Expats who arrive in Hong Kong for work on a relevant visa are required to register for a Hong Kong ID card. The ID card identifies its holder as either a legal non-permanent or permanent resident in Hong Kong. Therefore, once you have received this ID, also referred to as “smart card,” you will need to bring it with you at all times.
And while getting a Hong Kong ID card is mandatory for all residents aged 11 or older, the process is relatively easy and straightforward to do. As the smart card is embedded with an electronic chip, it can also be used for faster travel clearance through the card holder’s thumbprint information, and even to access public establishments such as city libraries.
Applying for a Hong Kong ID Card
Upon arrival in the city on a valid visa for work or a stay for more than six (6) months, you will need to register for a Hong Kong ID card within 30 days. Those who are only in the country for a short trip or vacation do not need to apply for an ID card, though.
To begin your Smart ID registration, you will only need to provide:
- A valid travel document (i.e. your passport); and
- Your visa
Having these documents naturally proves that you have legally entered the country and are allowed to stay here for a certain period of time.
Note: Children between 11 and 17 are required to provide a copy of their birth certificate.
How to Apply
Smart ID card applications are done at any Registration of Persons Office in Hong Kong. But to make the process even more convenient, you can download and pre-fill the Application form for the Hong Kong Identity Card. Also, to avoid long queues and long waiting time, it’s advisable to book an appointment online.
Note: You will not be charged any fee when you register for a Hong Kong ID Card for the first time. You will only be asked to pay a fee when you apply for a replacement card or if you wish to update or change some information in your personal data.
Typically, your Smart ID card will be ready for collection within ten (10) working days from the date of your submission. The exact date of collection will also be specified on your Acknowledgement of Application for an Identity Card. Appointment for the collection of IDs is not necessary for as long as you claim the document on the specified date and present your acknowledgment document at the office. You may also appoint an authorized representative in the event that you cannot collect the card in person.
By year-end the government will be rolling out a new smart ID card for all of its residents, and there will be a scheme as to who can file an application and when to file the requirements. Failure to comply will hold the person responsible for a fine of up to HKD 5,000. You can read more about this update HERE.
Also you can check with the Hong Kong Immigration Department for more details.