Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes
|Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes|
The front cover of the Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes with its electronic document sign circled.
|Issued by||Hong Kong|
|Type of document||Travel document|
|Purpose||International travel document|
|Eligibility requirements||Residents of Hong Kong who are unable to obtain national passports|
|Hong Kong Document of Identity for Visa Purposes|
|Literal meaning||Hong Kong Special Administrative Region visa identity document|
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Document of Identity for Visa Purposes is a biometric travel document issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department to residents of Hong Kong who are unable to obtain national passports. It is usually valid for seven years. The majority are issued to citizens of the People's Republic of China who have migrated to Hong Kong on a One-way Permit, have lost their mainland hukou thus are unable to obtain a PRC passport, but have not resided in Hong Kong for the 7 years required to be eligible for a HKSAR passport. In 2009–2010, 54,554 Documents of Identity for Visa Purposes were issued.
The Document of Identity can be issued to the following categories of individuals who are connected with Hong Kong and who are unable to obtain a national passport or travel document from any other country:
- Those on a limit of stay in Hong Kong
- Those on unconditional stay (i.e. possess the right to land) who do not have the right of abode in Hong Kong
- Those who have the right of abode in Hong Kong and hold a permanent identity card, but are not of Chinese nationality or ineligible for Chinese nationality
As an international travel document, the Hong Kong Document of Identity may be used for entry into and exit from Hong Kong. However, since it is not a formal passport, there are certain restrictions. Few foreign countries and dependent territories which offer visa-free access to Hong Kong SAR passport holders confer the same privilege to holders of the Hong Kong SAR Document of Identity.
|Mainland China||Mainland Chinese authorities do NOT accept the DIs issued to Chinese citizens as a valid travel document to enter or transit through the Mainland China. The Ministry of Public Security is clear that Hong Kong residents must use a Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macau Residents to travel the mainland.|
|Macau||Hong Kong permanent residents may enter Macau for one year using their permanent ID regardless of their citizenship status. Hong Kong non-permanent residents who possesses a Document of Identity and a Hong Kong identity card may enter Macau for 30 days.|
|Taiwan||Holders of a Hong Kong Document of Identity are required to apply for an Entry and Exit Permit in advance.|
|In theory, recognised refugees and stateless individuals who possess a Hong Kong SAR Document of identity can enter Germany and Hungary visa-free for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. In the case of Germany, for recognised refugees to enter visa-free, their travel document must be endorsed and issued under the terms of the Agreement of 15 October 1946 regarding the issue of travel documents to refugees or the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951, whilst stateless individuals need to have their travel document issued under the terms of the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of 28 September 1954. However, though the People's Republic of China is a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, since the Handover in 1997, Hong Kong has not incorporated the convention into its legislation, and so Hong Kong's immigration system does not recognise refugees. Similarly, both the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong are not signatories to the 1954 Stateless Persons Convention. Consequently, in practice, the visa exemption to Germany does not apply to any holder of the HKSAR Document of Identity. However, Hong Kong stateless individuals do nonetheless qualify for a visa exemption to Hungary since the Hungarian government does not require their HKSAR Document of Identity to be issued under the terms of the 1954 Stateless Persons Convention.|
|If the holder of a Document of Identity is a school pupil who is an Annex I national (i.e. he/she is required to possess a visa for all stays in Schengen agreement states), he/she can enter Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Sweden visa-free by virtue of Article 4(2) as long as they are travelling as part of a school trip led by a school teacher for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. For entry into Sweden, the school pupil must be less than 18 years old. This visa exemption applies equally to any Annex I national (e.g. a Chinese citizen who holds a PRC passport) who is resident in Hong Kong who satisfies the above conditions. Note, however, that this visa exemption for school pupils does not apply to the holder of a Document of Identity if he/she is stateless, since he/she would not fulfill the criteria of being the national of an Annex I country.|
Since some holders of the Hong Kong SAR Document of Identity are not Chinese citizens (the majority are new immigrants from other parts of China to Hong Kong and have been unable to obtain an ordinary Chinese passport), they are not entitled to the consular protection offered by the People's Republic of China government while overseas. However, Chinese foreign missions are able to assist should a Document of Identity become lost or stolen whilst abroad.
- Immigration Department: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Document of Identity for Visa Purposes
- Justice Centre Hong Kong: New System for Protection Claims in Hong Kong