Any foreigner who has been ordinarily residing in Hong Kong for more than 7 years could apply for the Right of Abode in Hong Kong. This is also known as the Hong Kong Permanent Resident application, or application for Verification of Eligibility for Permanent Identity Card.
The key consideration of the Right of Abode applications is that the foreigner is required to be continuously living in Hong Kong for not less than 7 years immediately before filing the Right of Abode application, and such person has already taken Hong Kong as his / her only place of domicile, and would continue to reside in Hong Kong for the near foreseeable future.
Though Hong Kong Immigration Department would have movement records of all individuals, the burden of proof is rested with the applicants. The following situations will affect a permanent resident (Right of Abode) application:
1. Any period of “continuous absence” for more than 6 months during the 7 years.
2. Any period of “aggregate absence” for more than 6 months in any particular year during the 7 years.
3. Any period of not holding a resident visa (i.e. having a visa gap / was on a visitor status) during the 7 years.
After the approval of a permanent resident (Right of Abode) status, the permanent resident cannot be absent from Hong Kong for more than 3 years, otherwise the permanent resident (Right of Abode) status would be lost.
The above only describes the situation for foreigners to obtain the Right of Abode status in Hong Kong. There are many other situations which might qualify a person of a Chinese descent to obtain the Right of Abode status (e.g. by inheritance). However, those situations are usually more complicated and require in-depth study of each individual’s case.