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General Information on the Right of Abode in Hong Kong

Right of Abode in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

The Immigration Ordinance stipulates who can enjoy the right of abode in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). This page provides general information on the meanings of right of abode and related terms, what constitutes proof of the right of abode, who is eligible, why a person needs to verify his/her eligibility for a permanent identity card, why a person might need to obtain a Certificate of Entitlement, and where to go for further information.

This is a general guide to immigration matters and carries no legal authority.

Meanings of Right of Abode and Related Terms

The terms used in relation to the right of abode have specific meanings under the laws of Hong Kong. The following link will provide the meanings of ‘right of abode’, ‘right to land’, ‘Chinese citizen’, ‘settled’ and ‘ordinary residence’.

Personal Proof of the Right of Abode

A person can only exercise his/her right of abode in the HKSAR if he/she is able to prove his/her permanent resident status by holding:

  • A valid permanent identity card issued to him/her;


  • A valid travel document issued to him/her with a valid Certificate of Entitlement issued and affixed to such travel document;


  • A valid HKSAR passport issued to him/her.

Who is Eligible?

A person is eligible for right of abode in the HKSAR if he/she:

Application for Verification of Eligibility for a Permanent Identity Card

Holding a valid permanent identity card constitutes proof that the holder has the right of abode in the HKSAR. Before a person proceeds to register for the issue of a permanent identity card, he/she will need to show that he/she is eligible for registration.  For this purpose, a person can apply for verification of eligibility for a permanent identity card. However, he/she must be in Hong Kong when making the application.

Application for Certificate of Entitlement

A person cannot apply to verify his/her eligibility for a permanent identity card under the Registration of Persons Regulations if he/she is qualified to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement under section 2AB of the Immigration Ordinance, has not been issued with such a Certificate, and is currently residing in Mainland China. Anyone who falls into this category can use the following link to obtain further information about applying for a Certificate of Entitlement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Further information on the right of abode in the HKSAR and related issues is available in a set of frequently asked questions that can be accessed through the following link.