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Home > Topical Issues > General Information on Right of Abode in HKSAR > 4. Who can enjoy the Right of Abode in the HKSAR?

Topical Issues

4. Who can enjoy the Right of Abode in the HKSAR?

Under the Immigration Ordinance, a person who belongs to one of the following categories of persons is a permanent resident of the HKSAR and enjoys the ROA in the HKSAR :

a. A Chinese citizen born in Hong Kong before or after the establishment of the HKSAR
b. A Chinese citizen who has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than seven years before or after the establishment of the HKSAR.

c. A person of Chinese nationality born outside Hong Kong before or after the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to a parent who, at the time of birth of that person, was a Chinese citizen falling within category (a) or (b).
* A person's ROA by virtue of his being a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this category can only be exercised upon the establishment of his status as such a permanent resident by his holding of -
  • a valid travel document issued to him and of a valid certificate of entitlement also issued to him and affixed to such travel document;
  • a valid HKSAR passport issued to him; or
  • a valid permanent identity card issued to him.
d. A person not of Chinese nationality who has entered Hong Kong with a valid travel document, has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than seven years and has taken Hong Kong as his place of permanent residence before or after the establishment of the HKSAR.

* The continuous period of seven years ordinary residence must be immediately before the date when the person applies to the Director of Immigration for the status of a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this category.

* The person is required to make a declaration in the form the Director of Immigration stipulates that he has taken Hong Kong as his place of permanent residence. If the person is under the age of 21 years, the declaration must be made by one of his parents or by a legal guardian. For this purpose, the person will have to furnish information to satisfy the Director of Immigration that he has taken Hong Kong as his place of permanent residence. The information may include whether he has habitual residence in Hong Kong; whether the principal members of his family (spouse and minor children) are in Hong Kong; whether he has a reasonable means of income to support himself and his family; whether he has paid his taxes in accordance with the law.

* A person claiming to have the status of a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this category does not have the status of a permanent resident in the HKSAR until he has applied to the Director of Immigration and the application has been approved by the Director of Immigration.

e. A person under 21 years of age born in Hong Kong to a parent who is a permanent resident of the HKSAR in category (d) before or after the establishment of the HKSAR if at the time of his birth or at any later time before he attains 21 years of age, one of his parents has the ROA in Hong Kong.

* The person on attaining the age of 21 years ceases to be a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this category. He may, however, apply to the Director of Immigration for the status of a permanent resident of the HKSAR under category (d) at any time.

f. A person other than those residents in categories (a) to (e), who, before the establishment of the HKSAR, had the ROA in Hong Kong only.

* The person is required to furnish information that the Director of Immigration may reasonably require to determine whether that person had the ROA only in Hong Kong immediately before the establishment of the HKSAR.

* The person is required to make a declaration that he had the ROA only in Hong Kong immediately before the establishment of the HKSAR.

* If the person is under the age of 21 years, the declaration must be made by one of his parents or by a legal guardian.

* A person under 21 years of age born in Hong Kong on or after 1 July 1997 to a parent who is a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this category at the time of the birth of the person is taken to have the status of a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this category if the person has, but for this provision, no ROA in any place including Hong Kong.

* The person on attaining the age of 21 years ceases to be a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this category. He may, however, apply to the Director of Immigration for the status of a permanent resident of the HKSAR under category (d) at any time.

Note : See Part 1 for the meaning of "Chinese citizen","settled" and "ordinary residence".


Eligibility for the ROA in the HKSAR - Flowchart


Transitional Arrangements

Chinese Citizens

A person who is a Chinese citizen and was a Hong Kong permanent resident immediately before 1 July 1997 under the Immigration Ordinance as then in force shall, as from 1 July 1997, be a permanent resident of the HKSAR as long as he remains a Chinese citizen.

Non-Chinese Citizens

A person who is not of Chinese nationality and who was a permanent resident of Hong Kong before 1 July 1997 is taken to be a permanent resident of the HKSAR under this part, category (d) and exempt from the requirements under the second and third bullets in category (d), this part if -

* he was settled in Hong Kong immediately before 1 July 1997;
* after he ceased to be settled in Hong Kong immediately before 1 July 1997 he returns to settle in Hong Kong within the period of 18 months commencing on 1 July 1997; or
* after he ceased to be settled in Hong Kong immediately before 1 July 1997 he returns to settle in Hong Kong after the period of 18 months commencing on 1 July 1997 but only if he has been absent from Hong Kong for a continuous period of less than 36 months.

Transitional Arrangements - Flowchart

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