Hong-Kong – Covid-19 – Immigration update

To check the real time evolutions concerning international mobility all over of the world, discover the GoWork – COVID-19 Digital Card.

Update: November 16th, 2020

New travel scheme for Hong Kong residents returning from Guangdong Province or Macao (Return2hk Scheme)

What is the change?

  • Hong Kong residents who have not been to places other than Hong Kong, Guangdong Province, or Macao in the past 14 days prior to or upon the day of arrival in Hong Kong may be exempted from the 14-day compulsory quarantine requirement when returning to Hong Kong under the Return2hk Scheme. They will need to reserve a quota through an online booking system (to be launched on 18 November 2020 at 9 a.m.) and comply with requirements for the COVID-19 test, electronic health declaration, and other entry procedures. For more details, please refer to the link below.

Singapore Air Travel Bubble to launch on 22 November 2020

What is the change?

  • Under the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble arrangement, travellers between the Hong Kong and Singapore will not be subject to any quarantine arrangements upon arrival, or restrictions on their travel itineraries on the condition that they comply with a set of protocols. More details on the requirements for travel to Hong, travel to Singapore, and other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be found in the link below.

Update: September 30th, 2020

Updated list of specified high risk places

What is the change?

Under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap.599H), travellers from high risk places are to meet specified conditions before boarding a flight to Hong Kong. With effect from 1 October 2020 until further notice, the list of high risk places–which currently includes Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, and US–will also be updated to include the UK. For more information on the requirements for inbound travellers from these high risk places, please refer to the link below.

Update: September 09th, 2020

Immigration Department service arrangements

What is the change?

The Immigration Department (ImmD) has announced that except for passenger immigration clearance services, the ImmD will resume full public services on 7 September 2020.

To avoid the gathering of crowds, the ImmD appeals to applicants to submit applications through its homepage or its mobile application, by post or by drop-in. Members of the public who have previously made appointments may proceed to the relevant offices/registries/Smart Identity Card Replacement Centres without the need to make another appointment.

To shorten the waiting time, those without appointments should make one prior to their visit. In accordance with regulations implemented by the Government, persons entering the premises of ImmD are also required to wear masks.

For the Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise, the ImmD will be revising the designated replacement schedule, and will announce further details in due course.

Update: July 28th, 2020

Government announces tightening of testing and quarantine arrangement for exempted persons

What is the change?

The Government has announced that the crew change arrangement for passenger vessels and goods vessels without cargo operation in Hong Kong will be suspended with effect from 29 July 2020. The testing and quarantine arrangement for sea crew members of goods vessels coming to Hong Kong for cargo operation, air crew members, and other persons exempted from quarantine requirement (exempted persons) arriving at Hong Kong will also be tightened. For the full list of details, please refer to the link below.

Immigration Department implements limited public services

What is the change?

The government has limited in-person transactions to essential and emergency services until at least 2nd August.

Key Points:

  • The Immigration Department (ImmD) is directing individuals who do not need to submit applications in person to submit them via post, drop-in, online or mobile app.

The full list of services available this week is located here

The ImmD has limited services in recent weeks in response to an uptick in COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong.

Update: July 27th, 2020

COVID-19: Entry regulations introduced for travelers coming from ‘high-risk’ countries

What is the change?

Effective July 25, travelers coming from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa and, effective July 29, travelers from the U.S. and Kazakhstan, will have to adhere to entry regulations for travelers coming from “high-risk” countries.

Key Points:

  • Travelers coming from these countries or who have spent any time in any of these countries during the 14 days prior to their boarding a flight for Hong Kong must have the following:
    • Letter or certificate in English or Chinese issued by a laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant traveler to show that: (a) the traveler underwent a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 within 72 hours before the scheduled time of departure of the flight; (b) the test conducted on the sample is a nucleic acid test for COVID-19; (c) the result of the test is negative for COVID-19.
    • The original of the report for the test issued by the laboratory or healthcare institution bearing the name and identity card or passport number of the relevant traveler.
    • Letter in English or Chinese issued by the relevant authority of the government of the place in which the laboratory or healthcare institution is located certifying that the government recognizes the laboratory or healthcare institution.
    • The traveler has confirmation in English or Chinese of a room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for not less than 14 days starting on the day of arrival in Hong Kong.
  • Before arriving in Hong Kong, the operator of the aircraft should submit to the Department of Health (DH) a specified form confirming that each relevant traveler has produced the above documents before checking in for the flight to Hong Kong.
  • If any of the conditions specified by Secretary for Food and Health (SFH) is not met in relation to any traveler, each of the operators of the flight is liable on conviction to the maximum penalty of a HK$50,000 fine and imprisonment for six months. If an operator fails to comply with a requirement to provide information, or knowingly or recklessly provides any information that is false or misleading, he or she is liable on conviction to the maximum penalty of a HK$50,000 fine and imprisonment for six months.
  • If a traveler coming to Hong Kong fails to comply with a requirement to provide information, or knowingly or recklessly provides any information that is false or misleading, he or she is liable on conviction to the maximum penalty of a HK$10,000 fine and imprisonment for six months.

Update: July 16th, 2020

Tightening of disease control and prevention measures

What is the change?

In view of the development and severity of the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong, the Government will require inbound travellers from specific high-risk places, or who have been to high-risk places the past 14 days, to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result from a recognised laboratory before arriving in Hong Kong. If the conditions are not met, the Government may prohibit the aircraft from landing in Hong Kong, or prohibit the vessel from entering or staying in the waters of Hong Kong.

Furthermore, the Government will require all persons in Hong Kong to wear a mask at all times when boarding or on board public transport carriers, and when entering or present in Mass Transit Railway (MTR) paid areas with effect from 15 July 2020. For more information on the public transport carriers covered by the regulation, please click here.

To view the additional social distancing measures that have been introduced, including the reduction in the number of persons allowed in group gatherings in public places from 50 to 4, please click here.

Update: July 10th, 2020

Enhanced COVID-19 requirements for crew members of aircraft and cargo vessels

What is the change?

With effect from 8 July 2020, crew members of aircraft vessels, who are currently considered as one of the categories of persons exempted from the compulsory quarantine requirement, will be required to provide saliva samples from the throat for COVID-19 testing purposes at the AsiaWorld-Expo upon arrival. In addition, crew members of cargo vessels will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test report at their departure port prior to their arrival at Hong Kong in order to be exempted from the compulsory quarantine requirement.

Update: July 7th, 2020

Exemption from Compulsory Quarantine Arrangement for inbound travellers from the Mainland, Macao or Taiwan

What is the change?

The Government of the Hong Kong SAR has released updates to the categories of persons that the Chief Secretary for Administration may designate for exemption from the existing Compulsory Quarantine Arrangement of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C). More details on the 32 categories of persons who meet this definition can be found in the link below.

Update: July 3 rd, 2020

Government announces latest disease prevention measures

What is the change?

Hong Kong has extended the 14-day quarantine requirements for inbound travellers from Mainland, Macao, and Taiwan from 7 July 2020 to 7 August 2020. The Government is currently working closely with the relevant authorities of the Guangdong Province and the Macao Special Administrative Region on the mutual recognition of test results and mutual exemption from compulsory quarantine requirements. Subject to the situation, the Government will consider relaxing restrictions on the cross-boundary movement of people amongst the three places within certain limits in order to facilitate those with essential needs to travel between Guangdong and Hong Kong or between Hong Kong and Macao.

Update: June 22nd, 2020

Government strengthens testing for inbound travellers from Beijing

What is the change?

In response to the latest COVID-19 situation in Beijing, testing has been strengthened for inbound travellers from Beijing. From 17 June 2020, the Department of Health (DH) has been distributing specimen bottles to persons exempted from compulsory quarantine who had travelled to Beijing 14 days prior to arrival at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). They should collect saliva sample from their throat at home in accordance with the instructions, and deliver it to one of the collection points in the same morning while undergoing medical surveillance at the same time.

As for land control points, those who have been to Beijing in the past 14 days must possess proof of a negative test result for a COVID-19 nucleic acid test taken within the past seven days. Those who are not exempted persons will be subjected to a compulsory quarantine for 14 days at a designated place (home or other accommodation), while exempted persons will be subjected to medical surveillance upon arrival at Hong Kong. For the sake of prudence, those with travel history to Beijing 14 days prior to arrival at Hong Kong via land control points (applies to all inbound travellers including exempted persons) will also be given specimen bottles for COVID-19 testing, and will be required to collect and submit their saliva samples from their throat according to instructions.

Update: May 11th, 2020

Smart Identity Card Replacement Centers opening, new call up program

What is the change?

Hong Kong recently announced the reopening of Smart Identity Card Replacement Centers and a new call up program.

Key points:

  • All Smart Identity Card Replacement Centers at Annex 1 will reopen for full services on May 11.
  • Previously, to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, the replacement of Hong Kong identity cards was suspended at nine Smart Identity Card Replacement Centers by the Immigration Department. In order to help individuals impacted by the suspension to replace their identity cards, the Secretary for Security made the following revisions:

Eligible persons

Revised application period

Holders of existing Hong Kong identity cards born in 1957, 1958 or 1959

November 16, 2019 – July 27, 2020

Holders of existing Hong Kong identity cards born in 1960 or 1961, and members of the sixth term of District Councils

February 18 – July 27, 2020

Holders of existing Hong Kong identity cards born in 1962 or 1963

July 28 – September 22, 2020

Holders of existing Hong Kong identity cards born in 1970, 1971 or 1972

September 23 – December 7, 2020

Holders of existing Hong Kong identity cards born in 1973 or 1974

December 8, 2020 – January 28, 2021

Holders of existing Hong Kong identity cards born in 1975 or 1976

January 29 – March 19, 2021

  • In the event the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong worsens, officials may move to suspend the replacing of identity cards again. If this is the case, and all nine Smart Identity Card Replacement Centers are not open for 21 days during the period May 11 to July 27, the revised application periods listed in the table will be extended or amended and the Immigration Department will make announcement in advance as far as possible through various channels to inform the public of the latest arrangement.
  • Applicants who have not yet made appointments are to do so using the website, the 24-hour phone booking service at 2121 1234 or by using the Immigration Department’s mobile app.

Last week, the Hong Kong Immigration Department announced that it had resumed most public services, with the exception of the Smart Identity Card Replacement Centers.

The Smart Identity Card Replacement Centers reopening and the new call up program will allow many people in Hong Kong to replace their identity cards with greater ease.

Update: May 5th, 2020

Immigration Department (ImmD) services arrangements

What is the change?

The ImmD has announced that except for its Smart Identity Card Replacement Centres (SIDCCs) service and passenger immigration clearance service, the Department have resumed full public services on Monday, 4 May 2020.

To avoid large gatherings of people, the ImmD appeals to applicants who are not required to visit its offices in person for applications to submit their applications by post, drop-in, online, or through the mobile application. Members of the public who have appointments previously may proceed to relevant offices/registries without making another appointment. To shorten the waiting time for services, those without appointments should make one prior to their visit.

In accordance with existing arrangements, passenger immigration clearance services, except at the Hong Kong International Airport, Shenzhen Bay, and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Control Points, will remain suspended until further notice. The operating hours of passenger clearance services at the Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Control Points have also been adjusted with effect from 3 April 2020 and 5 April 2020 respectively until further notice:

  • Shenzhen Bay Control Point: Operating hours of all passenger clearance services have been adjusted to 10.00 a.m.–8.00 p.m. daily. Operating hours for cargo clearance will remain unchanged (i.e., from 6.30 a.m.–12.00 a.m. daily).
  • Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Control Point: Operating hours of the Passenger Clearance Building (i.e., for passengers travelling on cross-boundary coaches and shuttle buses) have been adjusted to 10.00 a.m.–8.00 p.m. daily, and operating hours for the clearance of private cars have been adjusted to 6.00 a.m.–10.00 p.m. daily. Cargo clearance will remain operating 24 hours daily.

COVID-19: Most immigration services now available

What is the change?

The Hong Kong Immigration Department has resumed most public services, with only Smart ID Card Replacement services and passenger immigration inspection services remaining suspended at this time.

Key Points:

  • Most Immigration Department services were available as of Monday, May 4. Authorities urged applicants to submit applications by mail, online or via a mobile application when possible. Those who have appointments are permitted to proceed to the relevant office. Those who do not have appointments have been asked to book an appointment before visiting an office in order to reduce wait times.
  • Hong Kong’s nine Smart ID replacement centers remain closed at this time. Those who missed a deadline to apply for a new Smart ID or who have not been able to pick up their Smart ID because of the COVID-19 pandemic will be asked to make an appointment to do so after normal services resume. Additional information is expected soon.
  • Passenger immigration clearance services remain suspended at all entry points except for the Hong Kong International Airport, Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge control points. Visit this website for information on the times during which customs clearance services are available at the Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge control points.

The resumption of most normal immigration services is welcome news, though delays should be expected. Applicants are reminded to submit applications by mail, online or via a mobile app when possible and to book appointments before visiting immigration offices.

Update: April 30th, 2020

Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong (Amendment) (No.2) Regulation 2020 gazetted

What is the change?

The Government has published the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong (Amendment) (No.2) Regulation 2020 (the Amendment Regulation), which will commence at 12.00 a.m. on 29 April 2020.

Under the Amendment, the expiry date for the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C) has been extended to 7 June 2020.

The Amendment also allows for broadening the exemptions of person or category of persons from the compulsory quarantine arrangement. Specifically, the Amendment Regulation will further empower the Chief Secretary for Administration to exempt persons fulfilling the following criteria from compulsory quarantine (including all persons arriving from the Mainland, Macao, and Taiwan):

  1. Persons who need to enter Hong Kong in receiving or providing nursery, kindergarten, primary, or secondary education at any school registered under the Education Ordinance (Cap. 279) in Hong Kong or for the safe travelling of these persons for the abovementioned purpose, including cross-boundary students and related personnel and service providers.
  2. Persons whose travelling is necessary for purposes relating to manufacturing operations, business activities, or the provision of professional services in the interest of Hong Kong’s economic development.

Details on the exemption arrangements (including applications for exemption) will be announced in due course. Exempted persons will be subject to medical surveillance by the Department of Health (DH) during their stay in Hong Kong, and will be required to wear masks and report their daily temperatures to the DH.

The Director of Health has also been empowered to, at appropriate time, cancel the quarantine orders against persons arriving from the Mainland or Macao if they can fulfil certain criteria (including producing a certificate of completion for a quarantine period of not less than 14 days in the Mainland or Macao) and are tested negative for COVID-19. The relevant authorities are currently discussing these measures. For the initial stage, the focus will be on the joint prevention and control of COVID-19 with the Guangdong and Macao authorities. Details of the arrangement, including the exact date of implementation, will be announced later

Update: April 24th, 2020

Government enhances testing arrangements for asymptomatic inbound travellers

What is the change?

With effect from 22 April 2020, all asymptomatic inbound travellers arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) will be required to wait for their test results at a designated location after their deep throat saliva samples have been collected for COVID-19 testing by the Department of Health (DH)’s Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) located at AsiaWorld-Expo.

Depending on the time of arrival, and other considerations for infection control, crowd control, and required testing times, the DH will arrange for asymptomatic inbound travellers who need to wait for test results overnight to be temporarily accommodated at the DH Holding Centre for Test Result (HCTR) set up in the Regal Oriental Hotel.

The DH will issue quarantine orders to all passengers arriving at the HKIA, and electronic wristbands will also be arranged for them. According to quarantine orders, those staying at the DH HCTR shall not leave their hotel rooms or move around in the hotel. Leaving designated rooms will be regarded as a breach of the quarantine order and constitutes a criminal offence. Offenders are subject to a maximum imprisonment for six months and fine of HK$25,000.

Update: April 10th, 2020

Adjusted operating hours of passenger clearance services at Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Port

What is the change?

With effect from 5 April until further notice, the operating hours of passenger clearance services at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Port will be adjusted as follows:

  • Operating hours of passengers clearance services at the Passenger Clearance Building (i.e., clearance for passengers crossing the boundary by cross-boundary coaches and shuttle buses) will be shortened to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; and
  • Operating hours for the clearance for private cars will be shortened to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

The operating hours for cargo clearance will remain unchanged (i.e., 24 hours daily).

Passengers travelling between Zhuhai and Hong Kong or between Macao and Hong Kong are reminded to allow for sufficient travel time to ensure that they can reach the Port within operating hours to complete the immigration procedures.

Update: March 19th, 2020

Travelers from all foreign countries and territories are subject to compulsory quarantine

What is the change?

Hong Kong has launched a compulsory quarantine program for travelers from all foreign countries and territories in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Key Points:

  • Anyone who has stayed in a foreign country or territory in the past 14 days, regardless of nationality or travel document, will be subject to compulsory quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in Hong Kong.
  • Those subject to quarantine will either be quarantined at a place determined by an authorized officer or at a place requested by the person arriving in Hong Kong, depending on the circumstances. They will also be required to wear a smart wristband so that their whereabouts could be checked.
  • Exemptions are available for air crew, sea crew on goods vessels, government officials, experts engaged in fighting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, those providing materials for carrying out home quarantine and a limited number of others. The full list of exemptions is available here.
  • Some who are subject to quarantine may be tested for the COVID-19 virus.
  • The quarantine program will be in place for three months until June 18.

Hong Kong established compulsory quarantine for anyone traveling from Mainland China, or who have been to Mainland China in the past 14 days from Feb. 8. This order remains in place. When taken together with the new quarantine for anyone traveling from any foreign country or territory, this means that only people traveling to Hong Kong from Macau or Taiwan will not be subject to quarantine.

The change represents Hong Kong’s most significant move yet to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Employers are advised to account for affected travelers and rearrange travel schedules accordingly. The penalties for failing to follow quarantine rules are stiff, including fines of up to HK$25,000 or six months’ imprisonment.

Update: March 17th, 2020

Health quarantine expanded to include travelers from all parts of the world

What is the change?

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced that beginning Thursday (March 19), travelers from all parts of the world other than Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan will be subject to 14-day home quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong’s COVID-19 entry restrictions is summed up as follows:

  • Quarantine center. Travelers who have been in Iran or certain parts of Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto) and South Korea (Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do) in the past 14 days are required to stay in a quarantine center for 14 days after arrival.
  • Home quarantine. Beginning March 19, travelers who have been anywhere other than Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan in the 14 days before entering Hong Kong.
  • Quarantine measures announced earlier for travelers arriving in Hong Kong who have been to Mainland China in the past 14 days remain unchanged.

Currently, mandatory home quarantine is limited to travelers who have been in the Schengen Area, South Korea and Hokkaido in Japan. This requirement was set to be expanded to travelers who have been in Egypt, Ireland, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States from March 19. Lam announced today that mandatory home quarantine would be expanded to all travelers except those coming from Mainland China, Macau and Taiwan .

The change represents Hong Kong’s most significant move yet to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Employers are advised to account for affected travelers and rearrange travel schedules accordingly.

Diane Artis

Diane Artis, Avocat Associée, possède plus de 20 années d’expérience dans le domaine de la fiscalité personnelle. Elle assiste quotidiennement les grands groupes internationaux dans le cadre de leur politique […]

Sophie Carlei

Sophie est Directeur au sein de l’équipe Mobilité Internationale de Lyon et dirige l’équipe immigration. Elle conseille les groupes français et internationaux et intervient tant pour des clients travaillant dans le domaine […]

Photo de Fatia Bouteiller
Fatia Bouteiller

Fatia Bouteiller a rejoint Taj en 2017 pour renforcer l’équipe Immigration. Fatia dispose d’une expérience de 15 ans en mobilité internationale dans les domaines du droit de l’immigration, de l’expatriation […]