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Work Visa Hong Kong | Overstay | Your Step-by-Step Guide to Addressing the Problem

August 30th, 2023

Posted in Employment Visas /


Have You Accidently Overstayed Your Work Visa Hong Kong Recently?

Here’s what to do to solve the problem in a hurry … hint don’t delay 

work visa hong kong overstay


I overstayed my work visa Hong Kong. Help!

I terminated my employment in Hong Kong at the beginning of June. After searching for work, I eventually found a job offer in Hong Kong to start in August. I believed everything was going smoothly until I went to sort out my work visa application on June 30th.

To my surprise, they informed me that my previous work visa had expired on May 24th. I was shocked because I had forgotten to check the status of my old visa amidst the job transition. However, I had failed to verify this myself. I take full responsibility for this mistake.

My new employer advised me to immediately go to Immigration, present myself, submit my new visa application with sincere apologies, and explain the situation.

I followed their advice, but the Officer at Immigration scolded me and threatened imprisonment. I had to write a letter to the Director of Immigration detailing what had occurred. After completing these steps, the Officer informed me that the process was finished for the day and that they would send a letter to my company in 4-6 weeks.

They allowed me to leave with my passport and Hong Kong ID Card, and I received a card in my passport with an application reference.

I am uncertain about what comes next. They did not stamp my passport to enable me to leave and return as a Visitor, so I am currently in Hong Kong with no valid visa. I am concerned that if my work visa is rejected or if I am stopped in the meantime, I could potentially be imprisoned for overstaying.

My new company does not seem worried, either because they do not care or they are unaware of the situation. They support me and want me to work for them, but their involvement ends there.

Given your experience, what do you think may happen now? How can I find out more information?

What steps can I take to protect myself?


I. Act Quickly

  • Explanation of the importance of addressing the overstay issue properly

II. Acknowledge the Situation

  • Discussion of the first step in addressing an overstay situation

III. Seek Professional Advice

IV. Understand the Potential Consequences

  • Overview of the potential negative consequences of overstaying a Hong Kong work visa

V. Cooperate with the Immigration Department

  • Discussion of the importance of cooperating fully with the Immigration Department and providing requested documentation promptly

VI. Await the Outcome

  • Explanation of what to expect while awaiting a decision on a new visa application

VII. Communicate with Your New Employer

  • Discussion of the importance of being transparent with a new employer about overstay circumstances

VIII. Leaving Temporarily


Based on the information provided, it seems that you have unintentionally overstayed your Hong Kong employment visa and are now in a difficult situation. It is important to address this issue properly to avoid any negative consequences. Here are some steps you can take and information you should know:

1. Acknowledge the situation

It is commendable that you have recognized your mistake and taken the correct step of applying for a new work visa. Understanding the gravity of the situation is crucial in finding a solution.

2. Seek professional advice

Given the complexity of your case, it is highly recommended to consult with a professional immigration advisor or lawyer who specializes in Hong Kong visa matters. They will be able to provide you with accurate and personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances. Needless to say, contact the Hong Kong Visa Centre first.

3. Understand the potential consequences

Overstaying your visa can have serious implications, including being banned from entering Hong Kong in the future, facing fines, or even imprisonment. It is important to be aware of these potential consequences and take appropriate action to rectify the situation.

4. Cooperate with the Immigration Department

You have already taken the first step by presenting yourself to the Immigration Department and explaining your situation. It is crucial to cooperate fully with them and provide any requested documentation or information promptly. This will demonstrate your willingness to rectify the situation and comply with the immigration regulations.

5. Await the outcome

After submitting your new visa application and explaining your circumstances, the Immigration Department will review your case. They will send a letter to your company within 4-6 weeks, informing them of the outcome. It is important to be patient during this waiting period and refrain from any further violations of immigration regulations.

6. Communicate with your new employer

It is essential to keep your new employer informed about the situation and the progress of your visa application. They should be aware of the potential risks and be supportive of your efforts to resolve the issue. Maintaining open communication will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and can work together to find a solution.

7. In case you want to leave temporarily

While waiting for the outcome of your work visa application, you may want to leave for a few days. Contact the officer tasked with your substantive employment visa application and explain you’d like to travel outside of Hong Kong while you await the outcome of your application. He will likely give you a Departure Memo which will clear you for departure when you’re ready to leave. When you come back to Hong Kong you will either enter as a visitor, if your new employment status has not yet been approved or as an employee, if your application has been finalized while you were travelling and your QR code Approval letter has been issued.

You got lucky with the overstay part even if the Immigration Department huffed and puffed a bit. The worst is behind you now and it should all be pretty much routine from hereon in.


Addressing the problem of your work visa Hong Kong overstay. Listen to the audio version of the answer given above.

work visa hong kong overstay


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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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