As the severity and extent of the Covid-19 pandemic change, so the rules for entering Hong Kong are adjusted to ensure a balance between managing the local situation well and making sure we’re not shutting people out of the city.
Countries are grouped into three categories: high (A), medium (B), and low risk (C).
All arrivals must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, a hotel reservation confirmation for the required length of quarantine, and a vaccination record. Note that the vaccination record requirements are more stringent for Group A arrivals. That is, tavellers arriving from a high-risk country must show vaccination records issued in Hong Kong, mainland China, Macao; by an authority or institution recognized by the World Health Organization, mainland China, or Macao; or by an authority or recognised institution of a country with bilateral vaccination record recognition agreement with Hong Kong. The rules for arrivals from Groups B and C are more flexible: vaccination records issued in Group B and C countries are accepted.
Update on Aug 18: The government has announced stricter quarantine and testing requirements, which will take effect at midnight on 20 August 2021. At a glance, the changes are that Group A travellers must now undergo 6 tests during quarantine instead of 4, and then one more on the 26th day of arrival; Group B travellers no longer qualify for a 7-day quarantine under any circumstances; Group C travellers who are not vaccinated must now undergo 4 tests during quarantine instead of 3, and then two more during self-monitoring.
Here are Hong Kong’s current entry rules summarized in infographic form:
Rules for high-risk countries (Group A)
Places classified as high-risk are Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Malaysia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and the UK.
- Entry elibility: Only vaccinated Hong Kong residents are allowed to enter the city from high-risk countries. Accompanying, unvaccinated children under 12 may also enter.
- Quarantine length: Must quarantine for the full 21 days.
- Testing requirements: Six Covid-19 tests during quarantine; another test at a community testing centre (CTC) on the 26th day after arrival.
Rules for medium-risk countries (Group B)
Places classified as medium risk are all countries other than China, Australia, and those in Groups A and C.
- Entry eligibility: Residents (regardless of vaccination status) and fully vaccinated non-residents may enter from medium-risk countries.
- Quarantine length: Fully vaccinated non-residents and residents must quarantine for 14 days and then self-monitor at home for 7 days. Non-vaccinated residents must quarantine for 21 days.
- Testing requirements: Four Covid-19 tests during quarantine; another two on the 16th and 19th days of arrival, with the final being conducted at a CTC.
Rules for low-risk countries (Group C)
The only country classified as low-risk is New Zealand.
- Entry eligibility: Regardless of vaccination status, non-residents and residents may enter from low-risk countries.
- Quarantine length: If you’re not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to quarantine for 14 days. If you’re fully vaccinated, you’ll need to quarantine for 7 days. Both groups must also self-monitor at home for 7 days after leaving the quarantine hotel.
- Testing requirements: If you’re not fully vaccinated, you need to undergo four Covid-19 tests during quarantine and then two more during self-monitoring. If you’re fully vaccinated, you need to undergo two tests during quarantine, and then two more during self-monitoring. The two post-quarantine hotel tests must be taken on the 16th and 19th days after arrival, and the final test must be done at a CTC.
Rules for Mainland China & Macau
Restrictions for Chinese and Macau travellers are being heightened to prevent the spread of the Delta variant in Hong Kong.
Starting from 4 August at midnight, except for travellers from Guangdong, incoming travellers from the mainland must undergo a 14-day home quarantine. Previously, travellers from these two areas were exempt from mandatory quarantine under the Return2HK scheme.
Entries must be booked online and there’s a daily entry quota. There are 3000 entries via Shenzhen Bay Control Point and 2000 entries via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge per day.
Who is eligible for the 7-day quarantine?
Arrivals from low-risk countries may do one week of quarantine if they’re fully vaccinated; no need to have an antibody test result. Previously, arrivals from medium-risk countries could have their quarantine periods shortened to 7 days if they possessed an antibody test result, but this test is to be completely disregarded starting 20 August.
What are the rules for transits/layovers?
If you’re transiting through another country before you arrive in Hong Kong and your layover is longer than two hours, you are considered as having stayed in that country even if you haven’t passed through immigration. This means you must comply with Hong Kong’s entry rules regarding that country, not your country of origin.
This is also true for the 21 days leading up to your flight to Hong Kong. If you’re staying in a Group B or C country, but travel to and stay in any country with a higher risk status longer than two hours in the three weeks before you depart for Hong Kong, you do not qualify for the shorter quarantine specified for Group B and C countries.
What are the quarantine rules for unvaccinated children?
Children under 12 who are not vaccinated and accompanying fully vaccinated travellers coming from Group B and C countries may go home to complete their quarantine after their guardians finish their own mandatory hotel quarantine. That is, if the child’s guardian only needs to do 7 or 14 days of quarantine, the child can leave the quarantine hotel with them and finish the rest of their quarantine period (21 days if coming from Group B place, 14 days if coming from Group C place) at home.
What does it mean to ‘self-monitor’ at home?
Under the 7 day ‘self-monitoring’ period, you are free to move around but strongly recommended to socially distance yourself as much as you can. The official suggestions are to monitor your overall health at home, avoiding social gatherings as much as possible, staying in a separate room if living with others, wearing a mask if you interact with people in your household, and seeking medical attention if you start to develop symptoms.
How are countries categorized into Groups A, B, and C?
The government takes into factor countries’ testing rate, vaccination rate, volume of travellers, and number of cases imported to Hong Kong. When a new travel or quarantine rule is announced, it usually comes into effect within a week.
What are the rules for Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs)?
On August 26, the government announced that domestic helpers from the Philippines and Indonesia, who are fully vaccinated can come to work from Group A countries, starting from August 30. All helpers must present a recognized vaccination record, a valid employment visa, a negative test for COVID-19 and a confirmation of room reservation at a DQF (Designated Quarantine Facility), for not less than 21 nights.
At the moment, Silka Tsuen Wan is the only hotel included in the DQF program (409 rooms) and reservation can start from August 27. The government remings that employers should not book tickets for their FDHs until they have successfully reserved rooms in a DQF. More details in the official announcement below.
Note: The information in this article is sourced from the latest notices released by the Hong Kong government:
- Foreign domestic helpers who were fully vaccinated in Indonesia or the Philippines may come to work in Hong Kong from August 26.
- Vaccination record requirements adjusted from August 20.
- Government announces that quarantine for arrivals from medium-risk countries can be shortened to 14 days at most from August 17.
- Government tightens quarantine requirements for persons arriving from 16 overseas places from August 16.
- Government tightens border control measures to build anti-epidemic barrier from August 3.
Other interesting websites and groups that may be helpful to inbound travellers:
- Quarantine for Inbound Travellers – Frequently Asked Questions (coronavirus.gov.hk).
- HK Quarantine Support Group (Facebook).