Macau–like Hong Kong–is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). That means it maintains separate legal and administrative systems from the PRC or mainland China. Visitors to both SARs do not need a visa to China in order to enter the territories.
Macau (Macao SAR) was formerly a Portuguese dependency, occupied by the Iberians since 1557. In 1999, it was turned over to the PRC, fulfilling the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration signed in 1987. Today, it enjoys a high level of autonomy under the policy of “one country, two systems”, and is governed by Macau Basic Law. Macau is set to retain this separate system until 2049–the end of its 50-year stint as an autonomous region.
With a vigorous economy and burgeoning opportunities, working and living in Macau has become very attractive. However, visa requirements might be a little confusing because it differs from country to country. If you intend to visit, live or work in Macau, read our guide below covering the basics of how to go about it.
Macau Visa Free Countries
A lot of common questions we get asked include if a Macau visa is required for say, an Indian passport holder (Answer: No), or “Is Macau visa-free for Filipinos?” (Answer: Yes). Today, passport-holders of these 76 countries can enter Macau visa-free:
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Japan||Russia|
|Brazil||Kingdom of Morocco||Samoa|
How long can you stay?
Generally, the limit of stay in the Macao SAR is a maximum of 30 days upon arrival, within 30 days before the expiry of your passport or travel document. However, this doesn’t apply to Mainland residents with PRC-issued permits. Check your entry status and conditions below with the relevant limit of stay:
Macau visa on arrival
Not listed in the visa-exempt countries above? You can apply for any of the following:
- Visa in advance at any Chinese embassy, consulate or diplomatic mission
- “Authorization to Enter and Stay” from the Macao Immigration Department
If your application is approved, you will be granted “Authorization to Stay” for a maximum of 30 days.
Visa in advance
The following six countries are not eligible for “visa-upon-arrival”, and are required to apply for visa in advance through a Chinese embassy or consulate:
- Sri Lanka
Exemptions to this rule cover the following, who are still eligible for “visa-upon-arrival” as long as they apply with their passport, diplomatic, consular identity or staff card when arriving in Macau:
- Consular officials stationed on Chinese territory
- Officials of various international organizations and their family
Macau Work Visa
Interested in working in Macau? In 2018, non-resident workers in the SAR rose by 4.3% to 188,321. In the same year, the total labor force was at 394,900, with “foreign” workers comprising 47.69%–almost half–of the labor force. This is in comparison to Macau’s population of 670,900, according to Macau’s Statistics and Census Bureau.
The “Non-resident Worker’s Card” essentially acts as the Macau employment visa. First, you must be offered a position by a company with a valid “employment authorization”. After securing a job with an authorized Macau employer, they or their licensed employment agency then needs to apply for a “Non-resident Worker’s Card” on your behalf.
All workers from countries and regions outside of Mainland China need to go through a formal examination and application process leading up to the approval of the Working Permit and card collection.
If you quit or have been fired, you can only remain in Macau for eight days under your permit, after which you will have to exit. You may re-enter as a tourist under any of the conditions mentioned above. However, if you have resided as an employee in the Macao SAR for less than six months, you can only stay for two days under the same permit, after which you need to leave and re-enter as a tourist.
We hope we helped to answer your pertinent questions regarding the Macau Visa Policy and Macau Work Visa rules! If you want more detailed information including student or domestic helper visas and more, you can check the government’s official website here.