Hong Kong has a number of travel restrictions in place to combat COVID-19. Find out how these affect passengers visiting the special administrative region.
Is Hong Kong open to foreign travelers?
Since February 2020, Hong Kong has been somewhat isolated from the rest of the world due to its rigorous quarantine regulations following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
18 months on and with some international travel starting to resume once again, you might wonder if it’s possible to visit the famous city and region right now. However, whilst the situation there is relatively stable there are still strict rules controlling the borders of Hong Kong at the moment.
What is the situation in Hong Kong at the moment?
Hong Kong has a zero COVID policy and has placed tight controls on travel to and from the Special Administrative Region (SAR). This has kept case numbers and fatalities very low over the last year and a half since the pandemic started.
However, this has come at the expense of international travel and tourism to the region. With worries about the Delta variant and its effect on the population, the government has been slow to open up HK for overseas visitors once again.
What do travelers need to visit Hong Kong?
To visit Hong Kong most visitors need a visa and valid passport with more than 6 months before its expiry date. For the majority of nationalities this can be granted on arrival.
However, there are some countries where citizens will need to organize travel authorization and fit to fly certificate in advance. This is also the case if they plan to make a stop off in HK to travel to another destination, as a Hong Kong transit visa will be necessary.
Beyond following the rules on quarantine and protection against COVID-19, you’ll need to make sure you comply with the right requirements in place for your nationality.
Restrictions on arriving passengers
There are currently limits on who may travel to Hong Kong due to the pandemic.
All passengers arriving in Hong Kong currently have to undergo quarantine for a length of time, depending on where they are traveling from. Also, in the case of high risk countries with large volumes of case numbers or with variants of concern circulating, only fully vaccinated travelers or Hong Kong residents are allowed to enter at all.
Before arriving, all passengers must complete an online form to provide a Health and Quarantine Declaration. This asks travelers to provide their contact details and to report any symptoms of COVID that they have been experiencing.
As well as the requirements above, you will also need to take a PCR test within 72 hours before departing for Hong Kong.
Quarantine for travelers arriving in Hong Kong
There is a strict quarantine when travelers arrive in the region. This requires most people to undergo around 2 weeks of isolation and take a number of compulsory COVID PCR tests.
However, If you arrive from a country on the region’s high risk list, you will need to have a reservation for 21 days in a Designated Quarantine Hotels (DQH) when entering Hong Kong. During isolation, you’ll also need to test negative for 4 COVID PCR tests and self monitor in the first few days after leaving quarantine.
To comply with the vaccination requirements in place in HK right now you must make sure you’ve had your shots from a vaccine recognized by the local government. Otherwise, you won’t be regarded as fully vaccinated even if you’ve received your shots.
Hong Kong currently recognizes vaccines produced by the following manufacturers:
Local restrictions inside Hong Kong
Once you’ve arrived in Hong Kong and left quarantine there are also local safety regulations you’ll need to follow.
As in many places across Asia, it is necessary to wear a mask in most public places except when outdoors in country parks. Social distancing rules also limit gatherings to no more than 4 people in HK.
Bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues are open in the region, although they are subject to restrictions on opening hours and capacity. Live events are also subject to short notice cancellation.
It’s tricky but not impossible to visit Hong Kong right now. There are many rules to follow before you’ll be able to explore the city and surrounding region to any great extent, but tourists are permitted to enter all the same.
However, it’s crucial to make sure to check the specific rules for your departure country and whether other measures have been introduced at short notice before you travel.
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