Hong Kong is a strong economy that attracts start-ups from around the world. The country even has a special immigration scheme for foreign entrepreneurs. This is known as the Entry for Investment. This visa allows the visa holder to live and set up an independent business in Hong Kong. Here’s all you need to know about applying for this visa.
Hong Kong Startup Visa – Eligibility
Hong Kong start-up visa applicants do not need to make a minimum investment when applying for a start-up visa. However, the amount invested should be sufficient to cover the operational expenses for the first 3-6 months.
To be eligible for a start-up visa to Hong Kong, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- The applicant must not have a criminal record
- The applicant must have at least an undergraduate degree/ technical qualification in a relevant field or a proven track record in managing a business
- The applicant must prove that his/her business will generate employment
- The proposed business must be economically beneficial for Hong Kong
- The new business must be registered in Hong Kong
- The applicant must have the support of a Hong Kong citizen or local business
- The applicant must have the backing of a local recognized funding institution or a recognized government-backed program
Documents Required For A Hong Kong Startup Visa
Start-up visa applicants must be sponsored by a local citizen or company. Thus, the documentary proof required can be categorized into documents required from the applicant and those required from the sponsor. All documents must be in English or Chinese. In case the documents are in any other language, a certified translation must be made available.
Documents required from the applicant:
- Copy of the first and last page of the applicant’s passport
- Copy of the current Hong Kong identity card if applicable
- Copy of academic qualifications
- Copy of certificate showing relevant work experience
- Detailed 2-year business plan
- Copy of the Business Registration certificate from the Department of Inland Revenue
- Proof of overseas address
Documents required from individual sponsors:
- Copy of the sponsor’s identity card
- Copy of the first and last pages of the sponsor’s passport
Documents required from company sponsors:
- Copy of the sponsor’s Business Registration Certificate
Creating A Suitable Business Plan For A Hong Kong Startup Visa –
Putting together a detailed business plan is critical to getting a visa application accepted. The business plan must list out all the details of the proposed business and convince the authorities of it has a high chance of succeeding. The business plan must include:
- About the business: The business plan should talk about the product or service you want to develop and market through the new business. It should also include a market analysis, operational plan and proposal for how it will be administered and become profitable.
- Type of business: the business plan should mention the type of business, i.e., whether it will be a sole proprietorship, partnership firm, or limited liability company. The latter is considered the most appropriate.
- Capital investment: The business plan should mention the total amount invested and include documentary proof of the applicant’s financial standing. This could include bank statements, letters of credit, loan documents, etc.
- Business premises: The visa applicant’s business plan must mention the premises chosen for the business and show how they are suitable for the proposed business. For example, import/export businesses need warehousing space while tech companies need office space in cities.
How To Apply For A Hong Kong Startup Visa
The application form for a Hong Kong start-up visa is available online. It can be downloaded from here.
The completed application form and the supporting documents can be posted to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Processing time can range from 3 to 5 months.
If the application is accepted, the Immigration Department will issue the applicant a visa/entry permit label. This can be collected from the immigration office.
In case the applicant cannot pick up the visa in person, an authorized representative can collect it. This label must be affixed to a blank page in the applicant’s passport. The applicant may file an appeal with the Hong Kong Immigration office if the application is rejected.
Bring The Family Along
Start-up founders can bring their spouse and unmarried dependent children under the age of 18 years along to Hong Kong on a dependent visa. Once the start-up visa is approved, the applicant can apply for a dependent visa for each dependent family member they want to bring along. The dependent visa validity is linked to the validity of the start-up visa.
Hong Kong Startup Visa Renewal
The start-up visa is valid for an initial duration of 2 years. It may be further extended for another 2 years. At the end of the first extension, it may be extended again for another 3 years.
Applicants who live in Hong Kong for at least 7 years at a stretch can be eligible for permanent residency. This is known as the “Right of Abode” in Hong Kong.
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