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International Relocation for Expats in Hong Kong

Submitted: August 2013

As exciting as the prospect of moving to a new location is, when it comes to the actual move, there are few who look with excitement at packing boxes, dealing with immigration authorities and filling out numerous forms. It can indeed be a wearisome process dealing with bureaucracy in two states and trying to arrange everything on time.

Therefore, to ensure that your move is enjoyable after all, you will either have to discover your love for planning or hire a specialised relocation company to assist you. If you decide for the former, you will find that our Expat Briefing articles and forums provide helpful guidelines on starting your new life in Hong Kong. It is a good idea to do your research well in advance and draw up a checklist of things that need to be arranged.

Relocation companies

If, however, you would like a helping hand, it is a good idea to opt for a relocation company.  Most of these companies are more than just mere shipment companies. While they do also organise the move of your personal and household items, they often also offer guidance on administrative procedures during and after relocation and assist with immigration issues, housing searches, and sometimes even job applications. However, as the array of offered services and the applicable prices vary greatly from company to company, it is crucial to do thorough research before committing to one. In this respect, online reviews and expat forums can be a valuable resource.

Below are a few examples of companies offering relocation services for expats moving to Hong Kong:

Moving your belongings

If you are planning your relocation yourself, you will have to decide how to best send your items to Hong Kong. Most airline companies will only allow one or two pieces of personal luggage. Sending items via post or express delivery services such as DHL or UPS is only recommendable for lesser quantities. For larger quantities it is best to choose one of the specialised shipment companies and opt for a good insurance.

In addition to the relocation companies mentioned above, which also organise shipments, you might want to consider the following specialised shipment companies:

Note that in general, you are allowed to bring your personal possessions and household items to Hong Kong tax free, except for items which are generally restricted from importation and goods which are always subject to excise duties. For detailed information, have a look at the Hong Kong Customs Website under Prohibited Items and Dutiable Commodities. There are no restrictions on the amount of local or foreign currency that you bring into Hong Kong.

On how to relocate to Hong Kong with pets see Relocation with Families and Pets for Expats in Hong Kong.

Importing your vehicle

If you wish to relocate to Hong Kong with your car, you will be pleased to hear that personal vehicles are generally not subject to import tax. However, you will be required to lodge an initial import declaration with the Customs authority within 14 days of bringing the vehicle to Hong Kong. Additionally, you will have to submit an Import Return (CED336) and Declaration Form CED 336A to the Customs and Excise Department within 30 days of import. The Customs authority will then issue a ‘Notification of Motor Vehicle Provisional Taxable Value’ which you will need for your first registration.

To register your car in Hong Kong, you will have to prove that your car meets the safety and environment standards. In this respect, it is advisable to apply for an ‘Environment-Friendly Private Car Certificate’ from the Environmental Protection Department prior to your move already. Furthermore, once you have completed the Customs procedure mentioned above, you will also have to approach a vehicle examination centre for a safety check. Upon successfully passing the vehicle examination, your car will have to be registered with the Hong Kong Licensing Office of Transport Department and you will need to pay the applicable First Registration Tax.

Please note that you are generally only allowed to bring right-hand drive vehicles into Hong Kong. If you wish to bring a left-hand drive vehicle, you will have to contact the Customs and Excise Department in advance.

For further information on importing vehicles see the Guidelines for Importation and Registration prepared by the Hong Kong Transport Department and the Customs and Excise Department article on Importing Vehicles. To read more on driving in Hong Kong see Driving and Public Transport for Expats.



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