Hong Kong Police Clearance is one of the documents required of a US immigration visa applicant who has worked and lived in Hong Kong.
Years ago, my sister worked in Hong Kong, so now that she’s processing her US immigrant visa, she needs to submit a police clearance from the Hong Kong Police Force, in addition to other requirements like NBI Clearance also from here.
Since my sister now lives in the Philippines, she needs to submit her documents to the Hong Kong Police by post or by courier. It should include the processing fee in a HK$ demand draft. As of June 2020, the fee is HK$225.
The problem now, as other US visa applicants know, is how to get a HK$ demand draft in the Philippines. We’ve asked BDO, Metrobank, BPI, and PNB — these are the Philippine banks that have operations in Hong Kong, and where we have accounts, but to our frustration, they no longer issue HK$ demand drafts.
In previous years, these banks issued HK$ demand drafts, based on online forums and blogs. But they’ve stopped issuing. Maybe they’re concerned about the movement of the Hong Kong dollar exchange rate through the current political developments in Hong Kong, or maybe issuing KH$ demand drafts is no longer profitable to them or doesn’t give them any marketing benefit.
So what are the other options in paying for a Hong Kong Police Clearance?
1. Find someone you know who has a checking account in a Hong Kong-based bank and who can issue a personal check or who can apply for a cashier’s check worth HK$ 225 for you.
Pero kalimitan naman na kakilala natin sa Hong Kong ay mga OFW, at ilang OFWs ang merong checking account sa Hong Kong? Magtse-checking account ba sila eh agad nga nilang pinapadala sa Pilipinas ang kita nila.
2. Find a trusted friend or relative in Hong Kong who can travel to Wanchai to submit your application documents in person and pay the processing fee of 225 Hong Kong Dollars in CASH.
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, hindi na allowed ang walk-in sa Hong Kong Police, so kelangan ang advance appointment. Make sure na yong representative mo ay hindi under quarantine during that time. Yong payment is not in cash. Dapat gumamit ng Octopus card, a popular e-money card in Hong Kong, which can be loaded easily at any 7-11 branch or other participating stores.
3. Send a demand draft in US dollars. PNB, BDO, Metrobank, BPI and other big banks issue demand drafts in US dollars. But the banks require that you have an existing US dollar account with them, and has been existing for at least 6 months. Ayaw nila kapag peso account ang gagamitin mo. At doon ka sa branch mo mag-request.
The Hong Kong Police state in their online FAQ page that when there’s no way you can get a HK$ demand draft, you can send them a US$ demand draft.
But they have a warning! If the exchange rate at that time they receive your application, and the fee charged by the Philippine branch in Hong Kong or the clearing bank in another country reduces the money you’ve sent to less than the required HK$225, your application will either be returned or put in a pending box.
Here’s the exact instructions from the Hong Kong Police:
“As currency conversion is involved and the additional handling fee varies from one bank to another, please check with the bank and top up the payable amount of the cheque accordingly.
The overall processing time may be longer than four calendar weeks due to the additional time required by the bank to handle the currency conversion matters.”
They suggest adding an extra amount of at least HK$100 for the processing of the US dollar demand draft. Total will be HK$325.
With the exchange rate of 1 US dollar to around 7 HK dollars, you can send a demand draft worth US$47, or if you want to be sure, send a demand draft worth US$55 to US$60.
And we encountered another problem when we requested a US dollar demand draft from BDO. They require the TIN of the payee. SOP daw nila yon. Ang payee is The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Meron bang TIN ang sovereign government? Halimbawa sa atin, meron bang TIN ang Republic of the Philippines? I researched and found out na yong mga LGUs meron din TIN at saka yong mga departments and other governmental agencies, pero yong Philippine government ba meron?
Yong Hong Kong government ba ay merong TIN?
Mahaba na itong post, so if you need to know how we solved this problem, please just comment below.