Frequently Asked Questions

In view of a considerable number of Hong Kong people settle or live/study in the UK, this Office receives enquiries from time to time concerning the Smart ID Card Replacement Exercise and the Hong Kong SAR passport. The following frequently asked questions and answers have therefore been prepared. New topics may be added in the future if the number of enquiries received warrant so.

Frequently asked questions on the HKSAR passport. Further information can be found at: http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/traveldoc/ and http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/faq.htm.

If you have a question that is not covered here, please inquire to: Immigration Department, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong SAR; Fax no. (852) 2877 7711; E-mail: enquiry@immd.gov.hk

How to apply

Do I need to go back to HK to apply for the SAR passport?

If you are not in the HKSAR but wish to apply for a HKSAR passport, you may submit your application through the Chinese embassy/consulate-general. Your application will be referred to the HKSAR Immigration Department for processing and the prepared passport will be forwarded to the Chinese embassy/consulate-general for issue. You may also submit your application to the HKSAR Immigration Department directly by post but if you choose to submit your application in such a way, you will be required to collect your passport in person at the HKSAR Immigration Department with the originals of the supporting documents.

Can I apply for it in the UK? Where and how? Can it be done by post? Can I do it through the London Economic and Trade Office (ETO)?

You may submit your application by post or in person to the nearest Chinese embassy/consulate-general. Your application will be referred to the HKSAR Immigration Department for processing and the prepared passport will be forwarded to the Chinese embassy/consulate-general for issue.

ETO offices do not handle application for HKSAR passport.

I live far away from London (e.g. Glasgow). Do I have to apply for an SAR passport through the Chinese Embassy in London? Can I do it through the Chinese Consulate in Scotland?

You may approach the nearest Chinese embassy/consulate-general to submit the application for a HKSAR passport. Chinese embassy/consulate-general addresses can be viewed at this website:
http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/embassy.htm

How long does it take for an application to come through? (The Government's notes for guidance do not specify whether the timeframe of 4-6 weeks applies to overseas applicants.)

For overseas application: Under normal circumstances, if you already have a Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card, the processing time will be about 4-6 weeks. It will take about 6-8 weeks for processing a HKSAR passport application if you have no Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card. The time for forwarding the application and dispatching the prepared passport is excluded.

Where should I send the completed application?

Through Chinese embassy/consulate-general

You may submit your application by post or in person to the nearest Chinese embassy/consulate-general. Your application will be forwarded to the HKSAR Immigration Department for processing. The prepared passport will be sent back to the Chinese embassy/consulate-general for issue.

Direct to the HKSAR Immigration Department

You may also submit your application by sending the completed application form and the passport fee direct to the HKSAR Immigration Department together with photocopies of the supporting documents. You are required to collect your passport in person at the HKSAR Immigration Department with the originals of the supporting documents.

How much does an application cost?

The passport fee is payable at the time of application. For an overseas application, you are also required to pay an additional charge for the delivery of the passport. The collection of fees does not constitute any assurance that the passport applied for will be issued.

You should enclose with your application a cheque or bank draft made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" in HKSAR currency or US dollars. The cheque or bank draft should be drawn on a bank in HKSAR. If the cheque or bank draft is not drawn on a bank in HKSAR or not in HKSAR currency, a bank handling charge is required. You may also furnish the name and contact address of a local sponsor to pay the fees on your behalf upon receipt of notification from the HKSAR Immigration Department. Please see the up-to-date fees in the fees notice ID852.

Where can I collect the passport? Do I need to collect it in person?

If you submit your application to the Chinese embassy/consulate-general by post, you are required to collect your passport in person and produce the originals of the supporting documents enclosed with your application for verification.

If you submit your application direct to the HKSAR Immigration Department by post, you are required to collect your passport in person at the HKSAR Immigration Department with the originals of the supporting documents enclosed with your application for verification.

If you are requesting a replacement passport, your previous HKSAR passport should be produced for cancellation upon collection of the new passport. If you previously held a Certificate of Identity or Document of Identity, you should also produce the travel document for cancellation.

If I do the application in person in HK, can I delegate someone to collect the passport for me?

If you submit the application in person in HK, you will be given a card/letter notifying you of the date and office for collection of your passport. You may authorize a representative to do it on your behalf and the authorized person must be over the age of 18 and has to produce his/her HK identity card for identification. The authorization for collection of passport must be in writing, the signature in the authorization must be the same as that signed by the applicant on the application form.

Eligibility for HKSAR passport:

I am of Chinese descent. I hold a British Citizen passport and also a HK Permanent Resident ID card. Am I eligible for the SAR passport? Do I need to give up my British Citizen passport for the SAR passport?

You are eligible to apply for a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport if (a) you are a Chinese citizen; (b) you are a permanent resident of the HKSAR; and (c) you are a holder of a valid Hong Kong permanent identity card.

Generally speaking, according to "the Interpretation of Chinese Nationality Law when applying in the HKSAR" passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the Chinese Government on 15 May 1996, you will be regarded as a Chinese citizen if (i) you are a Hong Kong resident of Chinese descent and were born in the Chinese territories (including Hong Kong), and (ii) you have not made a declaration of change of nationality at the HKSAR Immigration Department. If you remain as a Chinese citizen, your foreign passport will be regarded in Hong Kong and other parts of China as a travel document only and you are eligible to apply for a HKSAR passport.

For details, please refer to "Explanations of some questions by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress concerning the Implementation of the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China in the HKSAR at website:
http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/chnnationality_2.htm

To determine whether a person born abroad who is of Chinese descent has Chinese nationality, Article 5 of the Chinese Nationality Law applies.

For detailed information on Chinese Nationality Law, you may browse the website:
http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/chnnationality_1.htm

Is it possible to hold both BNO passport & SAR passport concurrently?

Yes.

I am not of Chinese descent but I have a HKID card. I want to move to HK to live there permanently with my HK wife of Chinese descent. Am I eligible for SAR passport?

A person who is a Chinese citizen and holder of a permanent identity card, will be eligible to apply for a HKSAR passport.

Non-Chinese citizens who want to obtain a HKSAR passport may consider becoming naturalized as Chinese Nationals. Foreign nationals or stateless persons who are willing to abide by China's Constitution and laws and who meet one of the following conditions may be naturalized upon approval of their applications:

Any person who applies for naturalization as a Chinese national shall acquire Chinese nationality upon approval of his application. A person whose application for naturalization as a Chinese national has been approved shall not retain any foreign nationality. For details, please browse to the following websites:

http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/chnnationality_4.htm

http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/chnnationality.htm

Top

Frequently asked questions on the Smart ID card

Call up periods:

How can I find out the timetable for my age group?

The territory-wide ID card replacement exercise began in Hong Kong on 18 August 2003 and is expected to last four years. All residents of Hong Kong are required to replace their ID cards according to their year of birth at the Smart Identity Card Centre of their choice. The year of birth of those required to replace their cards and the period during which they must do so, are published in the newspapers, announced on radio and television, and posted on the smart ID card website: http//www.smartid.gov.hk.

To check out who falls into the current and next call-up phase, please visit Smart Identity card website.

Similar information is available at the smart identity card website:
http://www.smartid.gov.hk/en/replace/index.html#02

How to apply:

Do I have to apply in person in HK? Can I apply here in the UK?

At the time of ID registration under the territory-wide ID card replacement exercise, the applicant is required to attend IN PERSON for photo and thumb-print taking by special equipment designed for the Smart Identity Card System.

I can apply for SAR passport in UK, why can't I do the same and apply here for Smart ID card?

Answer is same to Q 2.

If I do not return to HK in the foreseeable future, can I still apply for it next time when I am back - even though it may be many years later?

Those who are absent from Hong Kong and cannot have their identity cards replaced during the specified call-up period should apply at the Smart Identity Card Centres within 30 days of their return to Hong Kong. There is no need for them to rush back.

Similar information is available at the smart identity card website:
http://www.smartid.gov.hk/en/replace/outside_hk.html

If I can't do the application within 30 days when I am in HK, what will be the consequence?

It is important for you to get your new card in time. Failure to do so without reasonable excuse may constitute an offence.

By the time the call-up period is over and the target applicants should have acquired the new smart ID cards, their existing ID cards will be declared invalid. Again, detailed announcements will be made.

Similar information is available at the smart identity card website:
http://www.smartid.gov.hk/en/replace/index.html#03

Can I do it earlier than my call-up period?

No. Early application before the call up phase is not accepted.

It is mentioned in the leaflet that 'In addition to the required documents, they (HK residents overseas) should bring along supporting proof showing the period of their absence from Hong Kong'. What kinds of supporting proof are acceptable?

In addition to their existing identity cards and documents required for application, they should bring along proof of their absence e.g. overseas country's entry and exit endorsement, return plane ticket, boarding pass, employment proof, school reports etc.. Those who are not permanent residents must also produce their travel documents showing their current residential status in Hong Kong.

Eligibility:

Does the HK government use the Smart ID to re-assess our status as HK permanent resident? If I can't complete the application within my call-up period or I can't go back to HK in a very long time to do it, will I lose my HK permanent resident status?

As long as you remain as a Chinese citizen (e.g. you do not declare change of nationality), you will not lose your status as a permanent resident even if you are absent from Hong Kong for long periods.

For non-Chinese citizen, please watch out that if you have been absent from Hong Kong for a continuous period of more than 36 months since you ceased to have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong, you may lose your status as a permanent resident. For 'circumstances under which a permanent resident of the HKSAR will lose his permanent resident status', please access to
http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/faq.htm#q14.

After my children and I get our Smart ID cards, do we need to go back to HK every 3 years to re-confirm our HK permanent resident status?

As long as you remain as a Chinese citizen (e.g. you do not declare change of nationality), you will not lose your status as a permanent resident even if you are absent from Hong Kong for long periods.

For non-Chinese citizen, please watch out that if you have been absent from Hong Kong for a continuous period of more than 36 months since you ceased to have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong, you may lose your status as a permanent resident. For 'circumstances under which a permanent resident of the HKSAR will lose his permanent resident status', please access to
http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/faq.htm#q14.

Do I have to bring birth certificates of my children to HK to prove their eligibility for Smart ID card?

If your child was born in Hong Kong with Hong Kong birth certificate, you may browse to the following website to obtain the relevant information, especially the documents required for registration for a Hong Kong Juvenile Identity Card: http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/hkid_b18.htm