Consular Protection and Right of Abode in HK(SAR) for Dual Nationals

According to the agreement signed between the United States and the People’s Republic of China regarding the maintenance of the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong in March 1997, all U.S. citizens entering Hong Kong on their U.S. passports after July 1, 1997, including dual nationals, will be considered U.S. citizens by the Hong Kong SAR authorities for purposes of ensuring consular access and protection. Dual nationals are U.S. citizens who are Hong Kong residents or former residents who are of Chinese descent and born in the mainland China or Hong Kong.

Dual nationals who wish to ensure consular access and protection after the initial 90-day period of admission must declare their U.S. nationality by presenting their U.S. passports and completing an application for declaration of change of nationality with the Hong Kong Immigration Department. This declaration will result in the loss of Chinese nationality but not necessarily the right of abode. (Note: failure to declare U.S. nationality may jeopardize the guarantee of consular protection.) Dual national residents of Hong Kong who desire to guarantee consular protection after July 1, 1997 should, similarly, declare their U.S. nationality to the Hong Kong Immigration Department. According to the Hong Kong Immigration Department, provisions will also be made to declare one’s U.S. nationality (and renounce Chinese nationality) at Chinese overseas diplomatic and consular posts.

U.S. citizens who had right of abode in Hong Kong before July 1, 1997, and who renounce their Chinese nationality, will retain their permanent residence (right of abode) in Hong Kong if:

  1. they are settled or have returned to settle in Hong Kong before July 1, 1997; or
  2. they return to settle in Hong Kong within 18 months from July 1, 1997 (prior to December 31, 1998); or
  3. on the date they return to settle in Hong Kong, they have not before that date lived outside of Hong Kong for a continuous period of more than 36 months.

Other non-Chinese nationals can meet the definition of "permanent resident" (having right of abode) if they entered Hong Kong on a valid travel document, have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than seven years, and have taken Hong Kong as their place of permanent residence before or after July 1, 1997.

Further information on consular protection can be obtained from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State (tel: +1-202-736-4993), or the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong (tel: +852- 2841-2211).

Further information on the right of abode in Hong Kong may be obtained from the Hong Kong Immigration Department at its hotline 2824-4055, or via fax (852) 2598-8388, Internet: Immigration Department, GovHK: Identity Cards and Right of Abode, or e-mail: General Enquiry.

 

Last modified: November 29, 2016