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Can I Remain in Hong Kong as a Visitor After My Employment Visa Expires?

February 20th, 2023

Posted in Employment Visas, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza, Visitor Visas, Your Question Answered /


Simple question this one with an easy answer and indicative of the fact that, even though quite a straight forward issue, the information is not otherwise readily available anywhere else on the web.


I am a Canadian citizen, working in Hong Kong holding an employment visa for 7 weeks. I want to stay after my job is finished (work visa will expire at the same time) to see Hong Kong as a visitor, then travel to Macau and Thailand.

Do I need to have my visa changed from employment to visitor?

Thank you so much for your help.


At the time that your employment visa limit of stay is due to expire, if you don’t have the continuing rationale for remaining in Hong Kong as an employee because your contract has come to an end, in any event, it was just a short-term employment visa nonetheless.

Then for you to remain in Hong Kong as a visitor will not be problematic at all. But there will be a process that you need to go through in order to achieve this outcome. There are two ways to go about doing it. The first is to go down to the Immigration Department to the visitor extension section, wait probably three-quarters of a day and get yourself up to a maximum of possibly two-week visitor visa extension upon request of an immigration officer going through a visa extension process and they will readily grant you no doubt, a two-week extension to your present limit of stay converting you from an employment visa over to a visitor at that time.

So that should not be problematic at all but the real problem there, of course, is that it’s going to take a long time, it gets very busy and the visitor visa guys at the Immigration Department are under a lot of pressure. And you know they tend to be somewhat brusque in the way that they process such applicants, but you will get the extension so don’t worry about that.

Alternatively, and ideally what I would suggest that you do is on the final date of your current limit of stay as an employment visa holder, take in a sense the 11 o’clock evening ferry over to Macau. Arrive in Macao and come back from Macao into Hong Kong on the very next ferry which will bring you into Hong Kong on the next day – the day after your current limit of stay as an employment visa holder expires. And at the point of arrival, the immigration officer will only be able to grant you a visitor visa because that’s the only status that that will be open to you given that your employment visa will have expired the day before.

And as a Canadian national you will get a 90-day period of stay. And that’s the same for most Western nationalities such as most Europeans and also Americans for that matter. And at that point, you’ll be then granted the time that you need in Hong Kong to complete your final activities here as a visitor.

Okay, I hope this helps.

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The Hong Kong Visa Geeza (a.k.a Stephen Barnes) is a co-founder of the Hong Kong Visa Centre and author of the Hong Kong Visa Handbook. A law graduate of the London School of Economics, Stephen has been practicing Hong Kong immigration since 1993 and is widely acknowledged as the leading authority on business immigration matters here for the last 24 years.

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