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#Startup101: Visa Application

The Hong Kong startup scene is booming, if you want to be a part of it, whether to start your own business or to work in a startup as a talent, you will need a visa, which can be complicated sometimes. We are glad to share LCCS's article to help you get a better idea of how to get this done.

This article originally appeared on LCCS, see the original post here.

Besides a foreign domestic helper visa, student visa and dependent visa, you have two options: an investment visa or employment visa. By definition, an investment visa is for entrepreneurs who wish to establish or join in business in Hong Kong. Whereas an employment visa allows a person to be employed in Hong Kong as a professional.

Unless your initial investment is significant, an employment visa is considered easier to obtain, but it implies that you are employed by the company (i.e. you have an employment contract, payslips, payment of salaries, retirement plan, etc.). Moreover, for an investment visa, you need a Hong Kong resident sponsor whom you are acquainted with, which as a foreigner you may have difficulty finding. Finally, even if you apply for an investment visa, the Immigration Department may requalify your application for an employment visa.

According to the Immigration Department they normally take four weeks to process an employment or investment visa application upon receipt of all the required documents. Nonetheless, we frequently observed that the delay can easily be about 6 or even more weeks depending on the complexity of the case. Last but not least, please be aware that all applications are processed by the Immigration Department and accordingly, final approval is determined by them alone.


Local staff hiring is not required, but you will have to provide a feasible and serious business plan for both an investment and employment visa to the immigration department with your application. It is advisable to include in your business plan, details of local job opportunities the company will create, and actually intend to hire local staff for, in the future.


Hong Kong residents or persons who have been admitted for investment or employment may sponsor the application of a dependant visa for their spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18. Application for a dependant visa can take the Immigration Department up to six weeks to process upon receipt of all required documents.


  • Standard fee: HKD 15,000

(Includes provision of a draft business plan and review of its final version)

*W Hub resources: Get 50% Discount on incorporation fees now! Check out more great resources at

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