New smart ID cards to be issued next month

  • China
  • 10/24/2018
  • Bal Global

What is the immigration news? Beginning Nov. 26, Hong Kong will start issuing a new form of smart identity card to applicants. Additionally, starting Dec. 27, a territory-wide identity card replacement program will be implemented in phases, where existing Hong Kong identity card holders will be invited, in accordance with their year of birth, to replace their card with the new form of smart identity card.

The first phase of the replacement program will cover existing smart identity card holders according to the following schedule:


Replacement application period

Members of the Immigration Service, police officers, labor inspectors

Dec. 27, 2018 – March 30, 2019

Holders of existing Hong Kong ID cards who were born in 1985 or 1986

Jan. 21, 2019 – March 30, 2019

Holders of existing Hong Kong ID cards who were born in 1968 or 1969

April 1, 2019 – June 1, 2019

Visas/permits affected: Hong Kong identity cards (HKICs).
Impact on business: Expatriate employees should be aware of the replacement program and replace their existing cards during the application period corresponding to their age group.
What to watch: Applicants may visit one of nine new smart card replacement centers within the specified application period.
Background: According to an announcement from the Hong Kong Immigration Department on Oct. 18, the new smart HKICs will be issued starting Nov. 26 to the following categories of applicants: new arrivals, individuals applying for a juvenile HKIC when they reach 11 years of age, individuals applying for an adult HKIC having reached age 18, individuals whose HKICs have been lost, destroyed, damaged or defaced, and individuals who wish to amend the details on their current HKIC.

To streamline the registration process, the Immigration Department plans to launch online appointment-booking and electronic forms on Oct. 29, and to release a mobile app on Nov. 26. Self-service kiosks will also be introduced.

The replacement program for all cardholders will take about four years to complete. Nine smart HKIC replacement centers will be set up to service the program and will be open Mondays through Saturdays (except public holidays), 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

BAL Analysis: Expatriate residents and their family members should be aware of the replacement program. Individuals are allowed to bring two elderly family members or friends (born in or before 1954) to apply for replacement cards so that the elderly do not have to travel alone. Residents who are abroad do not need to return during their eligible replacement period; they will have 30 days after they return to Hong Kong to apply for replacement of their cards.