Living in Hong Kong

How to access the essential information you need when travelling to or living in Hong Kong as a British National.


This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Hong Kong, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do for British nationals.


Medical care is generally good in Hong Kong, although expensive if you are not a Hong Kong permanent resident. Healthcare is not provided free of charge in Hong Kong and medical bills can be high.

There is no reciprocal National Health Service agreement in Hong Kong and medical costs are to be borne by the individual. Insurance is essential, therefore, ensure that comprehensive travel insurance is taken out before you travel. Make sure that your policy provides for the following:

  • an air ambulance, in case you need to be flown home
  • full medical cover (bills can be very expensive)
  • bringing the body home, in the event of a death
  • bringing your family home, in the event of your illness or injury

If you need emergency medical assistance, you can attend any medical clinic, Hospital Emergency Room or dial 999 for an ambulance.

For more information please visit Hong Kong Department of Health.


The Hong Kong Government’s policy is to provide nine years’ free and universal primary and junior secondary education to all children attending public sector schools, however, all kindergartens are privately run in Hong Kong.

The Education Bureau provides information regarding education policies and services in Hong Kong.


As a general rule, any person other than those who have the right of abode or right to land in Hong Kong, must obtain an employment visa before taking up employment. Please visit the Hong Kong Immigration website for further information.

Entry and residence requirements

Although Hong Kong is now part of the People’s Republic of China it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls. You can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa. Full details on the entry requirements can be found on the Travel Advice.


The Social Welfare Department provides information on social security for residents in Hong Kong who are financially vulnerable.

Please see UK benefits for additional information.

Information for if you are considering moving or retiring abroad.

New policy on Proof of ‘Life Certificates’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has changed their policy on who can now sign these ‘Life Certificates’. This now reflects the list of people who can countersign a passport photograph. Please read the DWP’s guide State Pension if you retire abroad for more information.

Driving licences and vehicles

In order to drive in Hong Kong, you will require a Hong Kong driving licence. Please visit the Hong Kong Transport Department website for more information.

See also the information on UK driving licences.

Guidance on bringing medication into Hong Kong

Hong Kong Customs authorities allow you to bring small amounts of medication for your personal use, provided that it is kept in carry-on baggage. It is advised to take an English prescription from your doctor at home for both your prescription drugs and non-prescription medicines. That way you get to avoid problems or misunderstandings at customs in Hong Kong.

For more information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Social ethics and traditions

Religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights of Hong Kong residents and is covered by the Basic Law of Hong Kong. There is a large variety of religious groups in the Hong Kong SAR. For more information on religion in Hong Kong see the Hong Kong Government website.


This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British Consulate-General Hong Kong will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.

Published 22 March 2013
Last updated 22 October 2013 + show all updates
  1. Updated with new section on How to register a marriage
  2. Updated with essential information for British Nationals travelling to or living in Hong Kong.
  3. First published.