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A Guide to Applying for Investment Visa for Entrepreneurs

If you’re a foreigner looking to start a company in Hong Kong or join a startup here, you might be exploring different types of visas that will help in your mission. One of these visas would be an Investment Visa. It’s granted for 1 year with a possibility for renewal and allows you to move to Hong Kong with your spouse and dependent children younger than 18. Let’s find out more about the processes and fees.

What is the Investment Visa in Hong Kong?

Investment Visa - also known as Entrepreneur Visa - is a special visa scheme designed for foreign entrepreneurs or business owners who:

  1. Want to relocate to Hong Kong to start a new business as a sole proprietor
  2. Or join an existing one as a partner

Investment Visa is similar to other work visas, but it is made specifically for people who want to run a business in Hong Kong. With an investment visa, your spouse and dependent children under 18 can move to Hong Kong and live in the city with you. The visa is good for 1 year, though it is renewable.

To get an Investment Visa, you’ll need to prove you have a viable business plan, enough funding to make it a reality, and a sufficient skillset.

Who Can Apply for an Investment Visa?

If you meet these requirements, you can apply.

  1. You have never committed any serious crimes in the past and Hong Kong authorities have no security-related objections against you;
  2. You are not a national of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Nepal or Vietnam, or a Chinese resident of the Mainland of China. Chinese nationals are eligible if they have been residing outside of Mainland China / Hong Kong / Macau for at least 1 year immediately before applying and submitting the application from overseas.

What Documents Do I Have To Prepare To Apply for an Investment Visa?

What the Hong Kong authorities care about is if your business will be able to contribute to the economic growth of Hong Kong and its industries. They will be assessing if your experience, skills and funds are sufficient to make it happen.

So depending on your situation, whether you’re establishing a new business or you’re joining an existing company as a director or shareholder, you’ll need to demonstrate the following:

You establish a new business You join an existing business
1
  • Proof that your first academic degree (usually your undergraduate degree) is relevant to this business
  • If you don’t have the above, Hong Kong authorities might accept documents that prove good technical qualifications, professional abilities and/or relevant experience and achievements
2 A 2-year business plan that states the nature of your business, market analysis & positioning, business direction, sales targets, product marketing strategy etc.
3 A 2-year forecast of the profit-and-loss account statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet
4 An anticipated business turnover If you are running a relevant business overseas or want to join a Hong Kong company as a partner, you’ll need to submit the profit-and-loss account statement and balance sheet that show this company’s business turnover and profit in the previous year
5 Statements of your personal and company bank accounts in the previous year
6 Proof of other sources of funding
7 The company’s latest audited financial report (if any) to show that you have sufficient financial resources to run the proposed business in Hong Kong and also support the smooth operation and sustainable growth of this business
8 Documentary proof showing the amount of capital investment in Hong Kong
9 Number and level of jobs created locally and organizational structure of the company
10 Introduction of new skills and/or patents (if applicable)

This list is not exhaustive so you can present other documents relevant to your situation. Also, there is no minimum sum of investment; however, keep in mind that you should have enough funds to back up the launch and initial growth of your business.

You can also apply for an Investment Visa if you want to join or establish a startup in Hong Kong as a partner.

However, here are the requirements:

  1. The startup needs to be supported by a government-backed programme with a rigorous vetting and selection process; AND
  2. You should be its owner or partner. You can also apply for this visa if you’re a key researcher of the relevant project in a startup that’s already operating.

You can find more details on eligibility and necessary documents on the official website of the Hong Kong Immigration Department.

How Do I Apply for an Investment Visa?

There are 2 methods to apply for this visa:

  1. Incorporate a company in Hong Kong or invest in one before applying for a Visa.
  2. Find a local sponsor.

Incorporate A Company in Hong Kong

To incorporate a company in Hong Kong, we explain more about it in another article here.

Local Sponsor

A local sponsor is someone who will be responsible for your repatriation from Hong Kong if something goes wrong.

A “sponsor” could be either a Hong Kong resident or a Hong Kong-registered company.

Here are the details of the sponsor’s eligibility and what documents they need to submit:

If a sponsor is a company If a sponsor is a person
Sponsor eligibility There are no specific requirements for a company.
  1. Aged 18 or older
  2. A Hong Kong resident who is acquainted with the applicant
Documents needed
  1. Form ID 999B: Application for Entry for Investment as Entrepreneurs (Sponsor) in Hong Kong
  2. Photocopy of Business Registration Certificate
  1. Form ID 999B: Application for Entry for Investment as Entrepreneurs (Sponsor) in Hong Kong (form ID 999B)
  2. Photocopy of the sponsor's Hong Kong identity card
  3. Photocopy of the sponsor's valid travel document containing personal particulars, date of issue, date of expiry, and the latest arrival stamp/landing slip/extension of stay label in Hong Kong (for non-permanent residents of Hong Kong only)

Step 1: Prepare and Submit the Relevant Documents and Forms

  1. Application for Entry for Investment as Entrepreneurs in Hong Kong (form ID 999A);
  2. Your recent photo (affixed on page 2 of the application form ID 999A);
  3. Photocopy of your valid travel document containing personal particulars, date of issue, date of expiry and/or details of any re-entry visa held (if applicable). If you are staying in Hong Kong at the time of application, submit a photocopy of your travel document page containing the latest arrival stamp/landing slip/extension of stay label in Hong Kong;
  4. Photocopy of your Hong Kong identity card (if any);
  5. Photocopy of proof of academic qualifications and relevant work experience;
  6. Photocopy of proof of your financial standing (e.g. bank statements);
  7. Photocopy of the company's employment contract with you, or letter of appointment containing information about your post, salary, other fringe benefits and employment periods (if applicable);
  8. Detailed 2-year investment plan which contains details of proposed business activities, amount of investment, creation of local job posts, setting up of an office/showroom/warehouse, etc.;
  9. Proof of company’s business activities such as a photocopy of contracts, invoices or proof of business deals under negotiation (if applicable);
  10. Photocopy of proof of the company’s financial standing (e.g. latest audited financial report, trading profit and loss account, or profits tax return);
  11. Documents with details of company background such as business activities, mode of operation, background/connection of company, product ranges, sources and markets, membership of chamber of commerce (if any) etc. (supported with catalogues, brochures, etc) - if you have invested in Hong Kong;
  12. Photocopy of tenancy agreements/supporting documents on office set-up;
  13. Proof of posts created for local employees such as a photocopy of records of monthly contributions to Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme (if applicable);
  14. Photocopy of Business Registration Certificate and business registration particulars (if you have invested in Hong Kong);
  15. Photocopy of documents filed with the Companies Registry such as Certificate of Incorporation / latest annual return / Incorporation Form (Company Limited by Shares) / Memorandum of Association / Articles of Association;
  16. Photocopy of licences or certificates for the operation of the business (e.g. relevant licences for financial institutions issued by the Securities and Futures Commission) (if applicable);
  17. A letter indicating valid support by a government-backed programme if you wish to establish or join a startup;
  18. Photocopy of your Macao identity card, if you are a resident in Macao;
  19. Photocopy of your household registration in Taiwan and Taiwan identity card, if you’re resident in Taiwan;
  20. Photocopy of proof of your overseas residence, such as a photocopy of official documents showing your condition of stay and limit of stay endorsed by overseas authorities (if you’re a Chinese national residing overseas).

NOTE

Please note that all documents should be in English or Chinese or accompanied by a certified English/Chinese translation.

If you want to relocate with a spouse and/or dependent children, you will need more supporting documents in your application.

You can find a full list here, under the tab “Supporting documents”.

Immigration Department Screenshot

Step 2: Mail the Documents Directly or via Your Sponsor

You can mail them directly to the Hong Kong Immigration Department OR submit them in person to your nearest Chinese diplomatic/consular mission OR submit them to relevant government bodies in Beijing or Shanghai if you’re resident in Mainland China. Check this page for addresses and details.

Step 3: Pay the Fees

Depending on your way of document submission. See full details here. You can also check how much you’ll need to pay at this table.

While Waiting for Your Application To Be Processed

Your application will usually take around 4 weeks. While waiting, set up your company for efficiency by having your other documents taken care of by engaging a corporate secretary who will file required documents online. Our company secretaries keep track of filing deadlines for your company and your financial year-end.

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