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Who is a Non-Local Student?

A student holding one of the following documents is considered as a non-local student:

A non-local student is not allowed to pursue part-time research postgraduate studies (MPhil/PhD) in Hong Kong.


Applying for Student Visa
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Who Needs Student Visa/ Entry Permit?

Most non-local students are required to obtain a student visa (or entry permit for students from the Mainland of China, Macao and Taiwan) for studying in Hong Kong. If you are from the Mainland of China, you must apply for an entry permit via HKUST. If you are from Taiwan, Macao or an overseas country, it is the simplest and most straightforward for you to apply for a student visa/ entry permit via HKUST.

For students currently studying in Hong Kong (including HKUST), you will have to submit an application for the new program of study at HKUST.

However, you don’t need the student visa/ entry permit if you have one of the following for the period of study:

In case you are unsure whether you need a student visa/ entry permit or not, please check the FAQs or check with HKSAR Immigration Department (IMMD) [phone: (852) 2824 6111; email:].


Steps for Student Visa/ Entry Permit Application via HKUST

1. Accept the Admission Offer Online

2. Log in to the HKUST Visa System via the Online Admission System. Applicants with an accepted offer should find the link to the Visa System in the Application Summary or Offer Details page.

  • Application period:
    • Fall admission: March or soonest possible
    • Spring admission: mid-October or soonest possible
  • Download relevant forms for completion.
  • Settle the fee of HK$550 which covers the fee charged by IMMD and cost for forwarding the visa/ entry permit label.

3. Send Visa Application to HKUST

  • Send the completed Visa Application Form together with supporting documents as listed in the Visa System by courier. Use the mailing cover available in the Visa System for the submission.

4. HKUST Submits Your Application to IMMD

  • Upon receipt of a properly filed application, the University will act as your sponsor, monitor the application progress and update the online visa application status.
  • After IMMD approval, the University will advise you to download the e-Visa for entry to Hong Kong for study.

(Note: No need to pay the visa fee for downloading the e-Visa. The University will settle the fee on your behalf.)

5. Before Coming to Hong Kong

  • Ensure that your admission offer is confirmed.
    (the Online Admission System should show “Offer confirmed – pending program registration”.)
  • If you are from Mainland China, you will have to complete additional steps at your home province after receiving the entry permit which may take another two weeks.

6. Activate the Visa Label upon Entry to Hong Kong 


Application Timeline

Visa application takes time. You are advised to arrive at HKUST two weeks before the program begins and you are allowed to register as a student only if you have obtained the student visa/ entry permit. The earlier you apply, the higher confidence level that you will receive the visa label in time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will not be able to register as a student if you fail to obtain the student visa/ entry permit in time.


MPhil, PhD, MSc, MA, MPM, MPP, PGD
Fall Admission: March or soonest possible
Spring Admission: Mid-October or soonest possible
Exchange Program, PG Visiting Student Program and Visiting Internship
Apply right after you have accepted the admission offer
DBA, EMBA, MBA, HKUST-NYU MSc in Global Finance
Respective program office will advise you the details separately

It is important to submit your application early to ensure that you can obtain the visa/ entry permit in time for program commencement. 

The following shows the rough timeline based on our past experience. This is for reference purpose only. The processing and approval processes rest with the HKSAR Immigration Department (IMMD) and situation may vary from case to case.


Properly Completed Visa Application submitted by Student in : Expected Visa Issuance from the Hong Kong Immigration Department in : 
March, April and Early May June
Late May July
June Mid-August
July Mid to late August