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Relocating to Hong Kong: 5 Things You Should Know

Moving to Hong Kong is a thrilling experience full of limitless opportunities, but like any major relocation, it requires some careful planning and thought. There are a number of important factors you should be aware of if you’re thinking of relocating to this energetic city in order to ensure a seamless transfer and a pleasant stay. We’ll go over five things you need to know when moving to Hong Kong in this article.

Visa Matters in Hong Kong

You must arrange for your visa before you travel to Hong Kong. The length of your visa-free stay may vary based on your passport, however most foreign nationals require a working visa in order to engage in lawful employment in the city. Your company can sponsor and assist with the visa application process if you are not qualified for the “Right of Abode” or “Right to Land” visas. This procedure might take six to eight weeks.

A sizable portion of the student body at most international schools will be foreigners. Students may be of any nationality, including local citizenship, but only those with valid visas are permitted to enrol. Tourist or visitor visas are not typically permitted. Foreign students will normally have a dependent visa based on their parents’ employment visa. If the child is over 11 years of age, they should also have acquired a Hong Kong identity card.

Getting a Hong Kong ID Card and Octopus Card

The indispensable Octopus card in Hong Kong, often referred to as a debit-style card, finds its primary usage in public transportation, parking facilities, and vending machines. However, it is versatile and can also be utilised for purchasing everyday items such as groceries, coffee, and paying bills. These cards can be conveniently acquired and recharged at frequently visited locations like MTR stations, 7-Eleven branches, and Starbucks outlets. Additionally, you have the option to opt for an automatic credit top-up feature to ensure you never deplete your balance.

Everyone in Hong Kong aged eleven or over must hold a valid Hong Kong ID card, which is an essential part of daily life. Not only does it serve as your identification, but it also functions as an Octopus card, making it a versatile and convenient way to pay for public transportation, parking, groceries, and other everyday expenses. It can also grant you quick immigration access via the e-channel at Hong Kong International Airport and Macau.

It is highly recommended to start your application within 30 days of arriving if you want to stay in Hong Kong for a length of time more than six months. It is also advisable to make an online booking in advance in order to expedite the procedure and guarantee that you get an appointment. The Immigration Office often experiences high demand, and a mere walk-in may not guarantee you an appointment. Comprehensive information about the application procedure, as well as the locations of the five processing offices (Hong Kong, Kowloon, Kwun Tong, Fo Tan, Yuen Long), can be accessed on the Immigration Department’s official website. As you prepare for your appointment, don’t forget to bring along your passport, a valid visa, and a completed application form.

Banking in Hong Kong

There are several banks in Hong Kong that provide different services such as current and savings accounts, time deposits, and credit/debit cards. HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank, Hang Seng, and Bank of China are a few of the well-known banks. Feel free to explore the rising number of virtual banks if you’re in the market for higher interest rates and modern services. To open an account, you’ll typically need your official ID (passport or HKID card), a valid visa, and proof of address.

Hong Kong Healthcare System

The public healthcare system in Hong Kong is affordable and accessible. The government provides public services at low cost for all residents, including expats. Private health insurance is an option for those wanting more extensive coverage. All you need to be eligible is a valid visa and a Hong Kong ID card.

Multilingual staff is one reason why some expats opt for private health insurance in Hong Kong. It also helps them cut waiting times and guarantee a service-oriented attitude. Whether they are giving birth or going to a routine doctor’s appointment, those with private insurance will find themselves in some of Hong Kong’s best hospitals that feel a lot like five-star hotels.

The one area where you will need private insurance is dental care. Except in extreme emergency cases, only students and civil servants get free dental care.

Finding Hong Kong International Schools

Your relocation strategy should include finding the ideal school. Numerous educational alternatives are available in Hong Kong, including local kindergartens and elementary schools, as well as international schools. Enrolling your child as soon as possible will put you in a strong position to find a space for them. To find the best match for your child’s educational requirements, research the school’s reputation, extracurricular offerings, and curriculum. Particularly popular with expat families are international schools, which provide a variety of courses and a bilingual atmosphere.

The five elements detailed above are crucial for a seamless transfer to Hong Kong, but it’s also worthwhile to consider additional factors like hiring domestic assistance, picking the ideal neighbourhood, joining exclusive clubs, and learning about the pet-friendly culture. Hong Kong offers a unique blend of rich culture, modern amenities, and career opportunities. Prepare well, and you’ll be able to fully enjoy all that this incredible city has to offer. Your journey in Hong Kong is bound to be an exciting one, filled with new experiences, personal growth, and unforgettable memories. 

All new parents and children are warmly welcomed to Harrow International School Hong Kong, which aims to provide a home away from home in the pulsating city of Hong Kong. At Harrow International School Hong Kong, we are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment where each pupil can reach their potential. Harrow has a long history of academic success and a diverse, global community. You and your family will immediately feel at home and integrate into the thriving Harrow community thanks to the School’s dedication to establishing a sense of belonging and support for newcomers.

Welcome to the Fragrant Harbour!