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New visa renewal arrangements announced for visa holders outside Hong Kong

Good News for visa holders outside Hong Kong who are looking to apply for visa renewals, as the Immigration Department recently announced that special arrangements will be made to accommodate the pandemic situation

The Hong Kong Immigration Department recently made an announcement in relation to special arrangements made for visa holders outside Hong Kong who are looking to apply for a visa renewal, in order to accommodate the pandemic situation.

Before such special arrangements were adopted, persons admitted into Hong Kong under various immigration policies/schemes could apply for extensions of stay or make visa renewal applications with the Hong Kong Immigration Department within four weeks before their limit of stay were due to expire, however, applicants were required to be physically present in Hong Kong both at the time of applications and for collection of the relevant labels.

Given the recent changes of policy, if:-

  • a visa holder is outside Hong Kong, where his/her limit of stay is due to expire within four weeks OR where his/her limit of stay has expired for less than 12 months; and
  • he/she is not able to return to Hong Kong in time to make a visa renewal application due to the pandemic;

then, this person may still apply for a visa renewal even he/she is outside Hong Kong at the time the application is made.

The documents to be submitted include:- (i) a Form ID91; and (ii) a letter setting out the detailed reasons on his/her inability to return to Hong Kong.

If the Hong Kong Immigration Department is minded to grant such a visa renewal application, a visa/entry permit will be issued and the applicant shall be required to return to Hong Kong within the validity period stated on his/her visa/entry permit.

These new arrangements do not apply to domestic helpers or imported workers. Also, they do not apply to applications for Hong Kong Permanent Residency which still strictly requires applicants to be physically present in Hong Kong when submitting their applications. For more information, please contact our lawyers John McLellan at

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