Due to the pandemic, it has become harder to travel across borders. Much of this is due to Covid-19 restrictions which can greatly vary depending on which country you intend to visit. The varying restrictions is often informed by concerns such as the emergence of new strains and a growing number of infected persons. As the infection rates do tend to fluctuate, it is important to verify travel requirements shortly before you travel as advisories can quickly be changed.
Those travelling to Hong Kong may do so for various reasons including work, pleasure or schooling. Unless you have the right of abode or right to land in Hong Kong, you are required to have a visa or entry permit to visit. Keep in mind however that all this is still subject to immigration officials who have the right to refuse entry. Here are the general requirements for foreigners.
General Travel Requirements for Hong Kong
Some nationalities may qualify for a visa-free period which may vary depending on your country of origin. If you are intending to stay longer than the visa-free period that applies to your country, then you will need to apply for a visa. This visa-free period may vary anywhere between 7 to 90 days. Some other countries are required to apply for a visa through their local Chinese embassy, no matter how long the duration of their stay.
Besides a visa, all visitors to Hong Kong are required to have a valid passport. Depending on nationality, you may be required to have at least one to six months of validity on the passport, past the duration of the intended stay.
Where a visa is required, one must ensure they have adequate funds to support their stay in Hong Kong without working. It is also necessary to ensure your bona fides are not in doubt and that you have an onward ticket to your destination, unless it is Mainland China or Macao.
You may apply for your visa through the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate, or the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Immigration department. If applying to the immigration department, you can do so via post or through a local sponsor. You may also help expedite the process by faxing your documents to the immigration office but you must still send the original documents via airmail.
It may take as long as a month for your application to be processed once you have submitted all the required documentation and applicable visa fees. A visa or entry permit will then be issued at the discretion of the immigration office.
Once you have acquired your visa or entry permit, if applicable, you will then need to ensure you comply with the most current travel requirements.
Current Travel Advisories
Visitors should be aware that there are currently quarantine measures in place. This applies to all transit or transfer passengers from overseas destinations and Taiwan. Before travel, ensure that you:
- Acquire a negative PCR-based Covid-19 test.
- Confirm your room reservation in a designated quarantine hotel (DQH).
- Have been fully vaccinated, with a recognised vaccination record, if applicable.
Fill and submit a health declaration form which will generate a QR code you are required to show when going through immigration. The QR code is valid for 48 hours if arriving at Hong Kong International Airport and valid for 24 hours if arriving through a land control point.
Note that boarding and quarantine requirements may vary depending on what destination you are travelling from. Also, depending on where you are travelling from, if fully vaccinated and being accompanied by children that are 11 years old or younger, you may qualify, under certain conditions, for early release from quarantine.
If you do qualify, you will still however need to undertake at least 7 days of quarantine in a designated quarantine hotel and undertake self-monitoring during the subsequent 7 days. You will also need to undertake a professionally administered PCR-based test on the 12th day from arrival.
All travellers are required to comply with quarantine measures upon arrival. If fully vaccinated, you will need to undergo a compulsory 14-day quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel. You will undergo two tests during this period. This will be a PCR-based test on the 5th and 12th days, besides daily rapid antigen tests (RATs).
Travellers that are not fully vaccinated must undergo a compulsory 17-day quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel. These travellers will undergo three tests during this duration.
Those returning from Mainland China and Macao may undergo their quarantine at home or other designated places.
To be considered fully vaccinated, a traveller will have been administered their full dose of the approved Covid-19 vaccine and surpassed 14 days since the final dose.
Those that have recovered from the Covid-19 infection must have taken at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, at least 14 days before travel to be considered fully vaccinated.
Children aged from 12 to 17 who have received at least one dose of the Comirnaty vaccine, at least 14 days before travel are considered to have complied with vaccination, boarding and quarantine requirements. Children that are 11 years and younger and are yet to be vaccinated, will have to undergo the same quarantine and testing as the adult accompanying them.
If a traveller tests positive for the Covid-19 virus during their stay, they will be admitted to a public hospital for isolation and treatment. This applies irrespective of whether or not you display symptoms.
Other Covid-19 Related Regulations
Be aware that there are still Covid-19 related regulations you will need to abide by during the duration of your stay. This includes:
- Social distancing
- Mandatory wearing of masks in most public areas, including public transport
- No group gatherings of more than two people
Also, there may still be restrictions on the operating hours of restaurants/businesses. Please keep an eye on the recent news in order to be up to date with the latest restrictions.