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

What does the change mean? The first phase of the replacement program will cover existing smart identity card holders according to the following schedule:

Category 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
  • Implementation time frame: Nov. 26 for certain applicants. Dec. 27, 2018 – June 1, 2019 for the first phase of the replacement program.
  • Visas/permits affected: Hong Kong identity cards (HKICs).
  • Business impact: Expatriate employees should be aware of the replacement program and apply to replace their existing cards during the application period corresponding to their age group.
  • Next steps: 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 enhance convenience and efficiency, beginning Oct. 29, the Immigration Department will also introduce online appointment-booking and electronic forms, and will release a mobile app 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.

Analysis & Comments: Expatriate residents and their family members should be aware of the replacement program. Individuals may additionally bring two elderly friends or family members (born in 1954 or earlier) to apply for replacement with them during their eligible replacement period. Residents who are abroad during their eligible replacement period will have 30 days after they return to Hong Kong to apply for replacement of their cards.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.