOT mean you’re permanent.

It’s more for indicating age –  * is for a child and *** means you’re over 18.

Here’s a breakdown of what every part of the ID card means!

hk-id-card-explained hk-id-card-legend-explanation

HK ID Eligibility

According to the HK Immigration Government website, there are 6 categories of people who are eligible for an HK ID.

These 6 sub-categories are listed under 2 main categories.

Chinese National

1 – Born in HK

2 – Lived in HK for 7+ years

3 – Born outside of HK to a parent who is either 1a or 1b (that’s me!)

Non-Chinese National

4 – Declare HK place of permanent residence for last 7+ years

5 – Born in HK to a parent who has permanent residence in HK (must be under 21 at time of application)

6 – Everyone else that falls outside of the 5 categories listed above must meet specific conditions.

I’ve extremely simplified these 6 categories based on my interpretation, which may be incorrect, so read the actual webpage here.

Still unsure if you have ROA (Right to Abode) in HK?

Check out this not very good looking, but official flowchart. I took it directly from their site.


How to Apply for HK ID Card

Literally, follow these instructions here

Here’s a quick summary though:

  1. Fill out the right form

    There are 4 different ones, pick the one that most applies to your situation. For most people, it’s probably Form ROP169

  2. Bring supporting documents with you to the immigration office.

    This depends on your situation, see here.

    Typically, it’s some sort of proof that you have ties to HK – either birth certificate (your or your parents) or proof that you’ve been living in HK for last 7 years.

  3. Apply with 1 of 3 ways:
    1. Snail Mail (not recommended)
    2. Online Application (most convenient)
    3. In-person (Good option if you’re already in HK)

      Just drop off your documents at one of their immigration offices – there’s an actual drop-off box = no line up!

Cost of HK ID Card

It’s FREE!

Only pay when you lost it and need a replacement.


After you submit it, you’ll have to wait up to 6 weeks to hear back by mail to see if you were successful or not.

Sidenote: I haven’t gotten my updated HK ID card yet. I don’t THINK it costs anything since the government is the one who is telling us to upgrade it…can anyone verify for me?

Need more help?

Read their FAQs here

Want to pick up the phone or email someone?

  • Immigration e-Services Hotline at (852) 3128 8668 between 7am and 11pm daily.
  • For general enquiries, please call (852) 2824 6111, fax (852) 2877 7711 or send email to [enquiry @ immd. gov. hk] 

Remember, you need the PERMANENT HK Identity Card in order to get your passport.

That means that if you weren’t born there yourself, then at least one of your parents need to be born in HK and have some sort of HK government-issued ID.

I’m lucky that my dad was born in HK and he helped me register for my HK permanent ID back in 2009…so my memory of this particular process is quite fuzzy.

Apply for HK Passport 香港特區護照

Why get HK passport when I have a Canadian one already?

Well, 1) both HK and Canada allow dual citizenship, so why not? 2) I can get another ID – why not? And 3) I can travel to more visa-exempt countries 🙂

Once you get the PERMANENT ID card, it’s quite easy and straightforward.

Double Check Eligibility

According to the HK Government Immigration website, a person is eligible to apply for a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Passport if he/she is:

  • a Chinese citizen;
  • a permanent resident of the HKSAR; and
  • a holder of a valid Hong Kong permanent identity card.

With your new HK permanent ID card, you should fit all 3 criteria. 

Fill Out Application & Prepare Supporting Documents

Here’s Form ID 841. This application form is literally one page.

If you already have the permanent HK ID card, then there’s not much you need to bring with you besides:

  • Your HK Permanent ID
  • Money for passport photos and application fee  
  • 40 mm(W) x 50 mm(H) Photo
    • Better yet, get it done there while you’re waiting – they need exact sizes
    • For 60 HKD you get 4 pictures, you only need one though
  • The completed application form above (printed out)


Book Appointment

You have 3 options:

  1. Book an appointment with immigration online
  2. just show up and wait in line, OR
  3. use one of the self-service kiosks (only for 18 years or older)

I booked an appointment online but got there early, grabbed a number and waited a bit. Then I thought to myself…why not try using one of the kiosks?!

So I did.

It was a bit finicky, but I somehow was able to complete the application, so I ain’t complaining. I did see a few people who just gave up after trying a few times – must have been user error??

I finished my application before my number was even called, and went straight to pay!


Cost of HKSAR Passport

It’s cheap compared to a Canadian passport.

It was only 370 HKD for a 32-page passport. That’s only $80 CAD – that’s cheap for a 10-year passport!

Processing Time

10 business days to hear back via mail, but I think mine was processed faster. #HKEfficiency

I got a letter in the mail telling me when and where to pick up my passport.

Authorize Someone to Collect Your HK Passport

Note that if you don’t drop off, then you NEED to pick up yourself. You got to show up at least once, so they can verify that it’s you.

Fill out Form ID 678 and give it to the person that will collect your new passport. They’ll need to show immigration this completed form.

I tasked my mom with this big responsibility as I was frolicking around in Taiwan.  

And that’s it!

Easy peasy, right?

Need more help?

FAQ here.

Contact details (same as above!)

  • Immigration e-Services Hotline at (852) 3128 8668 between 7am and 11pm daily
  • For general enquiries, please call (852) 2824 6111, fax (852) 2877 7711, or email to

Return Home Permit 回鄉證

So the next step for me is to get the Return Home Permit, so I don’t need to stand in the foreigner line or even need to get a visa to go into China again!

My only worry is that I’d have to give up my Canadian citizenship in order to get the Return Home Permit. That naturally is not ideal or even worth it to me…

Will update after I actually get it 🙂

Update Nov 2019: Did not have to give up anything but there were a few loops to jump through. Learn more to fast track your Home Return Permit application here!

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