Application for a Hong Kong Work Visa

It's been a while since I moved from Russia to Hong Kong to work here as a software engineer. The whole process includes quite a lot of steps, starting from interviews, visa application process, accomodations in Hong Kong and so on, but in this blog post I want to clarify just one of them - application for a work visa.

To apply for a visa you don't have to go anywhere, you just need to collect all required documents and send copies to your employer. After that, the company will add its own list of documents and send them by mail to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. This makes the process quite easy.

List of Required Documents

Here is the list of documents I had to prepare from my side:

- 1 x passport photograph;

- 1 x first page from the passport with personal details;

- 1 x photocopy of transcript of academic records;

- N x photocopy of proof of academic qualifications and relevant working experience;

- 1 x completed ID990A form;

- 1 x signed employment contract;

Passport Photograph

I used the official site of the Immigration Department to understand their requirements. One good page that is not exactly related to a visa application, but served as a good reference for me, is Photo Requirements for Travel Document. You don't even have to print it, as you'll send a copy to your employer by email.

Personal Details from Passport

This one is the easiest one:

passport personal details for hong kong employment permit

Photocopy of Transcript of Academic Records

I got my diploma in Ukraine, so, I had to translate it from Ukrainian to English. If you need to translate yours from any language to English, ensure that it will not only be translated, but also signed and verified by a lawyer. I found a company that did it in one business day and it cost me only ~$35. Here is the copy of mine to serve as a reference:

diploma original

diploma translation

diploma translator

diploma verification

Photocopy of Proof of Academic Qualifications and Relevant Working Experience

This one is quite important and not only for your visa application. Try to collect employment references at the time you leave your current job, not after a few years, it will make your life easier and help you in the future with your new job interviews.

The format of a reference I used is deadly simple, here are just a few samples:

reference from 4devs

One more important point here is proof of your academic qualitifactions, if you have them. In my case, I just added a MongoDB certificate from 10gen:

certificate from 10gen: mongodb

Application for Entry for Employment as Professionals in Hong Kong (ID 990A)

Please download the latest form from the official site of the Immigration Department. Pay attention and complete the form carefully. The way you need to fill it out depends on different circumstances, for example: you're going alone or with a family, maybe you have dependants and so on. In my case, I was going to Hong Kong alone, so I only had to fill 4 first pages. Here is the sample:

Page #1 (personal details) notes:

If it's your first visa application, then you don't have a Hong Kong identity card yet, so just leave it empty.

id990a first page filled out example

Page #2 (address & dependants) notes:

Proposed date of entry - use your job contract to fill it in;

Proposed duration of stay - double-check it with your contract. If it's a permanent role, just follow my sample. If it's a fixed job contract, use the specified end date.

id990a filled out page 2

Page #3 (qualification) notes:

On this page you just need to specify your academic qualification and employment records. I specified my MongoDB certificate here, as well.

id990a - academic qualification and work experience

Page #4 (declaration) notes:

Nothing special, really :)

id990a - entry description


The process is quite simple and took me only 2 days to prepare all of the required documents and only because I had to translate my diploma. After you collect all required documents and your employer sends them to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, it will take a while to get a response. In my case, it took 6 weeks. It means that you need to plan your trip to Hong Kong in advance, buy airline tickets and so on. When your visa is ready, your employer will receive a notice, and you'll have to pick it up and activate it, but this is a topic for another blog post.