Hong Kong as a Visitor

Simple question this one with an easy answer and indicative of the fact that, even though quite a straight forward issue, the information is not otherwise readily available anywhere else on the web.

QUESTION

I am a Canadian citizen, working in Hong Kong holding an employment visa for 7 weeks. I want to stay after my job is finished (work visa will expire at the same time) to see Hong Kong, then travel to Macau and Thailand.

Do I need to have my visa changed from employment to visitor?

Thank you so much for your help.

ANSWER

At the time that your employment visa limit of stay is due to expire, if you don’t have the continuing rationale for remaining in Hong Kong as an employee, because your contract has come to an end and in any event, it was just a short term employment visa;nonetheless then, for you to remain in Hong Kong as a visitor will not be problematic at all, but there will be a process that you need to go through in order to achieve this outcome.

There are two ways to go about doing it. The first is to go down to the Immigration Department to the visitor extension section, wait probably three quarters of a day, and get yourself up to a maximum of possibly two week visitor visa extension upon request of an immigration officer going through the visa extension process, and they will readily grant you, no doubt, a two week extension to your present limit of stay, converting you from an employment visa holder to a visitor at that time.

So that should not be problematic at all. The real problem there, of course, is that even it’s going to take a long time, it gets very busy. And the visitor visa guys at the Immigration Department are  under a lot of pressure and they tend to be somewhat brusque in the way that they process such applicants. But you will get the extension, so don’t worry about that.

Alternatively, and ideally, what I would suggest that you do is – on the final date of your current limit of stay as an employment visa holder, take in a sense the 11:00 evening ferry over to Macau. Arrive in Macau and come back from Macau into Hong Kong on the very next ferry, which will bring you into Hong Kong on the next day, the day after your current limit to stay as an employment visa holder expires.

And at the point of arrival, the immigration officer will only be able to grant you a visitor visa because that’s the only status that will be open to you, given that your employment visa will have expired the day before. And as a Canadian national, you will get a 90 day period of stay; and that’s the same for most western nationalities, such as most Europeans and also Americans for that matter. And, at that point, you’ll be then granted the time that you need in Hong Kong to complete your final activities here as a visitor. Okay, I hope this helps.

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