Non-Chinese nationals with Right of Abode generally lose it if they are away from Hong Kong for more than 36 months. On losing Right of Abode, they automatically acquire Right to Land. A holder of either status can:

  • Live, work and study in Hong Kong without any restriction
  • Hold a Hong Kong Identity Card
  • Access state-subsidised healthcare (as can any legally resident HK ID holder or child under 11: see Hospital Authority)
  • Pay local tuition fees for publicly subsidised university courses (as can any legal resident who does not need a student visa to study: see Institute of Education and Education Bureau )
  • Sponsor a dependent visa (for a spouse, children under 18 and parents over 60) if resident in Hong Kong (see Immigration Department)

However, Right of Abode confers some rights that Right to Land does not:

  • A Right of Abode holder can vote and stand for election.
  • A child born in Hong Kong to a Right of Abode holder automatically has Right of Abode; and a child born in Hong Kong automatically acquires Right of Abode if his parent acquires Right of Abode while he is under 18. In contrast, a parent with Right to Land passes on no particular status to a child born in Hong Kong.
  • A Right to Land holder can be deported if convicted of a crime punishable by 2 years' imprisonment or more, or if the Chief Executive deems it to be conducive to the public good. A Right of Abode holder cannot be deported. (However, a Right of Abode holder can be extradited, then lose Right of Abode through 36 months' absence from Hong Kong).
  • A Right of Abode holder does not have to pay Buyer's Stamp Duty on acquiring a residential property (Inland Revenue Department).
  • Certain schemes only apply to Right of Abode holders, such as the Scheme $6000, which gave HK$6000 to every HK permanent resident (
  • Certain double taxation agreements have special protection for Right of Abode holders, but not Right to Land holders (e.g. UK/Hong Kong double taxation agreement)