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Hong Kong Unconditional Stay – A Practical Guide (Business Immigration To Hong Kong)

March 10th, 2024

Posted in Long Stay & PR, Musing, Resource, The Hong Kong Visa Geeza /


In this post, I talk about  the Hong Kong unconditional stay and when it might be useful to you.

Hong Kong unconditional stay plays a lesser yet still important role in immigration status to acquire in the HKSAR today…

On March 21, 2014 I gave a presentation at the Chinese Club entitled Business Immigration to Hong Kong – A Practical Guide. The information stays relevant today.

The unconditional stay covers the instances where a long-stay foreign national resident is in a position to make an application for the Right of Abode but they genuinely cannot put their hand on their heart and say that they’ve taken Hong Kong as their only place of Permanent Residence and, in that instance, because of the fact that one of the application forms the ROP146 calls for that declaration, if you can’t make that declaration you can’t get the Right of Abode; however, what you can do instead of getting the Right of Abode is making an application for unconditional stay and essentially it’s the same test for approval – seven years continuous ordinary residence in Hong Kong, and if you can satisfy that test but you can’t make the Declaration then you can have your stays adjusted to unconditional stay.

The unconditional stay relieves you of all the limits to your existing residence in Hong Kong so there’s no imposition on the limit of stay and what you can do whilst you hold unconditional stay, so this is a really useful immigration status.

Before a case that was settled at the end of the 90s, the unconditional stay application was a pre-requisite for obtaining the Right of Abode, but the Supreme Court said this is not constitutional because you’re allowing the director of immigration the ability to roadblock somebody’s potential to want to get the Right of Abode; so now there’s no requirement to get unconditional stay first, you can go directly to the Right of Abode the test for approval is exactly the same as for the unconditional stay.

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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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