How to apply a Hong Kong student visa?
It is important that you have the correct authorisation to enter Hong Kong to study, as is the case for any country one chooses to study in. Essentially, the most important documents you must have are:
· an acceptance letter from the university you have applied to
· your student visa/entry permit label
· a valid passport or travel document
Read further important documents or copies of documents you should have further below.
You have received your application letter
Once you receive an acceptance letter to the university of your choice, you must apply for a student visa/entry permit by completing an ID_995A form and submitting it to the university themselves. You can download it here amongst other places. You may also have to make a request for sponsorship from the university (you can send this when you reply with your acceptance form). Do this as soon as you receive your acceptance letter so you have as much time for your visa to be processed. This process can take upwards of two months, so start the process early (Hong Kong is becoming a more popular study destination each year). If you are under 18, a letter of consent must be included with your application, signed by your parents to verify that they are happy for you to study at that institution.
What your university does on your behalf
The university will complete the ID_995B form on your behalf. This is always completed by the sponsor, which is usually the university you’re enrolling at (this can be an individual in some cases). They will submit this to the Hong Kong immigration department, who will give them your student visa/entry permit label. When your university receives this, they will send it to you by special delivery mail (it may also be sent directly to you from the immigration department). This is another reason to begin this process sooner rather than later, to account for delays for this to arrive. You will need to show this visa/label at the border checkpoint when you disembark the plane in Hong Kong.
What you can/cannot do
For a long time, this visa/permit label did not permit students to work as part of paid employment. However, rules have been somewhat relaxed in the last few years so students can work on-campus provided it is less than 20 hours per week during term-time (students can work during the summer without any limitations). In both cases, verify this before you begin any employment whatsoever, rather than get into trouble later. You will have to prove beforehand that you can fund your studies by providing evidence of your current bank accounts.
If a student wishes to undertake an internship, this must be related to the subject of their study and be endorsed by the university they are enrolled at.
Other documents you may need for the visa process:
· a recent passport-sized photograph (multiple copies as they are useful for different purposes)
· a photocopy of your travel document in case it is lost
· parent or guardian’s letter of consent
· photocopies of proof of how you will fund your study e.g. bank statements, letter to notify of scholarship award etc.
· photocopy of your acceptance of their admission offer
You can view City University of Hong Kong’s interactive guide to the student visa application process here.