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Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the Republic of China since its passing over of sovreignty from the United Kingdom to China in 1 July 1997. Hong Kong permanent citizens will enjoy a right of abode in Hong Kong. With this right of abode, Hong Kong citizens enjoy the right to live, work, study, vote and to stand for election in Hong Kong. The rights of all Hong Kong citizens are governed by the Basic Law of Hong Kong. 

Right of Abode and Chinese NationalityEdit

Hong Kong has its own immigration laws, and Chinese nationals do not automatically have the Right of Abode in Hong Kong. Conversely, non-Chinese nationals can have Right of Abode. However, Chinese nationality affects Right of Abode in two ways:

  • The criteria for holding Right of Abode are different for Chinese nationals and non-Chinese nationals.
  • Chinese nationals cannot lose Right of Abode, wherease non-Chinese nationals can.

Chinese NationalityEdit

Chinese nationality is defined in the Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China. A person is born with Chinese nationality if one of the following is true at the time of his birth:

  • He is born in China (including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Japan) and at least one parent has Chinese nationality; or
  • He is born outside of China, and he does not obtain foreign nationality at birth; or
  • He is born outside of China, he obtains foreign nationality at birth, and at least one parent has Chinese nationality and is not settled abroad. "Settled abroad" means residing abroad whilst holding permanent residence abroad.

Dual nationality is not recognised:

  • Mainland Chinese residents automatically lose Chinese nationality if they acquire another nationality.
  • Hong Kong and Macau residents do not automatically lose Chinese nationality, but their foreign nationality is not recognised by the Chinese government.

Loss of Right of Abode and Right to LandEdit

See also: Differences between Right of Abode and Right to Land

Non-Chinese nationals automatically lose Right of Abode if they are absent from Hong Kong for 36 months. On losing Right of Abode, they acquire Right to Land. This is a similar status to Right of Abode which confers the right to live, work and study in Hong Kong. However, it does not confer the right to vote and stand for election, and it is not automatically passed on to Children born in Hong Kong.

Chinese nationals with Right of Abode never lose it (unless they change nationality).

Right of Abode by birthEdit

Assuming no relevant person has intentionally changed citizenship, and subject to loss of Right of Abode as explained above, a person born in Hong Kong has Right of Abode by birth if one of the following is true:

  • He was born before 1983; or
  • He is a Chinese national; or
  • He was born before 1 July 1997, and at least one parent was settled in Hong Kong, where "settled" means ordinarily resident, without any restriction on the time he is allowed to stay; or
  • At some time before he reached 21 years of age, at east one parent had the Right of Abode in Hong Kong;

and a person born outside Hong Kong has Right of Abode by birth if one of the following is true:

  • He was born before 1 January 1983, and his father was born in Hong Kong, and his parents were married at any time before 1 July 1997; or
  • He was born before 1 January 1983 as a British subject, and his mother was born in Hong Kong; or
  • He was born on or after 1 January 1983 and before 1 July 1997, and one of his parents were born in Hong Kong before 1993; or
  • He was born on or after 1 July 1997, and he is a Chinese national, and one of his parents was a Chinese national born in Hong Kong; or
  • He was born on or after 1 July 1997, and he is a Chinese national, and one of his parents is a Chinese national who ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of seven years before his birth.

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