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Here you can obtain information on the Hong Kong identity card through lists of frequently asked questions. 

Smart Identity Card

Q1. What is smart identity card?

Since 23 June 2003, Hong Kong identity cards have been issued in the form of smart cards with the following features:

  • Credit-card size
  • Made from polycarbonate, providing strong resistance to environmental influences, and mechanical, chemical and thermal stress
  • Embedded with an integrated circuit or ‘chip’ that stores and processes data

Q2. What security features are included?

To combat forgery, the smart identity card has incorporated a number of sophisticated security features including:

  • A triangle printed with optical variable ink beside the chip, which changes in colour between reddish gold and green when viewed at different angles
  • Multiple laser images of the holder’s photograph and identity card number in the lower left corner, which appear alternately when viewed at tilted angles
  • Kineprint letters on the left of the multiple laser images – a red letter ‘H’ and a black letter ‘K’, which emerge alternately when viewed at different angles

More information on the security features is available through the following link.

Q3. What are the benefits of using a smart identity card?

The benefits of using a smart identity card are as follows: 

  • High security – data are engraved into different layers of the card and stored in the chip, which can prevent lost or stolen cards from being altered or used by other people.
  • Greater convenience – with multi-function capacity, the card can be used for various non-immigration applications such as an e-Certificate or a library card.
  • Quality service – the smart identity card is the foundation of the delivery of electronic government services. In future, smart identity card holders will be able to enjoy various kinds of public services simply by going on-line at home or making use of smart identity card readers without having to attend government offices in person.
  • More travel convenience – with the thumbprint templates stored in the chip of the identity card, holders can enjoy more convenient immigration clearance via the e-channels of the Automated Passenger Clearance System and the Automated Vehicle Clearance System.

 Q4. What are the functions of the smart identity card readers?

Using the smart identity card readers installed at immigration self-service kiosks, you can:

  • View the personal data stored in your card’s ‘chip’
  • View the content and change the PIN of a Hong Kong Post e-Cert if you have one
  • Update your condition of stay or limit of stay if you are a Hong Kong resident subject to a condition of stay

The following links will take you to information on the locations of self-service kiosks.

Q5. How can I protect my smart identity card?

The following tips may help to protect your card.

  • DO keep your card in an appropriate protective holder
  • DO use a soft-landing type smart card reader when using the e-Cert in your card
  • DO NOT bend your card
  • DO NOT place your card together with keys or coins
  • DO NOT place your card near a magnet
  • DO NOT scratch or remove the chip from your card 

Q6. What purpose does the protective holder serve?

A protective holder will be supplied upon issue of your smart identity card, but will not be replaced if damaged or lost. If you need to replace your card holder, you should do so with a holder that has the following specifications.

Material: Ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA), no Plasticiser
Size: Not less than 93mm in length and not less than 61mm in width 

Q7. How can I get a good photo on my smart identity card?

The following tips may help:

  • Face the camera with an expression of ease
  • It is unnecessary to wear make-up to look your best in the picture
  • If you prefer to wear make-up, please make it light and avoid using cosmetics that are dark in tone
  • Have plenty of sleep and rest beforehand to maintain a fresh and lively look
  • If you wear glasses, non-reflective lens will produce better results
  • Wear dark coloured clothes with a collar 

Registration / Replacement of identity card

Q8. Am I required to register for an identity card?

Under the Registration of Persons Ordinance, all residents of Hong Kong aged 11 or above are required to register for an identity card, except those who have been exempted.

People who are exempted from holding an identity card include:

  • Genuine travellers in transit through Hong Kong or persons who have been permitted to stay for not more than 180 days
  • The aged, the blind and the infirm whose exemption has been approved by the Commissioner of Registration
  • Children aged under 11 of consuls, consular staff and the Head and members of the Office of the Commission of the European Communities
  • Children aged under 11 unless they are Hong Kong permanent residents who need to apply for permanent identity cards in connection with their applications for HKSAR passports 

Q9. Do I need to pay for the identity card?

No fee is charged for identity cards issued to new arrivals and people reaching the age of 11 or 18.  However, fees are payable for the replacement of an identity card due to loss, damage, destruction, defacement or alteration of personal particulars.     

Q10. Where should I apply for an identity card?

You can apply at any Registration of Persons Office, with the following exceptions:

  • Arrivals from the Mainland holding One-way Permits must have their first registrations for Hong Kong identity card at the Registration of Persons – Kowloon Office
  • Workers who have arrived in Hong Kong under the Supplementary Labour Scheme must register for their identity cards at the Registration of Persons – Kwun Tong Office

Q11. What documents should be produced when I register for an adult identity card?

If you are a new arrival, you must produce your valid travel document, passport, entry permit, One-way Permit or affidavit showing your residential status in Hong Kong.

If you are a Hong Kong resident, you should produce your juvenile identity card or previous identity card. If you have never registered for a juvenile identity card, you should produce your birth certificate and proof of identity (e.g. a valid travel document or passport) or latest school document (bearing photo authenticated by the school, e.g. student handbook or school record card).  

When attending your application interview, you should produce the originals of your supporting documents for verification by the registration officer. 

Q12. What documents should be produced for the registration of identity card for children who attain the age of 11?

If you have attained the age of 11, you must apply for a juvenile identity card in the company of your parent or legal guardian. The accompanying adult must produce his or her valid travel document, passport or Hong Kong identity card. If you are accompanied by a legal guardian, that person must also produce documentary proof of the legal guardianship.

If you are a resident born in Hong Kong, you should produce your birth certificate, proof of identity (e.g. a valid travel document or passport) or latest school document (bearing photo authenticated by the school, e.g. student handbook or school record card) and previous identity card, if any.

If you are a resident born outside Hong Kong, you should produce your birth certificate, a valid travel document, passport, entry permit, One-way Permit or affidavit showing your residential status in Hong Kong, and previous identity card, if any.

When attending your application interview, you should produce the originals of your supporting documents for verification by the registration officer

Q13. If I have not replaced my old identity card under the Hong Kong Smart Identity Card Replacement Exercise, what should I do?

All the old identity cards issued before 23 June 2003 have been declared invalid with effect from 30 November 2008.  If you have not replaced your old identity card, you should make an appointment for the application at any of the Registration of Persons Offices.

In addition to the existing identity card and documents required for application, you may need to produce supporting documents for the reason of late application.  If you are not a permanent resident, you should also produce your travel document showing your condition of stay in Hong Kong.

Failure to apply for a new identity card within the specified call-up periods without reasonable excuse is an offence.  Offenders may be prosecuted and are liable to a fine of $5,000.  If you cannot have your identity card replaced during the specified periods due to your absence from Hong Kong, you should apply within 30 days of your return to Hong Kong.

Q14. I am a Hong Kong resident travelling in the Mainland with my Hong Kong Identity card and Home Visit Card, what should I do if I lost my travel documents?

If you are a Hong Kong resident and have lost your Hong Kong identity card and Home Visit Card while travelling in the Mainland, you should immediately report the loss to the public security authorities and obtain documentary proof of that report. With the documentary proof, you may approach the entry and exit department of the Public Security Bureau  in the Mainland or the China Travel Service office in Shenzhen for the issue of an Entry and Exit Permit to facilitate your departure from the Mainland. You may also contact the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Immigration Department through the 24-hour hotline (852) 1868 for assistance. The Immigration Department will provide information and advice according to your situation.

Q15. What should I do if my identity card is lost, destroyed, damaged or defaced?

If your identity card is lost, destroyed, damaged or defaced, you should report to any Registration of Persons Office and apply for a replacement within 14 days, or within 14 days of your return if it is lost or damaged outside Hong Kong. For replacement of damaged or defaced identity card, the identity card should be surrendered to the registration officer upon the application for replacement. A fee of HK$335 will be charged for the replacement of an identity card.

If you are under 18 years of age, you must be accompanied by your parent or legal guardian when applying for a replacement. The accompanying adult must produce his or her identity card. If you are accompanied by a legal guardian, that person must also produce documentary proof of the legal guardianship.

If you are under 11 years of age, you should produce your proof of identity (e.g. a valid travel document or passport) or latest school document (bearing photo authenticated by the school, e.g. student handbook or school record card) and one recent photograph (50 x 40 mm full face photo) if you are not taller than 90 cm.

When attending your application interview, you should produce the originals of your supporting documents for verification by the registration officer.

If you have recovered the lost identity card after submitting a replacement application or obtaining a replacement card, you should return the recovered card to the Registration of Persons Offices or police station immediately. 

Q16. After applying for an identity card, I will be issued with an acknowledgement of application for an identity card.  Can I use it for travelling through the Hong Kong immigration control points?

If you only hold an acknowledgement of application for an identity card and intend to travel, you are required under the law to produce a valid travel document, such as passport or Hong Kong Re-entry Permit, at Hong Kong immigration control points.

Q17. What should I do if I am unable to collect my identity card in person?

If you are unable to collect your identity card in person, you can authorise another person to collect it on your behalf. You should notify the registration officer at the time of registration and complete an authorisation form (ID678), which is available through the following link.

The authorised representative must have attained 18 years of age. Upon collection of the card, the authorised representative must produce his or her valid proof of identity e.g. Hong Kong identity card, passport or Hong Kong Re-entry Permit, your acknowledgement of application for an identity card and the completed authorisation form or your written authorisation plus proof of your signature.

Q18. What is the obligation of an identity card holder?

You must keep your card in proper condition, and carry it with you at all times after you have attained the age of 15 years. If the card is lost, destroyed, damaged or defaced, you must apply for a new card at a Registration of Persons Office within 14 days, or within 14 days of your return if it is lost or damaged outside Hong Kong. Recovered cards must be surrendered to a Registration of Persons Office or police station. 

Amendment of Registered Particulars

Q19. How can I update registered particulars that do not appear on my identity card (e.g. residential address, marital status)?

You should notify the Commissioner of Registration by letter or by using form ROP18. The completed form can be submitted by post or by email to eto_rop@immd.gov.hkmailto:eto_rop@immd.gov.hk using a digital certificate issued by a recognised certification authority.

Q20. How can I change the personal particulars that appear on my identity card?

If you need to change the personal particulars on your card, you should complete the application form (ROP73) and send it by post to the following address with copies of supporting documents. 

Registration of Persons General and Statistics Unit
12/F, Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Besides, you may submit the application form by email at eto_rop@immd.gov.hkmailto:eto_rop@immd.gov.hk.

Upon receipt of your application, the Registration of Persons Office will ask you to attend an interview to produce the originals of your supporting documents. If the application is approved, arrangements will be made to replace your identity card at a fee of HK$420. 

Q21. What documents should be produced for amendment of name, date of birth or place of birth on my identity card?

If you want to change your name, you should produce documents relating to your change of name such as deed poll, marriage certificate or travel document.

If you want to amend the date or place of your birth, you should produce relevant documents showing your correct date or place of birth such as household registration, notarial certificate or birth certificate. 

The supporting documents required are on a case-by-case basis depending on the types of amendment applications.

Q22. What procedures should be followed and what supporting documents should be submitted if I want to change the sex entry on my identity card?

Generally speaking, persons who have received different forms of treatments by professional psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, including psychotherapy, hormonal treatment and real-life experience of the chosen gender role for a period of time may be recommended for sex re-assignment surgery (SRS).

Persons who have undergone the above treatments and have completed SRS should follow the below procedures and submit application together with the relevant supporting documents to reflect their change of sex on their identity cards:

(a) produce a medical proof which should indicate that the following criteria for the completion of SRS are met:

   (i) for sex change from female to male

  • removal of the uterus and ovaries; and
  • construction of a penis or some form of a penis;

   (ii) for sex change from male to female

  • removal of the penis and testes; and
  • construction of a vagina;

(b) In general, the medical proof should be produced by the doctor who performed the SRS in accordance with the criteria as set out above;

(c) If the SRS was performed outside Hong Kong, the medical proof should carry the doctor’s medical qualification, place where the medical qualification is obtained and other contact information of the doctor;

(d) Where there are difficulties in obtaining the relevant medical proof from the doctor who performed the SRS outside Hong Kong, the applicant may request a Hong Kong registered doctor to give an assessment on the SRS that has been undergone;

(e) Please refer to the sample medical certificates which are available through the following link.

Other forms of medical proof used by medical practitioners may also be accepted when the relevant information supporting the application is contained; and

(f) Upon receipt of the relevant documents, consideration will be given to whether to allow amendment of the personal particular sought by an applicant having regard to the particular circumstances of the case.

Notes to applicants:

  1. Further information may be required for processing the applications depending on case circumstances.
  2. To ensure consistency in identity documents and avoid possible inconveniences, the applicant may be required to make corresponding changes to other identity documents (e.g. travel documents) as necessary.

Q23. Can I keep my old identity card as a souvenir?

No, you must return your existing identity card to the Registration of Persons Office for cancellation. Under the Registration of Persons Regulations, any person who possesses more than one identity card without reasonable excuse commits an offence and is liable to a fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for 2 years.

Certificate of Registered Particulars

Q24. What is a Certificate of Registered Particulars?

A Certificate of Registered Particulars is a document certifying the particulars, such as your name, alias, residential address, date of birth, place of birth, marital status and name of spouse (if any) that you furnished to the registration officer in your registration for an identity card.

A sample of Certificate of Registered Particulars is available through the following link.

Q25. How do I apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars for myself?

To apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars, you should complete the application form (ROP 122) available through the following link and apply in person at any Registration of Persons Office. The fee for the certificate is HK$385.

Q26. What should I do if I am unable to apply in person?

If you are unable to apply in person for health reasons, you should send your application by post to:

Registration of Persons General and Statistics Unit 12/F,
Immigration Tower 7 Gloucester Road Wan Chai,
Hong Kong

If required, you can appoint a representative to handle your application on your behalf.

The following must be included in your application:

  • A completed and signed application form ROP122
  • A copy of your identity card and that of the authorised person
  • A letter stating the reason for your application, and authorising a representative to handle the application and collect the Certificate of Registered Particulars. You should also note the following points:
  • The letter must contain the names and Hong Kong identity card numbers of both you and your representative, and the contact address and telephone number of your representative
  • You must sign the letter and affix onto it your left or right thumbprint, which must be complete and clear enough for verification. If you have not applied for a smart identity card before, you should only provide your left thumbprint
  • A certificate issued by a Hong Kong registered medical practitioner certifying your present health condition

The fee for the certificate is HK$385, which is payable upon collection. 

Q27. How can I apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars for myself if I live outside Hong Kong?

If you live outside Hong Kong, you should apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars by post to:

Registration of Persons General and Statistics Unit
12/F, Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

 The following must be included in your application:

  • A completed and signed application form ROP122
  • A copy of your Hong Kong identity card or travel document
  • A written and signed request containing the reason for your application, your name and Hong Kong identity card number. If you appoint a representative to collect the Certificate of Registered Particulars, please also specify on the written request the name, Hong Kong identity card number, contact address and telephone number of that representative. You should also note the following points:
  • The request should be affixed with a photograph (not larger than 60x50 mm or smaller than 50x40 mm) and your left or right thumbprint. If you have not applied for a smart identity card before, you should only provide your left thumbprint
  • The attached copy of your identity card or travel document, your photograph and thumbprint must be properly authenticated by a Notary Public of the country where you reside and clear enough for verification

The fee for the certificate is HK$385. Payment should be made by a crossed cheque payable to ‘The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’. If the cheque is not drawn on a bank in Hong Kong or not in Hong Kong dollars, an extra bank handling charge of HK$100 must be included.

Q28. How do I apply for a Certificate of Registered Particulars in respect of a Deceased Person?

Under the following circumstances, a Certificate of Registered Particulars in respect of a deceased person may be issued to the relative/next-of-kin of the deceased showing the particulars registered in the deceased person’s identity card records, such as his/her name, residential address, date of birth, place of birth, marital status and name of spouse:

  • For application of a Certificate of Entitlement for the deceased’s natural child; or
  • For burial arrangements or relocation of burial site for the deceased; or
  • For emigration arrangements; or
  • For administration of the deceased’s estate

Payment of fee must be made upon collection of the certificate. The fee for the certificate is HK$385. If the payment made by a crossed cheque is not drawn on a bank in Hong Kong or not in Hong Kong dollars, an extra bank handling charge of HK$100 must be included for each cheque.

Details of the application and supporting documents are available through the following link:

Certificate of Exemption

Q29. What is a Certificate of Exemption?

Under the Registration of Persons Regulations, the aged, the blind and the infirm who satisfy a registration officer that their personal attendance for the registration of Hong Kong identity card will injure their health or the health of others are not required to register or apply for the issue or renewal of an identity card. People who belong to one of these categories should apply for a Certificate of Exemption.

Q30. Can I apply for a Certificate of Exemption if I am not living in Hong Kong?

Under the Registration of Persons Ordinance and Registration of Persons Regulations, Cap. 177 and 177A, Laws of Hong Kong, only residents in Hong Kong aged 11 or above shall be required to register for an identity card. The aged, the blind or the infirm who satisfy a registration officer that their personal attendance for registration of Hong Kong identity cards will injure their health or the health of others are exempted from registration and may apply for a Certificate of Exemption. Since residents not residing in Hong Kong are not required to register for Hong Kong identity cards, they are not required to apply for the Certificate of Exemption.

Q31. What documents should be produced in applying for a Certificate of Exemption?

The application should be made in the form of a letter written by you or your representative (e.g. family member, relative, social worker from the Social Welfare Department, registered medical doctor looking after your case or supervisor of elderly  homes). The names, identity card numbers, contact address and telephone number of both you and your representative, the reason for the application and  the chosen Registration of Persons Office for collection of the certificate should be provided in the letter. Copies of the following documents should also be enclosed with the application:

  • A certificate issued by a medical practitioner registered in Hong Kong on your present health condition (not required if you are aged 70 or over)
  • A copy of your identity card
  • A recent photograph of you

Your application and supporting documents should be submitted to any Registration of Persons Office or sent by post to:

Registration of Persons General and Statistics Unit
12/F, Immigration Tower
7 Gloucester Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong 

If the application is approved, your old identity card should be returned to the Registration of Persons Office for cancellation upon collection of the certificate.  When your health permits, you should then apply for a smart identity card by returning the Certificate of Exemption to any Registration of Persons Office. 

Q32. Can I use the Certificate of Exemption for travel?

No, the Certificate of Exemption is not a travel document. You should use a valid travel document such as a passport or re-entry permit for travelling. 

Q33. If I hold a Certificate of Exemption, can I apply for an identity card when my health improves?

Yes, you can apply for an identity card any time by returning your Certificate of Exemption at any Registration of Persons Office when your health improves. 

Q34. What are the differences between a Certificate of Exemption and a smart identity card?

The differences between a Certificate of Exemption and a smart identity card are mainly as follows:

Personal information

Certificate of ExemptionSmart Identity Card
  • The following personal particulars are included in a Certificate of Exemption: name, date of birth reported and identity card number.
  • Holder’s photo is scanned onto the Certificate of Exemption.
  • The following personal particulars are included on an identity card: name, name in Chinese commercial code (if any), gender, date of birth and identity card number.
  • The holder’s photo is engraved into different layers of the identity card and stored in a ‘chip’.

 

 Material Used and Layout

Certificate of ExemptionSmart Identity Card
  • A5 size
  • Paper
  • Credit-card size
  • Made from polycarbonate
  • Embedded with a ‘chip’

Application Formalities

Certificate of ExemptionSmart Identity Card
  • You or your representative can apply in writing.
  • You must attend a Registration of Persons Office in person to apply.
  • Your old identity card (if any) must be returned for disposal.

Collection arrangements

Certificate of ExemptionSmart Identity Card
  • If the application is approved, you or your representative will be asked to collect the Certificate of Exemption at a specified office.
  • Your old identity card (if any) must be returned to the Registration of Persons Office for disposal.
  • You, or the person you authorise, should collect the new identity card at the Registration of Persons Office within the period specified on the acknowledgement of application for an identity card.

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