Studies of mechanisms responsible for the persistence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection have been hindered by a lack of appropriate animal models. HBV genomes can be delivered to livers of mice using hydrodynamic injection or high doses of an adenoviral vector; these lead to clearance of HBV. We found that infection of immunocompetent mice with low doses of an adenoviral vector resulted in persistent HBV infection; the mice neither underwent seroconversion to production of antibodies against HBV nor developed a strong HBV-specific effector T-cell response. As in patients with chronic HBV infection, DNA vaccination failed to generate T cells that cleared infection. This model of persistent HBV infection could be used to study the pathogenesis of chronic HBV infection and develop new therapeutic strategies.