Hong Kong is a welcoming world destination and offers many options for gaining travel authorization to enter the country such as the Hong Kong PAR. However, to maintain safety and security in the Special Administrative Region (SAR), Hong Kong has various active travel restrictions that affect a number of foreign nationals.
This article analyzes who cannot travel to Hong Kong as a tourist and what rules visitors must follow to enter the country. It also looks carefully at a few of the travel restrictions that the SAR has put in place to combat COVID-19 Coronavirus and where foreign nationals could encounter stricter rules and regulations on their journey.
Is Hong Kong a Safe Place to Visit?
Hong Kong may have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, nevertheless, it is a very safe travel destination. The Special Administrative Region is home to excellent healthcare, an ultra-modern, fast transport network and a low crime rate for a city of its size. It has one of the lowest murder rates in the world.
Which Nationalities Cannot Travel to Hong Kong Due to Coronavirus
Due to its proximity to the original outbreak of COVID-19 novel coronavirus Hong Kong has put strict rules in place to prevent the risk of infection. At this time some foreign visitors may not travel to its borders. This is likely to remain in place while the spread of the coronavirus remains a risk.
Travelers who have visited an affected region within the previous 2 weeks before arriving in Hong Kong will face restrictions on arrival. At present these constraints can include being placed in 14-day compulsory quarantine or being barred from entering Hong Kong SAR.
The countries and regions that are currently restricted from traveling to Hong Kong as of March 14th include:
- China: Hubei Province
- South Korea
- Japan: Hokkaido
- Spain: La Rioja, Madrid, Pais Vasco
- Germany: North Rhine-Westphalia
- France: Bourgogones-Franche-Comté, Grand-Est
Currently, any visas or other travel authorizations issued for nationals of these countries and regions are currently suspended. The issuing of new visas to these nationals is also subject to cancellation.
What Coronavirus Precautions Should Foreign Travelers to Hong Kong Take?
Travelers visiting from unaffected or unrestricted areas should still take necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. The WHO recommends taking the following action:
- Wear a face mask
- Keep away from infected individuals (by standing at least 1 meter away)
- Frequently sanitize your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands
- Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow
- Seek immediate medical attention if you start experiencing symptoms such as fever, a persistent cough or breathing difficulties.
It is safe to travel to Hong Kong during the coronavirus outbreak if you are visiting from a region unaffected by COVID-19. Although, foreign visitors are advised to keep up to date with news and developments on the subject as this information may change at short notice.
Traveling to Hong Kong From Mainland China
In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak of 2020 in Wuhan all but 2 land borders with Mainland China have been closed. As of February 2020 foreign visitors can enter Hong Kong on land via the following entry points:
- Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
- Shenzhen Bay
Visitors may still arrive in the Special Administrative Region from China via Hong Kong International Airport. However, the number of flights from the mainland has been reduced due to COVID-19.
Train services to Hong Kong from Shenzhen and the rest of the People’s Republic of China have also been limited due to the closure of West Kowloon station, which serves this route into the Chinese state.
Further to this, all visitors arriving from mainland China who have been to Hubei province less than 14 days before arriving in Hong Kong, may not enter under the current regulations. This also applies to Chinese residents who have national ID cards issued in the province.
Does Hong Kong Have Other Active Travel Restrictions for Foreign Visitors?
Many nationalities can enter Hong Kong visa-free, with a Pre-Arrival Registration (PAR) document or a valid Visitor Visa. However, restrictions do exist for hundreds of foreign citizens around the world.
At present, passports issued by the Republic of Kosovo cannot be used to enter Hong Kong. Kosovan visitors with dual nationality can, however, enter with an alternative passport issued in their name.
Additionally, foreign visitors are expected to adhere to the immigration guidelines of Hong Kong by possessing the following items when entering the country:
- A valid national passport
- A valid visa or PAR (if visa-free rules do not apply for your nationality)
Further to this, travelers must respect the laws regarding customs and excise in Hong Kong. Travelers bringing the following prohibited items into the country face the travel risk of being arrested and/or barred from entry into the SAR:
- Illegal drugs
- Meat and poultry
- Mace spray
Visitors are also required to declare any cash or financial instruments in their possession exceeding HK$120,000 in value when entering or exiting the region.
Hong Kong is a secure, modern and popular place to visit. However, it is important to follow all the region’s immigration laws and security rules to enjoy a safe and enjoyable stay. Travelers visiting Hong Kong are advised to remember the following tourism essentials for their trip:
- Purchase comprehensive travel health insurance
- Bring sufficient funds to cover your stay
- Book accommodation in advance
- Organize visas and travel authorization prior to your departure