Eligibility Criteria 1.An application for a visa/entry permit to enter the HKSAR for study may be favourably considered if :
a. the applicant:
i. is admitted to a private school registered under the Education Ordinance (Cap. 279) or Post Secondary Colleges Ordinance (Cap. 320). Except for post-secondary education, entry for study in public or aided schools (other than English Schools Foundation Schools and Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools) is not permitted; ii. takes up studies in a full-time locally-accredited post-secondary programme including short-term course or part-time locally-accredited taught postgraduate local programme; iii. is admitted on exchange in full-time locally-accredited local programmes at sub-degree level for not more than 6 months or on exchange in full-time locally-accredited local or non-local programmes for not more than one year at undergraduate or above level; or iv. is enrolled in a full-time course on the register of non-local higher education or professional courses as set up under the Non-local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Ordinance (Cap. 493);
b. the applicant is:
i. from the age of 5 years and 8 months to 11 for primary education; or ii. below the age of 20 for secondary education;
c. the applicant holds a school acceptance letter to confirm that he/she has been accepted for a course of study; and
d. the applicant is able to meet the fees for the course, the living expenses for his/her maintenance and accommodation without working and without recourse to public funds.
2. This entry arrangement does not apply to:
a. Chinese residents of the Mainland and Taiwan; b. former Mainland Chinese residents settled in Macao who were not settled there by 14 January 1979; and c. nationals of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Laos, Korea (Democratic Peoples' Republic of ), Nepal and Vietnam.
3. However, provided that the conditions in sub-paragraphs 1(c) & (d) above are met, Chinese residents of the Mainland, Macao and Taiwan as listed in sub-paragraphs 2(a) & (b) above may apply for entry to take up: a. studies in full-time locally-accredited post-secondary local or non-local programmesNote 2&3; b. studies in part-time locally-accredited taught post-graduate local programmesNote 4; c. exchange in full-time locally-accredited local programmes at sub-degree level for not more than 6 months or exchange in full-time locally-accredited local or non-local programmes at undergraduate or above level for not more than one yearNote 3; or d. full-time short-term studies, subject to the following conditions: i. the programme concerned is offered by Hong Kong higher education institutions with degree-awarding powers (excluding their continuing and professional education arms); and ii. the cumulative duration of short-term studies taken up by any student should not exceed 180 days within any 12-month period.
In addition, Chinese residents of the Mainland may also apply to attend secondary school level short-term exchange programmes approved by the Education Bureau of not more than 2 weeks, if accompanied by Mainland teachers.
In general, unless a person has the right of abode or right to land in the HKSAR, he/she requires a visa/entry permit to study in the HKSAR. While each application is determined on its individual merits, an applicant should meet normal immigration requirements (such as holding a valid travel document with adequate returnability to his/her country of residence or citizenship; be of clear criminal record and raise no security or criminal concerns to the HKSAR; have no likelihood of becoming a burden on the HKSAR, etc.) as well as the relevant specific eligibility criteria detailed above before he/she may be considered for the grant of a visa/entry permit. It should be noted that the eligibility criteria may be subject to change from time to time.
Note 1: Local programmes refer to programmes leading to degrees awarded by local degree-awarding institutions whereas non-local programmes refer to programmes leading to degrees awarded solely by non-local institutions, irrespective of whether the programmes are jointly run by local and non-local institutions. Note 2: The agreement between the Mainland and Hong Kong on mutual recognition of degree awards in higher education is not applicable to sub-degree qualifications (i.e. associate degree and higher diploma). Mainland students may come to attend sub-degree level local programmes in Hong Kong since there is no restriction in the Mainland prohibiting them to pursue further studies at educational institutions outside the Mainland on a personal basis. Note 3: Mainland students are allowed to study in full-time locally-accredited local programmes. For the 2016/17 to 2020/21 academic years, Mainland students are also allowed to study in full-time locally-accredited non-local programmes at undergraduate or above level which have been approved by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. Note 4: The programmes to be taken up by Mainland students must be offered by the University Grants Committee-funded institutions.