Immigration Department (Hong Kong) المصدر: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Department_(Hong_Kong)

Immigration Department
HK Immigration Logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed4 August 1961; 61 years ago (1961-08-04)[1]
JurisdictionHong Kong
HeadquartersImmigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Erick Tsang Kwok-wai, Director
WebsiteOfficial website
Immigration Department
Traditional Chinese入境事務處
Simplified Chinese入境事务处
Pre-handover Name
Traditional Chinese人民入境事務處
Simplified Chinese人民入境事务处

The Immigration Department of the Government of Hong Kong is responsible for immigration control of Hong Kong. After the People's Republic of China assumed sovereignty of the territory in July 1997, Hong Kong's immigration system remained largely unchanged from its British predecessor model. Residents from mainland China do not have the right of abode in Hong Kong, nor can they enter the territory freely, both before and after 1997. There are different regulations that apply to residents of Macau, another Special Administrative Region of China. In addition, visa-free entry acceptance regulations into Hong Kong for passport holders of some 170 countries remain unchanged before and after 1997.

In a special arrangement, although Hong Kong's residents of Chinese descent are defined as citizens of the People's Republic of China, as stipulated by the Basic Law, Hong Kong's Immigration Department is responsible for issuing Hong Kong SAR passports for Hong Kong residents who are also PRC citizens seeking international travel.


Flag of Immigration Department, 1988–1997.
Badge of Immigration Department, 1988–1997.

Prior to the 1950s, immigration to Hong Kong was not controlled by the government of Hong Kong and migrants freely entered Hong Kong. By the end of World War II, the influx of migrants from China to Hong Kong to flee Communist rule resulted in immigration control.

From 1949 to 1961, registration of persons with identification was required under the Registration of Persons Ordinance 1949 and established a Commissioner of Registration.

Until the establishment of Immigration Department on 4 August 1961, immigration control in Hong Kong was handled by the Hong Kong Police Force.[2] The Immigration Service Ordinance 1961 created the new department in charge of immigration control. Later in 1977, the department enlarged its functions to cover registration of persons by amalgamating with the Registration of Persons Office and Director of Immigration also assumed as Commissioner of Registration.[3] In 1979, the department took over from the Registrar General civil registration duties and the Director of Immigration was appointed as Registrar of Births and Deaths, and Registrar of Marriages.

In 2019, the department stopped allowing people to search birth or marital records without the consent of those being searched.[4]

The Department is headquartered in the Immigration Tower in Wan Chai North.


Castle Peak Bay Immigration Centre and Immigration Service Institute of Training and Development in Castle Peak Bay, Tuen Mun

The Department performs the following roles:

Directors of the Immigration Department (Since 1 July 1997)[edit]

Application for British National (Overseas) Passport[edit]

Prior to the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, the Immigration Department was responsible for processing BN(O) passport applications. After the handover, the UK Government then took over the issue of BN(O) passport.[6]


As with all of the HK Disciplined Services, British-pattern ranks and insignia continue to be utilised, the only change being the exchange of the St. Edward's Crown for the Bauhinia Flower crest post-1997. The ranks are listed below with their UK equivalences in brackets:

  • Director of Immigration (General)
  • Deputy Director of Immigration (Lieutenant-General)
  • Assistant Director of Immigration (Major-General)
  • Senior Principal Immigration Officer (Colonel)
  • Principal Immigration Officer (Lieutenant-Colonel)
  • Assistant Principal Immigration Officer (Major)
  • Chief Immigration Officer (Captain)
  • Senior Immigration Officer (Lieutenant with a silver bar beneath)
  • Immigration Officer (Lieutenant)
  • Immigration Officer (Probationary) (Second Lieutenant) (with effect from 19 April 2010)
  • Assistant Immigration Officer (Second Lieutenant) (discontinued in November 1998)
  • Chief Immigration Assistant (three silver bars)
  • Senior Immigration Assistant (two silver bars)
  • Immigration Assistant (silver bar)[7]

Visa delays and denials[edit]


In 2005, Ma Ying-jeou was denied a visa by the Immigration Department, despite being born in Hong Kong.[8]

In July 2020, TECO's highest officer in Hong Kong, Kao Ming-tsun, was not granted a renewal of his work visa by the Hong Kong government because he refused to sign a statement supporting the "One China" principle.[9] The Mainland Affairs Council of Taiwan mentioned that other government representatives in TECO had experienced major visa delays from the Hong Kong government as well.[9]


Since 2018, visas for some journalists have been declined by the Immigration Department, including New York Times journalist Chris Buckley and Hong Kong Free Press' incoming editor.[10] In March 2021, the Ombudsman of Hong Kong announced that the Immigration Department was placed under investigation due to the rejection of the visa for the Hong Kong Free Press' incoming editor.[10]

In November 2021, a journalist from The Economist was not granted a renewed visa.[11]


In February 2020, Elizabeth Ward, Australia's new Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macau, was unable to take up her post due to visa delays, which was attributed to political tensions between Australia and China.[12] In October, she was officially appointed.[13]

In September 2021, SCMP reported that the department denied visas to dozens of Cathay Pacific pilots.[14]

List of notable activists refused entry to Hong Kong[edit]

The department is also tasked with preventing visits by prominent human rights and democracy advocates, upon the direction of the mainland government.[15]

Name Time
Yang Jianli 2008; 2009; 2011; 2014[16][17]
Wang Dan January 2011[18]
Chen Wei-ting June 2014[19]
Benedict Rogers October 2017[20]
Chang Tieh-chih December 2017[21][22][23]
Victor Mallet November 2018[24]
Freddy Lim December 2018[25]
Albert del Rosario June 2019[26]
Feng Congde June 2019[27]
Dan Garrett September 2019[28][29]
Kenneth Roth January 2020[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Press Release". Archived from the original on 10 March 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Registration of Persons Department". Archived from the original on 3 July 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Press freedom fears as Hong Kong to tighten access to 2 official databases". South China Morning Post. 26 October 2021. Retrieved 26 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Hong Kong Travel Documents". Archived from the original on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  6. ^ "British national (overseas)". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 10 December 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Immigration Department Annual Report 2009-2010". Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  8. ^ "HK denial of visa to Taipei mayor may backfire". Financial Times. 5 January 2005. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Taiwan official leaves Hong Kong after refusing to sign 'One China' statement - report". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 17 July 2020. Archived from the original on 18 July 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Hong Kong's Ombudsman to investigate Immigration Dep't for denying a work visa to HKFP without reason". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 16 March 2021. Archived from the original on 16 March 2021. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  11. ^ Grundy, Tom (13 November 2021). "Hong Kong ousts Economist journalist Sue-Lin Wong without explanation, in latest blow to press freedom". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  12. ^ "Hong Kong delays visa approval for top Australian diplomat". Australian Financial Review. 1 April 2020. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Former Hong Kong-Australia free trade negotiator named top envoy to city". South China Morning Post. 4 October 2020. Archived from the original on 5 May 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  14. ^ "Hong Kong denies work visas to dozens of Cathay pilots seeking to relocate". South China Morning Post. 25 September 2021. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Why China's move to bar Human Rights Watch chief from Hong Kong was contrary to the city's Basic Law". Hong Kong Free Press. 14 January 2020. Archived from the original on 14 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  16. ^ "低調始放行 王丹屢被拒 | 蘋果日報". Apple Daily 蘋果日報 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  17. ^ "楊建利被拒入境香港參觀六四紀念館". BBC News 中文 (in Traditional Chinese). 20 April 2014. Archived from the original on 28 January 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  18. ^ "简讯:香港拒绝允许王丹入境". BBC News 中文 (in Traditional Chinese). 26 January 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Hong Kong Denies Entry to Taiwan Author Who Supported Pro-Democracy Movement". Radio Free Asia. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  20. ^ Lee, Danny (11 October 2017). "British human rights activist refused entry to Hong Kong". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  21. ^ Ng, Kang-chung; Leung, Christy (7 December 2017). "Taiwanese politics and culture commentator Chang Tieh-chih barred from entering Hong Kong". SCMP. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  22. ^ Tong, Elson; Cheng, Kris (6 December 2017). "Taiwanese writer Chang Tieh-chih says he was denied entry to Hong Kong". Hong Kong Free Press. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  23. ^ Miao, Zong-han; Chang, S.C. "Taiwan protests after culture official denied entry to Hong Kong". Focus Taiwan. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  24. ^ Lum, Alvin; Su, Xinqi; Sum, Lok-kei; Ng, Naomi. "British Journalist Victor Mallet denied entry to Hong Kong as tourist". SCMP. Archived from the original on 22 September 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  25. ^ Chan, Holmes (24 December 2018). "Hong Kong says pro-independence Taiwan band member barred as he lacks 'special skills, knowledge or experience'". Hong Kong Free Press. Archived from the original on 9 October 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  26. ^ "Ex-Filipino minister denied entry to HK: lawyer". RTHK. Archived from the original on 26 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Ex-Tiananmen leader denied entry into Hong Kong ahead of June 4". Hong Kong Economic Journal. Archived from the original on 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  28. ^ "Academic denied entry to HK after US testimony". RTHK. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  29. ^ "US academic denied Hong Kong entry after US Congress testimony". ABS-CBN News. Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  30. ^ 人權觀察執行長表示由紐約飛抵香港後被拒入境 Archived 14 January 2020 at the Wayback Machine. RTHK. 2020-1-13

Order of precedence[edit]

Preceded by Immigration Department (Hong Kong) since 1961 Succeeded by

External links[edit]