Application for society registration or exemption from society registration
A local society or its branches must apply to the Societies Officer for registration or exemption from registration within 1 month of its establishment. The application must be signed by 3 office-bearers and include details of -
(a) the name of the society;
(b) the objects of the society;
(c) the particulars of the office-bearers of the society; and
(d) the address of the principal place of business of the society and of every place or premises owned or occupied by the society.
Objects of the Society
Objects should be given in as much detail as possible. Further details can be given by indicating the activities which the Society has held or planning to hold.
You are required to submit the constitution, articles of association or minutes of a meeting, to establish and show the objects and purposes of the Society.
You are required to provide relevant qualification(s) of the office-bearers to support the objects and the Society name.
Society’s Principal Place of Business / Correspondence Address
The Principal Place of Business must be an address in Hong Kong. It will be shown on the Certificate of Registration of a Society or Certificate of Exemption from Registration of a Society and open for public inspection.
Copy of a utility bill (Water Supply, Electricity or Town Gas) or bank statement or letter from any HKSAR Government department (other than Hong Kong Police) within the last 3 months to prove the Society’s principal place of business / correspondence address.
If the society is using a premises occupied by any person other than the office-bearers, a consent letter from the lawful occupier of the premises is required. The consent letter shall be signed and dated with the full name of such occupier and his/her HKID card or other valid identity document copy; if the premises is occupied by a company, the consent letter shall be signed by the person managing such company and bore the full name and post of such signatory and the company chop.
Post office box is not acceptable as a place of business of a society. However, it is acceptable to be considered as a correspondence address for the society.
Establishment of the Society
A society is deemed to be established in Hong Kong if:
(a) any of its office-bearers or members resides in Hong Kong or is present therein; or
(b) if any persons in Hong Kong manages or assists in the management of such society or solicits or collects money or subscription in its behalf.
No society shall be deemed to be so established, if and so long as -
(a) it is organized and is operating wholly outside Hong Kong; and
(b) no office, place of business or place of meeting is maintained or used in Hong Kong by such society or by any person in its behalf; and
(c) no register of members of such society is kept in Hong Kong; and
(d) no subscriptions are collected or solicited in Hong Kong by the society or by any person in its behalf.
Office-Bearers of the Society
Application requires the particulars and signature of 3 office-bearers. There may be more than 3 office-bearers.
One of the office-bearers (e.g. chairperson) must be the person-in-charge of the society. The rest may be the vice-chairman, treasurer, or secretary.
The particulars of office-bearers must be completed in full, signed and to be returned to the Societies Office with clear copies of their HKID cards or other valid identity documents.
Office-bearers are required to provide their respective correspondence addresses in Hong Kong (unless his/ her address has been used as the principal place of business of the society).
Organization may register under the Societies Ordinance
Any organization established in Hong Kong can be registered as a society under the Societies Ordinance, unless it is already registered under other ordinances. An organization, depending on its objectives, nature and operations, may decide to register under any appropriate regulation.
Application for registration of a society or exemption from registration
Any association wishing to apply for registration as a society or exemption from registration under the Societies Ordinance must submit an application form to the Police Licensing Office within one month of its establishment together with following supporting documents:
(a) Consent letter for the name of the society (if applicable);
(b) Copies of HKID Cards or other valid identity documents of all office-bearers;
(c) Constitution, articles of association or minutes of a meeting to establish the society and which show the objects and purposes of the society, and endorsed by all office-bearers;
(d) Proof of Address of the Society’s Principal Place of Business / Correspondence Address;
(e) Consent letter with clear copy of HKID card or other valid identity document from the lawful occupier of the Society’s Principal Place of Business / Correspondence Address (if applicable);
(f) Relevant qualification of the office-bearers (e.g. certificate or photos of activities attended/held); and
(g) Activities Held / Proposed to be held by the Society with details (including date, venue and activity’s particulars).
The application form can be downloaded here.
Online application may be made via here.
Difference between registration of a society and exemption from registration
Societies established solely for religious, charitable, social or recreational purposes, or as a rural committee or federation or other association of rural committees, may apply for an exemption from registration. However, the application procedure and legal obligations for registered and exempt societies are the same.
Number of persons to apply for society registration or exemption from registration
The application for registration of a society must be signed by three office-bearers. The information of office-bearers must be completed, signed, and returned to the Societies Office of the Police Licensing Office together with copies of the Hong Kong Identity Cards or other valid identity documents (if not the holder of the Hong Kong Identity Cards). The office-bearers must provide a personal correspondence address separate from the society's address and telephone number for record and contact purposes. The office-bearers are required to provide their respective telephone numbers and correspondence addresses in Hong Kong (unless his/her address is used as the principal place of business of the society). The address can be a residential address or a business address in Hong Kong.
Time taken to process an application for registration of a society / exemption from registration
It is generally 12 working days, provided that sufficient information has been submitted with the application
When the Societies Office has finished processed the application for registration or exemption from registration, the society concerned will receive an acknowledgement together with the "Certificate of Registration of a Society" or "Certificate of Exemption from Registration of a Society".
A registered/exempted society will be given a reference number beginning with "REF.CP/LIC/SO/19/" or "REF.CP/SR/19/", which can be found on the upper or lower left corner of the Certificate of Registration or Certificate of Exemption from Registration of a Society.
No fees are payable for the application for registration or exemption from registration of a society.
For enquiries, please contact us.