Ultimate Leaving Hong Kong Checklist

by SavvyinHK
October 23, 2020

Leaving Hong Kong? Here’s the ultimate leaving Hong Kong checklist.

Hong Kong is your home for now, but there’s possibly a time you’ll need to kiss the city goodbye.

Leaving a city where you’ve lived for a few years and possibly even raised kids can create rather a somber mood. You’ve got to bid farewell to the people you’ve built connections with whilst also dealing with the logistics of getting to another city. 

Nearly three million people who live in Hong Kong were born somewhere else, be they ex-pats, students, or those who came for love. Coming and going from this city is rather commonplace. 

The longer you’ve been here, the harder it is to leave. But we’re here to help with our leaving Hong Kong checklist.

If you’ve had to move away from a city before, you’ll know all about the challenges.

Hopefully, we’re going to make the process of moving away from Hong Kong a little easier with this leaving Hong Kong checklist, covering;

  • Things to do before you leave Hong Kong
  • How to sort out your tax before leaving Hong Kong
  • How to withdraw your MPF before leaving  Hong Kong
  • Other burning questions you’ll need answering


What should be on my leaving Hong Kong admin checklist? 

We have created a leaving Hong Kong checklist. It is a jam-packed list of all the things you need to consider before leaving Hong Kong.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Of course, everyone’s life will be different, and your departure from Hong Kong will look different from the next person’s, but there are plenty of commonalities.

Here is a leaving Hong Kong checklist, which contains items that most people will have to consider doing.

  • Withdraw your MPF 
  • Finish up your taxes
  • Hand back your HK ID card
  • Give notice on your apartment lease or sell up.
  • Part ways with your helper – be compassionate and be sure to understand the rules on this one.
  • Sell your car
  • Get rid of furniture and other unwanted items.
  • Organize a moving company 
  • Cancel your insurance policies and get a refund where possible
  • Disconnect your utilities such as water, gas, electricity, internet
  • Organize post redirection; use the mail redirection service provided by Honk Kong post.
  • Bank accounts – determine if you need to close any or if you can still access from abroad.
  • Gym memberships – can you cancel the balance, or perhaps you need to consider transferring the membership to someone else?
  • Schools – if you have kids in school in Hong Kong, you’ll need to let the schools know.


What is the tax process when I leave Hong Kong?

Your employer will inform the Inland Revenue of your final salary.  You will need to fill the IR56G form at the Revenue Tower and personally notify the Inland Revenue of your leaving date at least a month before you go.

They’ll be able to calculate if money is owed to you or them – always keep your fingers crossed for a little rebate! Once you’ve spoken with the tax folk, you’ll get a green tax form to complete and return within 14 days.

If you’re self-employed in Hong Kong, still make sure you tell Inland Revenue just the same; you don’t want to be getting bills once you’re gone. To get the full details of everything you need to cover tax-wise before you head off, here’s the website for the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).


Paying salary tax is a key item on your leaving Hong Kong checklist.

If you're leaving Hong Kong, you don't want to be held up at the gates because of unpaid taxes. Sort out all your paper, including taxes, before you leave. Check out our leaving Hong Kong checklist for other important items not to forget.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

As well as you contacting Inland Revenue about your imminent departure, your employer will also get in touch with them.

Your salary will be held until you get a letter of release. 

When it comes to money, here’s everything you need to think about before you go: 

  • Contact the IRD one month before you leave if you pay tax on your salary.
  • Let the IRD know about any property sale and file a tax return for any rental income you make.
  • File a tax return for any businesses you’re winding up when you leave Hong Kong.

In terms of your employers, your HR department should know exactly what to do. With so many ex-pats making their home here, it’s unlikely you’re the first foreigner who’s been through their doors.

Briefly, this is what’ll happen:

  1. Your employer will withhold your salary and any other payments after the IRD has been informed through the IR56G.
  2. After taxes have been settled, the IRD will issue a release letter, and your boss can release your final payments.
  3. If taxes aren’t settled, the IRD will issue an IR113 to the employer to pay all the withheld money to them.
  4. Your former employer should keep the documents about your employment, such as your letter of employment, resignation letter, visa details, and other details if the IRD wants to perform a check.


When I leave Hong Kong, how do I get back my MPF?

If you're leaving Hong Kong, don't forget about your MPF. This is a critical item on your leaving Hong Kong checklist. You have probably accumulated some money in your MPF funds, consider applying to withdraw this if you don't intend on coming back to Hong Kong.

If you’re earning a wage in Hong Kong, you can expect that MPF has been regularly deducted from your salary.

This money is supposed to be put aside and saved for your retirement here – pretty standard practice in many countries.

What happens to your MPF when you’re leaving Hong Kong? If you have no plans to come back to Hong Kong, you can withdraw the money you’ve built up whilst living here. 

First, head to the Public Enquiry Service Centre to confirm you’re leaving the city.  You’ll need to fill in forms to claim back your mandatory provident fund (MPF).

Once you’re at the Public Enquiry Service Centre, they will give you the necessary documents. So, fill these papers in to be sent off to your MPF provider.

Next, you need actually to get your cash from your pension fund.

To do this, you need to send to your fund provider:  

  • A copy of the HKID
  • Proof you’re leaving the country.
  • A copy of your passport
  • A forwarding address

You can expect to see your money land into your bank about one month after you leave.  

You should note, you only get to withdraw your MPF once; if you get posted back to Hong Kong or take a different job in Hong Kong at any other point, you’ll have to wait until you retire to withdraw any further money. 


Leaving Hong Kong Checklist – FAQs

My employer is proposing unpaid leave, is this right?

No one wants to take unpaid leave, especially right before you’re moving countries. 

You probably can’t be forced to take unpaid leave; it’ll be likely to be in breach of your contract. Check your contract thoroughly, and if there’s a lot of money at stake, you can consider seeking legal advice. 


Can I leave Hong Kong without paying taxes?

Paying taxes associated with salary isn’t negotiable with the government.

Don’t try and get away without paying your dues. The IRD may flag your passport, so you get all kinds of problems when you try to fly out. There are fines to pay, plus you’ll still owe taxes.

A criminal record isn’t a good look anywhere in the world. 


How do I end the tenancy on my rented apartment when I’m leaving Hong Kong? 

Your home is probably the biggest financial commitment you have in Hong Kong. Moving out and moving on needs to be managed gently. 

Check over your contract and understand the terms you agreed to. You’ll have a notice period to give to your landlord, possibly cleaning obligations, and you’ll need to agree to the return of your deposit. 

If you own your apartment, contact an estate agent as soon as possible to start the ball rolling to sell up. You can also consider renting out your apartment when you leave.  


How do I cancel my utilities when I’m leaving Hong Kong?

Remember when you were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed when you first landed in Hong Kong? Back in those heady days, you paid pretty sizeable deposits for your utilities like electricity, water, gas, and the internet

Get in touch with your suppliers, tell them you’re leaving, and organize to settle things up. It’s generally a simple process, and you can plan these weeks or even months before leaving Hong Kong. 


When should I book a moving company?

If you're know that you're leaving Hong Kong, reach out to multiple moving companies and start getting some quotes. The earlier you start this process the better.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Moving companies like to know they’ve got work coming in. If you approach them ahead of time, you should be able to get a better price for your move when you’re leaving Hong Kong.

If you book more than a month in advance, you should see your price for a removal company drop significantly. 

Check out our full guide to moving companies and the prices you can expect to pay. 


I’m creating my leaving Hong Kong admin checklist, but what belongs on my Hong Kong bucket list?

If you're leaving Hong Kong, consider going out on Victoria Harbor once more. Take in the sights from one of the beautiful junks.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Living in a place is heaps different from being a tourist.

Being a visitor can be fun, though. Seeing the city you’ve called home through the eyes of a stranger can be invigorating and will allow you to make some great memories, too. 

We’ve got a whole article covering what places and activities belong on your bucket list; here’s a taster, and don’t forget to check out the full article:

  • The Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha – on one of the largest islands in the city and home to the world’s largest sitting Buddha statue, the beautiful view of the city is a sight to behold, and there are some great hikes. 
  • The tram to Victoria Peak – surely you’ve done this already? Well, go again because it’s a great view and no two days are the same. Your Insta will love you for it. 
  • Hike in Kam Shan County Park – filled with wild macaques and other wildlife, is a side of Hong Kong. It’s easy to forget exists. 
  • Wan Chai District – Soak in the culture one last time, with old buildings and boutique stores. 

Creating a bucket list is critical if you know you’re leaving Hong Kong; use our bucket list guide to create your own.


Can I add something fun to my leaving Hong Kong checklist?

If you're leaving Hong Kong, take the time to get your hands on some cool Hong Kong artwork so that you can remember Hong Kong in your new home.

We’re sure you have a very full list of leaving Hong Kong checklist items to do before you go. But if you have time, consider checking out some local stores that sell some really cool Hong Kong-themed artwork.

You may not be focused on this now, but can you imagine just how much you would love to have some Hong Kong artwork on your walls in your new home in your new country?

We have an entire article dedicated to our favorite stores for buying Hong Kong themed-presents. Perhaps you should even consider buying an item or two for people that have helped you during your time in Hong Kong? This is one leaving Hong Kong checklist item that you don’t want to forget doing; you will be sure to regret it later.


What’s the best way to get rid of unwanted items when leaving Hong Kong? 

Look up from your screen – how much stuff around you and under you do you own? Not everything can go with you.

It’s not worth paying the shipping for a lot of your things, especially your IKEA basics. Disposing of your furniture and clothes is yet another task to tackle when leaving Hong Kong.

But even though you might feel this is just an annoying item on your leaving Hong Kong checklist, this is one chore, which, if done well, could either help people in need or potentially generate you some cash.

Either way, it’s important not to put perfectly good items in landfills.

You can either:

  • Sell your stuff
  • Give it away to friends.
  • Donate it to charity

You’ll probably do a mix of all three before leaving Hong Kong.

For lists of places that will take or even buy your old furniture, we pulled all the information that you’d need together in this one handy article. Let us know if we’ve missed a trick anywhere. 



It ain’t ever easy saying goodbye, but with a concise leaving Hong Kong checklist, hopefully, you’re feeling a little better. 

Having supported countless friends through their departure from Hong Kong, we’ve created the best leaving Hong Kong checklist. All of our knowledge and experience has been put into this leaving Hong Kong checklist.

Hopefully, now your move will be much easier, and hopefully, you’ve got some processes in place. If you’re looking for a complete guide on leaving Hong Kong, check out the Conclusive Guide to Leaving Hong Kong.

We hope our handy guides on the best moving companies in Hong Kong, disposing of furniture, selling second-hand cars will help you enjoy your last hurrahs across the metropolis. 

If you think we’ve missed out on any topics on leaving Hong Kong checklist, or you have any questions, please reach out to Savvy In Hong Kong or drop us a message in the comments section below. 


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