Guided by the “opportunity–propensity” (O‐P) framework, this study explores how immigrant status might affect students’ civic knowledge through an antecedent factor (socioeconomic status [SES]), opportunity factors (civic learning at school and civic participation at school), and propensity factors (perceived open classroom climate, perceived student–teacher relationship, and perceived importance of conventional citizenship). The data were taken from the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2016. The sample comprised 2,544 eighth graders from Hong Kong. Results of two‐level path analysis showed that, at the student level, mainland Chinese immigrant grant students had a higher level of civic knowledge. Although perceived open classroom climate and perceived importance of conventional citizenship were found to be two positive mediators and family SES (via civic learning at school) was a negative mediator, the mediation effects at the student level were quite small. In contrast, quite a large amount of variance was explained at the school level: School‐aggregated immigrant status was positively linked to school‐aggregated civic knowledge and negatively via school‐aggregated students’ family SES via school‐aggregated civic learning. Copyright © 2019 The Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.