Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in immunocompetent adults usually results in a self-limited, transient liver disease and viral clearance, with only a small percentage (5 to 10%) developing chronic hepatitis associated with viral persistence. In contrast, when neonates are infected, more than 90% become persistently infected, suffering differing degrees of chronic liver disease. Activation of immunity plays a central role in host-virus interactions, greatly influencing viral replication and the clinical outcome of infection. Although all of the specific mechanisms and consequences of this interaction have not been elucidated, the purpose of this article is to describe the basic arms of the immune system as they interact with the HBV and describe the present state of knowledge in this area. These arms may be divided broadly into innate and specific immune responses, and they have different roles and responses in acute and chronic infection.