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Can you visit HK while employment visa is pending??

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Hong Kong Island
    Posts
    12

    Question Can you visit HK while employment visa is pending??

    Hi geo expatters

    Got a question with regards to visiting Hong Kong whilst applying for an employment visa.

    Is it possible for a British national currently living outside of Hong Kong, who obtains a job offer to work in Hong Kong and applies for an employment visa before entering Hong Kong, to enter Hong Kong as a visitor (being british visa free) then change the immigration status to an employment visa upon it being granted by the immigration dept. ?

    The person wouldn't be working prior to the employment visa being granted but want to know if its OK to visit and stay in hong kong while the application is in progress


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Hong Kong SAR China
    Posts
    1,853

    Yes it's possible, and is what most people did before the pandemic. The only issue is that you need to exit and re-enter HK in order to activate the visa. Some people have been allowed to activate in-town but others haven't.

    Opsy likes this.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Posts
    1,028
    Quote Originally Posted by aw451:
    Yes it's possible, and is what most people did before the pandemic. The only issue is that you need to exit and re-enter HK in order to activate the visa. Some people have been allowed to activate in-town but others haven't.
    Which for the avoidance of doubt means flying out and in and 7 days of quarantine! The old approach used to be to jump on a ferry to macau and do a day trip but of course that's not an option right now. See if you can get a conversation with your visa case officer and get something in writing about in town activation. Practically this just means them putting a stamp on the visa in your passport and logging it in the system.

    There is no earthly reason for them to say no other than the sheer robotic mindlessness that goes on here (until someone asks the dreaded question of “Why?”)
    aw451, Opsy, shri and 1 others like this.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Hong Kong Island
    Posts
    12

    Thanks guys. That's what I thought but unsurprisingly there's no clear information on the immd website. Also there's no reason why immigration can't activate the employment visa at the tower, like you say, you just have to try and request it on the basis of avoiding unnecessary quarantine


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2021
    Posts
    337
    Quote Originally Posted by Opsy:
    Thanks guys. That's what I thought but unsurprisingly there's no clear information on the immd website. Also there's no reason why immigration can't activate the employment visa at the tower, like you say, you just have to try and request it on the basis of avoiding unnecessary quarantine
    You can ask the immd for special permission to activate the visa without leaving HK, citing the pandemic as your reason.
    Opsy likes this.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2022
    Posts
    1

    Hi Opsy,

    I am in a similar situation to you (except that I am already in Hong Kong on a visitor visa).

    Though you may have already gathered from the above responses that the option to have your GEP Visa 'activated' at the immigration tower is available, I have been advised by very risk-adverse people in HR to be prepared for a 'no' on the day of issuing the GEP visa.

    For what it's worth, if you are adamant on coming to Hong Kong early, you might want to consider your options to 'exit and re-enter' Hong Kong through a border control point. Apart from returning to the UK, you might be able to make a quick trip to Singapore (as of time of posting, quarantine-free travel provided you meet their vaccination requirements) before returning to Hong Kong and undergoing the 7-day quarantine.

    Fingers-crossed and all the best.