If you are a Chinese citizen who is permanently residing in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)—and if you have the official Hong Kong government-issued Hong Kong Identity Card (HKIC) to prove it—then you are eligible for a Hong Kong passport. The Hong Kong passport is valid for a maximum period of ten (10) years for adults aged 17 and up; passports for Chinese citizens aged 16 years and younger are valid for only five (5) years..
Please note that if you’re planning on doing some international travel, you need to make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months after arrival—because if it’s not, then it is time for you to renew it. Residents of Hong Kong have several different ways to renew their Hong Kong passports. For comprehensive instructions, read on to learn more.
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You can apply in person
As in the United States and many other countries, using the post is one of the fastest, easiest and most popular ways to renew a passport. Mail in your completed Form ID 841 along with high-quality photocopies of your HKIC and your about-to-expire passport. You must enclose three (3) identical recent color photographs — do not staple or paperclip them to the application. Be sure to include your check or money order made out to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”
When using the post, make sure you put enough postage on your envelope. Applications delivered “postage due” will be returned to the sender, resulting in a major delay.
You can apply by post
In Hong Kong, like in the United States and many other countries, using the postal service is probably the fastest, easiest and most popular way to renew a passport. Mail in the completed application Form ID 841 along with high-quality photocopies of your HKIC and your about-to-expire passport. You must enclose three (3) identical recent color biometric photographs—do not staple or paperclip them to the application. Pay the passport fees with a check or money order made out to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”
Please note that when using the postal service, you must make sure that you put enough postage on your envelope! Applications delivered to the immigration office “postage due” will be returned to the sender, resulting in a major delay.
You can apply online
Unlike with the United States, it is actually possible for Chinese and Hong Kong citizens to renew their passports online, which is terrific. Provided you are an adult over the age of 17, you can renew your Hong Kong passport online from pretty much anywhere in the world. All you have to do is complete the online application form, upload your additional documents (such as your birth certificate, marriage certificate, and previous passport) in either JPEG, GIF or TIF format. Upload your recent biometric color passport photograph as a JPG not larger than 5MB. They even accept payment online via MasterCard and Visa! Personally, I think this is great, and I can’t wait until online passport renewal is possible in every country around the world.
Please note that just because they automatically accept your payment does NOT mean that they will automatically approve your passport renewal application! If you make some mistake on your application which causes you to have to re-apply all over again, you may need to pay that fee all over again, too. By the way, the #1 reason a passport renewal application gets rejected is that the photograph is unacceptable. More information on how to make a successful passport picture further down.
You can use the kiosks
The Hong Kong immigration offices have really neat computerized self-service kiosks you can use. I think this is the coolest passport scheme going on in the world today! At the passport collection kiosk, you scan your Hong Kong permanent identity card and your biometric fingerprint, and then you follow the instructions on the screen. Submit your supporting documents, including your passport photos, as either hard copies or as digital uploads. You can even pay the government fees electronically.
Please note that if you do not yet have passport photos, you can have a live photo taken at the passport kiosk. There is no additional fee required for this photo—it’s included free as part of the process.
Passport Photo Online for successful passport photography
If you want some time to make sure you’re looking your best for your passport photo, the automatic photo you can get for free at the immigration office kiosk might not be right for you. Instead, you can create your own passport photo in the privacy of your own home at your convenience by using an online photo app like Passport Photo Online. PPO will make sure that your photograph meets all the Chinese government regulations—you just need to make sure you’re looking good. It’s super-fast, affordable, and fun.
Try out different hairstyles and outfits until you find the right look for you. Play your favorite music to add to the creative process. Enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of wine (or two) while you take your pictures! You can take as many snapshots as you like: you only pay for the one perfect picture that you actually use.
Here’s how you do it: have a friend snap your passport-style, full-face photograph with a smartphone. Download the Passport Photo Online app, and select “Hong Kong passport photo” from our list of templates.Three seconds after uploading your photo to our app, you will receive a set of four properly sized, cropped and edited HK passport photos emailed to you as a JPEG file! Print the pictures for paper submissions, or use the digital file for online submissions. It’s that easy!
How to renew your Hong Kong passport in the U.S.
If you are traveling or living in the USA and need to renew your HK passport, you can take advantage of most of the ways listed above. Present yourself in person at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, or one of the five other consulate general (Hong Kong) locations in the US: there are locations in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston. You must make an online appointment in advance; be sure to bring all necessary documents, including a completed passport application and the photographs.
Please note that you can also apply by post from the USA, but because the speed of international mail service varies from country to country, it really will be much faster to apply online. The only option which you will not be able to use from the U.S. is the kiosk, which of course is only accessible in China.
How to renew your Hong Kong passport – conclusions
It is essential for every world traveler to have a valid travel document. Hong Kong offers some of the fastest and easiest ways to renew your passport: online service is the wave of the future, and the kiosks are cool and convenient. Please take advantage of this modern technology. I hope that someday the remainder of the planet will catch up! Be sure to keep your Hong Kong passport up to date, and travel well.
How much does a Hong Kong passport cost?
The 32-page passport book is only HK$370 (about $48 USD), while the 48-page book, for those of you who travel more often, costs HK$460 (or about $59 USD). This is not an expensive passport!
Can I apply online for a replacement passport if my passport was lost, stolen or damaged?
I’m afraid not: the online service is for normal and routine renewals only. For a replacement passport or for a first-time new passport, you must present yourself personally at the Hong Kong immigration department branch office nearest you.
How long until I receive my new passport?
The processing time for a new passport is 4 (four) to 6 (six) weeks, which is quite fast. Expedited service can be had for business travel and for legitimate life-or-death family emergencies only; expedited service is not available for routine leisure travel. The Mainland Office will let you know when your new passport is ready for pick-up, and where exactly to pick it up.
Can I pick up my passport at the immigration office kiosk?
As a matter of fact, you can! You will get a letter in the mail from the Hong Kong immigration department, giving you the details of which kiosk holds your passport and when you should pick it up. You will authenticate yourself using your HKIC and fingerprint, just like you did when you dropped off your application.
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Bryan is a writer and filmmaker originally from Texas who has sailed around the world. Thanks to his experience in the cruise industry and customer service he understands what customers feel and need. Bryan is the author of FOG WATCH published on Amazon.