Do I need a Hong Kong visa?
Well, that depends where you come from. If you’re a typical Westerner, you will probably not need to get a Hong Kong visa, but you will need one if you wish to travel to Mainland China!
The regulations depend on where you’re from, but travellers from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia and many other countries can all stay in Hong Kong for up to 90 days without getting a visa. British citizens can remain for as much as 180 days.
Generally speaking, Hong Kong is a pretty open place with a lot of people passing through, and they don’t strive to make it awkward for people to pass through customs. However, they do have issues with large numbers of illegal immigrants coming here from the rest of China, as well as poorer countries like Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines.
So some nationalities may need to get a tourist visa, and it also depends on how long you plan to stay. You can get the full details of the visa rules for your particular country at the Hong Kong immigration department.
Other parts of China
The authorities in Macau have similar rules, and most travellers do not need a visa to visit. The rules for going to Taiwan are a little more strict, but most travellers do not need a visa for visits of less than 30 days.
If you’d like to visit other destinations in what’s called Mainland China, such as Sichuan, the rules are more rigorous. To visit the Mainland, you need to get your visa beforehand from your local Chinese embassy or consulate. You will almost certainly need a visa although there are some rare exceptions.
The price varies quite widely, but expect to pay the equivalent of a few hundred HKD per person. Moreover, there are three different types of visas for one, two or a limitless number of entries into the country, respectively.
The smoothest way to do this is through your local embassy, but if you’re in town for several working days it’s possible to get a Chinese visa in Hong Kong as well. The office is in the China Resources Building on 26 Harbour Road in Wanchai.
Other types of Hong Kong visa
If you’re looking for a non-tourist Hong Kong visa, like a normal working visa, I recommend looking through the immigration department website as they (and every other government agency) always have information in English.
The most common way of getting a working visa is probably to first get a job with a company who want to employ you in Hong Kong, so that they can sponsor the application. This process is pretty simple. But if you’re going here to look for a job, it might be helpful to have a visa already. It might work in your favour to save the company some money and hassle.
Particularly if you’re young and highly educated, you might be able to qualify for a working visa through the “Quality Migrant Scheme”. This is mainly a point system where you should be able to get in if you have enough. However, you can also qualify for the Quality Migrant Scheme if you have accomplished somethingreally spectacular like winning an Olympic medals or a Nobel Prize.
There are also other methods! If you can afford it, one way of getting in is to simply buy your way. Hong Kong will generally grant you a visa if you invest a certain sum of money. I believe it’s currently around 6 million HKD. If that seems out of reach, maybe you could just marry a local?
There are lots of visa agencies that would be glad to help you sort out all your Hong Kong visa needs, for a fee.