The rules around quarantine and entry into Hong Kong have changed several times since the start of the pandemic, and continue to evolve.
Travelers may be subject to a mandatory quarantine at home or in a hotel, and/or be required to provide a current negative test report before boarding the plane.
Upon arriving in Hong Kong, all travelers receive a coronavirus test and are required to remain in the airport or at a designated holding center until the test comes back negative. (Passengers arriving in the afternoon/evening may be required to stay overnight in a government-arranged hotel.) Travelers receiving a negative result can proceed to quarantine, while travelers receiving a positive result are admitted to a hospital. In Hong Kong, close contacts of confirmed cases are required to quarantine in designated government facilities.
Quarantining travelers must keep a government-issued wristband on at all times and download a mobile app onto their smartphones. The app must remain running on the phone at all times and the traveler must scan the QR code on the wristband whenever requested by the app.
Quarantining travelers must keep a government-issued wristband on at all times and download a mobile app onto their smartphones.
- For current quarantine requirements, consult the government’s coronavirus website.
- The HK Quarantine Support Group on Facebook is an excellent source of information about what to expect when traveling to Hong Kong and during the quarantine period. Travelers who are self-quarantining can sign up for an “isolation buddy” through the group to help with essential errands, delivering groceries, etc.
- The US Consulate General’s website also has information for American citizens about COVID-19 policies in Hong Kong.
Home Country Consulates
There are over a hundred countries and territories with representative offices in Hong Kong.
US Consulate General in Hong Kong
US citizens can renew expired or replace lost passports, get notary service and register births of American children born in Hong Kong through the US Consulate General. The Consulate General can also offer some assistance in cases of arrest, serious illness or destitution.
All visits to the US Consulate General require an appointment. During busy periods, you may have to wait as long as an hour before seeing someone, regardless of the kind of inquiry.
The US Consulate General in Hong Kong accepts applications for passport renewal in person or by mail. (As of 2016, the State Department no longer adds visa pages into passports, so if all pages in your passport have been filled, you will need to apply for a new passport.) Citizens are required to bring either an original or copy of their social security card to all passport-related appointments, or to attach a copy if applying by mail.
An applicant must be present in Hong Kong or Macao with a mailing address to submit his/her current passport along with the application forms. The process of issuing a new passport normally takes around three weeks. The requirements for a new passport may vary each year depending on the person’s age and circumstances.
The consulate is closed on all US and Hong Kong public holidays.
26 Garden Road, Central
Tel: +852 2523 9011
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program allows US citizens to get in touch with their nearest embassy or consulate abroad. Upon registration, you will be able to receive important emails regarding safety conditions of the country/territory where you’re staying.
Hong Kong Smart Identity Card
The Hong Kong government requires anyone over the age of 11 who enters and intends to stay for more than 180 days to apply for a Hong Kong Smart Identity Card (ID) within 30 days of arrival.
Young people between the ages of 11 and 18 must have a Juvenile Identity Card, and people over 18 an Adult Identity Card. The smart HKID card has an embedded computer chip which stores your personal data.
Exceptions to this regulation include the following:
- The aged, the blind and the infirm who have been approved by the Commissioner of Registration for exemption; and
- Children under 11 years of age.
It is a punishable offense to not carry this card, so be sure to have it with you at all times. Police randomly stop over two million people a year on the streets to check their ID. More information on this practice can be found on the Hong Kong Police Force website.
It is a punishable offense to not carry this card, so be sure to have it with you at all times. Police randomly stop over two million people a year on the streets to check their ID.
Applying for a Smart Identity Card
You must apply for your ID card in person at any of the five Registration of Persons offices in Hong Kong. There is no charge for it. Bring the following original documents: valid travel document, entry permit, and affidavits (as appropriate) to confirm your residential status in Hong Kong.
It is advisable to book an appointment before you apply for your ID card. You can do this online and will need to enter the number of your travel document when making your appointment. If you lose your ID card, you will need to report the loss within 14 days and apply for a replacement card.
Application procedures and appointment bookings are available online through the Immigration Services section of the GovHK website.
Automated Immigration Clearance (e-Channel)
Once you have your Smart ID card, you can pass through immigration checkpoints much faster at the airport. Automated immigration clearance, commonly known as e-Channel, is installed at all immigration controls for people entering and departing Hong Kong. As long as you have a smart Hong Kong identity card, are aged 11 or above and are an eligible resident of Hong Kong, you can use the e-Channel document readers at the border for self-service immigration clearance. The quick, two-step process scans your identity card and fingerprint before issuing clearance.
The Macao Public Security Police Force and Immigration Department have introduced a reciprocal e-Channel system for Hong Kong and Macao residents. Eligible Hong Kong residents and Macao permanent residents may use the e-Channel in Macao after successful enrollment.
If you frequently travel to mainland China via Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau or Shenzhen Bay, you can enroll to use the express e-Channel offered at those immigration checkpoints.
Accessible Hong Kong
While accessibility standards in Hong Kong aren’t yet on par with those in other developed economies, barrier-free facilities and services are available at many of the city’s more established attractions, restaurants and accommodations.
Here are some useful resources on the topic:
- The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation provides a comprehensive guide to accessible facilities in Hong Kong.
- The Hong Kong Federation of Handicapped Youth offers more information on barrier free-restaurants and attractions in the city.
- The Transport Department provides a handy downloadable guide to public transport for people with disabilities, as well as information about parking and pedestrian crossing facilities for the visually impaired.