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Family Members and Marriage for Expats in Hong Kong

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: July 2013

Ideally, when you immigrate to another country, you are able to bring your partner and children with you at the same time. If this is not financially or otherwise possible, you may need to spend some time working in Hong Kong, and possibly sending money to your home country to help support your family. Once you have started to familiarise yourself with Hong Kong, and found some suitable family accommodation, and perhaps looked into schools and such things, you may find it easier to move the rest of your family into the territory.

You will need to hold a long-term visa (that is, an Employment, Investment, Study or Training visa) or have permanent residence if you want to move to Hong Kong at the same time as your spouse and/or children. You will also need to have money enough to support your family, and accommodation to house them.

A dependant visa will be required for each dependant person, that is, your spouse and any unmarried children who are under 18. The length of validity of dependant visas is the same as that of the main visa holder. Once they have dependant visas, your spouse and children are allowed to study, and may be allowed to work in Hong Kong, though employer sponsorship may be required. Permanent residents can also apply to bring parents over 60 to Hong Kong, if they are dependants too.

Long-term relationships or common law marriages are not recognised by the Immigration Department. To enable a long-term partner to enter Hong Kong, you will need to apply for a Pro-long Visitor visa. You will need to show evidence that the relationship has lasted for longer than six months. This is discretionary, so there is no guarantee that this visa application will be successful.

Hong Kong is a popular wedding destination in East Asia, and it is relatively easy and cheap to get married there. From most countries in the world, you do not need a visa for a short stay in Hong Kong, and the only documents you are certain to need are your passport and birth certificate.  If you are divorced or widowed, you will need to provide proof of this. Things are a little more complicated if you are between 16 and 21. You are still a minor according to the law, and will need your father’s written consent (failing this, your mother’s or guardian’s). If the person giving consent lives abroad, further documents may be required.

The first stage of registration of marriage is to apply for Notice of Marriage at the Hong Kong Marriage Registration Office. There is no need to be in Hong Kong to book an appointment for this, as you can do it online here:


The processing fee for this application is HK$305. Once your declaration to marry is recognised by the authorities, there is a the statutory waiting period of 17 days. As your Notice of Marriage registration is valid for three months, this gives you two months two weeks to finish all your planning and tie the knot.



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