Expat guide for moving to Hong Kong in 2023

Whether you are only exploring this option or planning a move to Hong Kong, you should know this place will welcome you with open arms! It has a long history of welcoming expats from all around the world, so you should have no problems blending in. However, there are some crucial bits of information you should know before moving to Hong Kong. It doesn’t start and end with you hiring the best moving company Hong Kong has to offer. We’ll go over all the things you should know in this guide for moving to Hong Kong in 2023.

Hong Kong cost of living index

Hong Kong is a very expensive city, no doubt about it! It is frequently found in the top 3 most expensive cities in the world, year after year. If you are moving to Hong Kong from Europe, you will definitely feel the difference. If you’re from the US by any chance, then maybe slightly less. Of course, it depends on which part of the US you’re from. We’ll use the average prices of things in the United States and Hong Kong to try and paint you a picture of what you can expect. On average, Hong Kong is 14.4% more expensive than the US. You would have to pay 30% more for groceries, 32.1% for transportation, and 11.9% for housing! The only thing that is significantly cheaper is the restaurants. On average you’d pay almost 40% less to dine in a restaurant or a fast-food place.

Hong kong panorama
Hong Kong is among the most expensive cities in the world, but it’s definitely worth the cost and trouble of getting there

It’s definitely not a cheap place to live and work for expats, but that alone shouldn’t stop you. There are many well-paid job opportunities there that will certainly make your stay pay off. If you already have a new job lined up, make sure you save up some money for your first month. You should have a separate budget for your relocation and moving service Hong Kong you wish to use from the one meant for living there until your next paycheck.

Find your new home before moving to Hong Kong

Residential building in Hong Kong
The housing market in Hong Kong is very competitive and pricey, but use the help of your employer or real estate agencies to find the perfect place for you

This is probably the hardest thing to do in this guide for moving to Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s housing market is extremely competitive and pricey. In fact, it’s the most expensive housing market in the world! The average price of a home, usually an apartment, in Hong Kong is $1.2 million dollars! There is an increasing number of people living there, and the prices are not dropping even though there are numerous apartment complexes that are being built and open each day. It is a very tricky market to navigate, so it’s best you start searching for a home enough time before your move. Renting a place is a more sensible option than buying, but that option is expensive too!

The monthly rent for a furnished 45 m2 apartment in an expensive area is around $3,614. The same-sized apartment in a cheaper part of the city can cost about $2,393. Monthly utilities are usually around $128 (heating, gas, electricity) so add that to the rent to get a clearer picture of how much living there is going to cost. If you are moving for a job opportunity, your employer might be able to find your accommodation but check that first with them. If not, explore all options online and go through the ads to see what homes in Hong Kong usually look like. Relocating to Hong Kong might not be easy or cheap, but it’s definitely worth it once you’re there!

Apply for a Visa before moving to Hong Kong

Most people are allowed to land and stay in Hong Kong as visa-free visitors for 7 to 180 days. Of course, if you wish to live and work here, make sure to apply for a visa. The most efficient way to get one is to have your company sponsor you and your immediate family members you are relocating with. They will handle all the paperwork and administration and provide you with your visa once they are done. You are legally required to have a visa if you wish to work in Hong Kong. But if you are unemployed, you can still land there and go about obtaining one. If your occupation is in high demand and you have enough experience or a rich CV, you may be able to move there under a special type of visa. Whatever the case may be, make sure you really explore this crucial step.

Do not even think about hiring the best international movers Hong Kong has to offer before getting your visa situation sorted! There is no point in going there without a plan, as you may find yourself in a terrible situation that way. Be detail-oriented and properly organized before moving to Hong Kong.

Get a citizen ID card

This is one of the most important steps in any guide for moving to Hong Kong you’ll find online! Each person in Hong Kong age 11 or higher is legally bound to have a valid ID card. The application for one must be made within 30 days of your landing. If you wish to work here, even with a valid visa, you must get this ID card. Book a meeting online before going to the Immigration Office. There is no guarantee you will be able to talk to someone if you decide to simply walk in. After you receive your ID card, keep it with you at all times! Hong Kong police have the authority to ask you to check your card wherever you are. This card also has many benefits. One of them is that you can use it as a library card or to book visits to museums.

guide for moving to Hong Kong
Getting a valid citizen ID card is among the most important things in any guide for moving to Hong Kong

If you are relocating your business to Hong Kong, you’d have to make sure all your employees also get their visas and ID cards. Your HR department would have to deal with that for you, while you focus on finding the right office movers Hong Kong that will suit your needs.

A guide for moving to Hong Kong isn’t complete without information on how to ship your car

There are a few key steps you have to follow. First of all, you have to obtain approval from the Environmental Protection Department. This approval confirms your car is in line with the exhaust and noise emissions standards. Next up, you are required to lodge an accurate and complete declaration of the vehicle with the Customs and Excise Department. Imported vehicles are not subject to any customs tax, but you have to complete this step within 14 days of importing. If you fail to do this, you are committing an offense and are liable on conviction to a fine of $500,000! Also, upon arrival of your vehicle arrange a thorough examination with the Vehicle Examination Center. Only when all of this is done, you will be able to apply for registration of your vehicle.

A boat on the sea
There are many forms of transportation in Hong Kong, but if you want to ship your car follow all the necessary instructions

Do not take any chances with this! If your car is important to you and you wish to use it in Hong Kong, meet these demands. If you have any uncertainties about this process, we offer car shipping HK services and we can explain to you in more detail all the mentioned steps.

Get all the important permits before the move if you are bringing your pet with you

Hong Kong’s requirements for pet imports are among the toughest ones in the world! It can be complicated, and sometimes even expensive. Your dog or cat must be chipped with an AVID or ISO microchip. If the microchip can’t be read once you arrive, the owner must provide his own microchip scanner. If the microchip can’t be verified, the pet will be returned to the country of origin, and that expense will be covered by the owner. Your pets should also be vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, and Parvovirus. On top of that, they should go through a health check and get a health certificate issued by a government vet not more than 14 days before your flight. Failure to meet these demands will ensure your pet stays where it’s at right now!

Hong Kong night shot
While Hong Kong looks like a concrete jungle, it has many gorgeous parks and natural spots for you to walk your pet and enjoy your time together

The final thing you must obtain is a special permit for pets. This permit is issued by the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department of Hong Kong. It takes at least 3 working days to process this request, so be aware of that. This permit is valid for 6 months, so make sure you renew it afterward. We are one of the most reliable pet movers Hong Kong has to offer, so rest assured your four-legged friend will be in good hands during your move!

Sign up for a healthcare plan when you’re done unpacking

The public healthcare system in Hong Kong is very affordable and accessible to all. The government provides healthcare services for all residents, expats included. Usually, your Hong Kong employer will sign you up once you start working, so you should have no issues with this. But if you are a freelancer or are yet to find a job, you can go private. Many expats choose private healthcare, even if they have a public one. The coverage is more extensive, the lines are shorted and they have a service-oriented attitude. The only condition to apply for any type of healthcare is to have an ID card. The only area where you have to go private is dental care. Only students and civil servants get free dental care. In all other scenarios, you have to find a private dentist.

Hong Kong street
A crucial part of the guide for moving to Hong Kong is to sign up for a healthcare plan, either public or private!

Get to know how tax works

Since you are moving to work in a new country as an expat, you are still legally obligated to report your taxes to your home country. Each country has its own tax policy, so make sure you explore that prior to your move. This is one of the most important steps in this guide for moving to Hong Kong. If you don’t plan for this, you might end up in a bad situation. Wherever you are from, you should file your taxes with the Hong Kong tax agency called the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). If you’ll only be living in Hong Kong while working for a foreign company, you’ll be glad to know that Hong Kong has a territorial taxation system. This means any income earned outside of the territory is not taxed. With the correct structure and planning, this can be a huge advantage for expats.

In Hong Kong, individual income is taxed in one of two ways. The first one is a progressive rate (like adjusted gross income), and the second one is a flat 15%. Here are the net taxable income rates in Hong Kong:

  • 0-50,000 HKD – 2%
  • 50,001-100,000 HKD – 6%
  • 100,001-150,000 HKD – 10%
  • 150,001-200,000 HKD – 14%
  • 200,000 HKD and above – 17%

We hope this guide for moving to Hong Kong has helped you at least a bit! Whenever you are ready to embark on this journey, we will await you with open arms. Our highly-rated furniture movers Hong Kong has to offer will make sure your all possessions are handled with great care. Don’t hesitate to ask us whatever comes to your mind. We will do our best to make sure your stay in Hong Kong starts off in the best way possible!

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