How can domestic helpers get a visa extension?
Guide to Obtaining an Extension of Employment Visa
There are two scenarios where a domestic helper needs to obtain an extension of an employment visa. We’ve described them below. It’s important to be aware of when to get a visa extension as the consequences of overstaying on a visa can be serious.
Scenario 1: The domestic helper started working for the employer immediately after the visa was released and she has not exited Hong Kong within her first year of employment
When deferring Home-Leave, the domestic helper is issued 2 visas by Immigration Department; one one-year visa allowing her to remain in Hong Kong to immediately start working, and the other one-year visa to be activated when exiting and re-entering Hong Kong.
If the domestic helper was not able to exit Hong Kong to fulfil this Home-Leave requirement before her existing visa expires, she needs to apply for a visa extension from the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
The 2-year employment contract commenced on 19 Mar 2020 and the contract should end on 19 Mar 2022 but the visa (permission to remain) is only until 19 Mar 2021 since the Immigration requires workers to exit Hong Kong within the first year of employment. The domestic helper will get the remaining one-year visa until 19 Mar 2022 upon her entry to Hong Kong after her no less than 7-day home leave.
- See image 1 to see where you can check for these dates on the visa.
Scenario 2: The domestic helper has not obtained her full 2-year visa since her passport did not have 2-year validity at the time of visa application
The domestic helper should renew his/her passport preferably 1 year prior to the passport expiry date. After the passport is renewed, then she needs to apply for a visa extension at the HK Immigration Department.
The two-year contract commenced on 28 Jan 2021 when the worker arrived in Hong Kong and the two-year contract should end on 28 Jan 2023 but the visa (permitted to remain) is only until 04 Feb 2022 since the passport is valid until 04 Mar 2022.
- See image 2 for where you can check on a Republic of the Philippines passport for the date that is “Valid until”
- See image 3 for an example of this shortened visa.
When to apply for the visa extension
You can apply for the extension as far as 8 weeks prior to the current visa expiry date in advance, or at least 10 working days before the visa expiry date.
Ways to obtain the full visa from the HK Immigration Department
- Fair Agency offers visa extension service at $800. Please feel free to contact us for details.
- Use the Immigration Department’s “Smart Renewal” service to submit an online application to extend/renew visas or defer home leave. You will be able to pay the visa fee online and receive the visa by post.
- Do a walk-in appointment or book an appointment 8 weeks prior to visa expiry date, via http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/nonpermanent/bookextensionstay.htm
- The visa extension application can be submitted by drop-in or post to 3/F, Immigration Tower, Wanchai. Please include photocopies of the following documents 1- 6. Put all the documents in an envelope and do drop-in on Immigration 3/F or by post (Foreign Domestic Helpers Section, 3/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai). Immigration will contact the domestic helper to pick up the visa extension when it’s ready.
Documents to bring:
- Completed and signed Extension of Stay Application Form for Domestic Helper from Abroad (ID 988A);
- Worker’s original old and new passports;
- Original employment contract;
- Employer’s supporting letter to confirm continuing employment (template below);
- If the employer has changed address, a copy of a gas/water/electricity utility bill + completed and signed Revised Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Duties (ID 407G)
- Employer’s undertaking: The undertaking indicates that employers will arrange for:
- the COVID-19 test and hotel quarantine for their domestic helper, and
- be responsible for the relevant costs when their FDHs are arriving on or after July 25, 2020.
- The undertaking can be downloaded from the website of ImmD: HERE and obtained free of charge from the Immigration Department Headquarters and Immigration Branch Offices.
- HKD 230 visa fee
Who’s responsible for the visa fee?
If a new visa is needed due to the worker’s passport validity, it is reasonable for the domestic helper to pay the visa fee. If a new visa is needed since both employers and workers mutually agree to defer the home leave, we would recommend sharing the visa fee with the domestic helper as a gesture of goodwill.
We do our best to keep our articles up-to-date. Please double-check with the relevant organisations directly for the latest.
You may also like:
- Quick guide for Employers of Domestic Helpers
- COVID-19 updates affecting domestic helpers & employers
- What does domestic helper hiring look like now with the impact of COVID-19?
- FAQs on home leave
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Last updated on May 5th, 2021