First of all, to become Hong Kong resident, you must need a reason. For me the reason was my husband P. who comes from Hong Kong. We lived in Dubai and decided to quit our jobs there to settle down in Hong Kong. As I’m Polish, we did consider moving to Poland, but Hong Kong seemed easier, as it’s more international.
Now, we moved to Hong Kong in April 2017 and got married. We went to Marriage Registry in Shatin to sign the papers. We both have big families, but only our moms were present and one more person from our family (the one who owns the best camera).
To become Hong Kong resident, you need two things: visa and HK ID.
Visa I applied for was called Dependant Visa. You can get it if you’re partner or family of another Hong Kong resident. From last year, those visas are granted also for same-sex married couples. Your sponsor has to prove that they can support you. They need to show proof of employment or bank statement with sufficient amount. At the time I applied, we were still unemployed and looking for a job. The trick here is to add explanation letters to show you’re actively looking for a job. That worked for me. The whole process takes 4-6 weeks, unless there are some documents missing. They would then contact you after this time to bring more documents.
After you get the visa, you need to get your HK ID. It’s easier to apply for and you don’t need many documents. You get it after a week or two. They take your fingerprints and take a photo. Before you can collect the real thing, you get a temporary ID in form of paper booklet with all you details and your HK ID number.
Having visa and your HK ID makes you officially a Hong Kong resident. But there are few more things you need to be a real Hong Kong person.
The thing you would use the most, no matter if you plan on using public transportation or drive, is Octopus card. It can be used for MTR, buses, green mini buses, as well as for paying car park, buying snacks in 7-11 or supermarkets. You can use it to get soy milk from vending machines, or to do your laundry in self-service laundromat.
Your mobile phone should be equipped with some basic applications to make your life in HK easier:
- OpenRice – application listing all restaurants, cafes and bars and categorising them in different groups, depending on cuisine and location. It’s extremely helpful and full of photos and menus you can check beforehand.
- WhatsaApp – messenger app that seems rather obvious for most, but not so popular in some countries, like Poland for example. At least when I left Poland in 2014 none of my friends were using it. Facebook messenger was way more popular.
- PayMe – application for transferring money to other people’s account. Online banking in Hong Kong is a bit different than in other countries. To be able to transfer money to other people you have to activate some special service. Otherwise the only transfers you can do are to pay your bills. PayMe lets you transfer money to your friends by only using their phone numbers.
- MyObservatory – application from Hong Kong Weather Observatory. You can get notifications about warnings in force. That means knowing when you don’t have to go to work. Hong Kong weather might get a bit crazy and with Typhoon Signal 8 or more and Black Rainstorm Signal, all office workers are excused from work and can stay at home for the day.
- Google Maps – the most accurate way to find your way around the city. No need to get any of those bus or MTR applications.
- Tao Bao – for cheap shopping from China.
- All the bank applications – for me that means Hang Sang or HSBC.
Once you get all the above points, you’re ready to start your life as a Hong Kong resident.
Let me know if you have anything to add, any comments to thing I wrote above or if you wish to correct anything.