The Hong Kong government has imposed travel restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, especially on international arrivals. So, if you’re thinking of travelling to the city, you’ll need to keep up to date with the latest requirements for who can enter, what documentation you need to have in order to board your flight, and the government’s Covid-19 testing schedule. The HK HUB gives you the lowdown on everything you need to do before you depart for the 852.
#1 – Check if you can enter Hong Kong
Starting May 1, all non-residents can enter Hong Kong irrespective of where they have been in the 14 days leading up to their arrival in the city.
#2 – Do I need to book a quarantine hotel?
From September 26, there will be no more hotel quarantine in Hong Kong for inbound travellers. They will instead have to undergo a three-day medical surveillance period – either at home or a hotel of their own choosing – during which they will get one of two health codes, depending on the results of the PCR test they take at the airport. If they test negative for Covid-19, they will get an amber code that will prevent them from going to crowded public places where they could spread the virus. If they test positive for the virus, they will get a red code and must isolate at home, at a facility or a hospital, depending on the severity of their symptoms.
Arrivals from the Mainland and Macau will no longer have to undergo home quarantine from September 26.
#3 – What to remember when booking your flight?
The five-day flight on flights that brought a certain number of Covid-positive passengers into Hong Kong was suspended on July 7. Inbound travellers can now book flights into the city without worrying about the risk of their flights getting cancelled or rescheduled. In addition, starting July 10, passengers can transit via Singapore to enter Hong Kong.
#4 – Do you have to be vaccinated?
Vaccination requirements differ based on where you’re travelling from.
- International arrivals: Starting May 1, residents and non-residents are allowed to enter from overseas places (i.e. all places other than China and Taiwan). Unvaccinated residents can arrive in the city from September 26, but they will not be issued a Provisional Vaccine Pass. However, unvaccinated tourists still cannot enter the SAR.
- Arrivals from Mainland China and Macau (excluding Guangdong province): Both residents and non-residents can enter Hong Kong from the Mainland or Macau, irrespective of their vaccination status. As with international arrivals, those who are unvaccinated cannot get a Provisional Vaccine Pass.
- Arrivals from Taiwan: Non-residents can come from Taiwan only if they are fully vaccinated. Hong Kong residents can come from Taiwan irrespective of their vaccination status.
How about if parents/guardians are vaccinated but their children are not? Like unvaccinated adults, children under the age of 12 who have not been vaccinated against the virus can enter Hong Kong. They will be issued a health code to keep track of their movements in the city during their medical surveillance period and are subject to the same compulsory testing requirements.
How about if you were vaccinated overseas? International arrivals who got vaccinated overseas should declare their vaccination details in their arrival health declaration. They will then be issued with a vaccination record QR code and a Provisional Vaccine Pass at the airport. This will act as a substitute for local vaccination records and is valid for 180 days from the day of arrival.
If you recovered from Covid overseas, you can go through a similar process as above — declaring your non-local recovery record upon entry into Hong Kong, to receive a non-local vaccination record QR code, which includes your recovery status. This should be saved in your LeaveHomeSafe app to be scanned at Vaccine Pass-required places and is valid for 180 days.
#5 – Do you have a valid vaccination record?
If you’re required to be vaccinated to be granted entry, you must (1) check this list to see whether the country where your vaccination was administered is recognised as issuing valid vaccination records and (2) check this list to see whether your specific vaccine is accepted as valid.
Your vaccination record must be in Chinese or English, include your correct name (check this carefully as there have been reports of some people having trouble boarding because the name on their passport didn’t match the one on their vaccination record), the date that the vaccine was administered, and the name of the vaccine/marketing authorisation holder/vaccine manufacturer. Don’t forget to carry a printout of your vaccination record.
#6 – Have you filled out a health declaration form?
Starting August 12, anyone who enters Hong Kong via the International Airport must complete an online health declaration and quarantine information form before they board their flight. As part of this process, you must submit details such as vaccination records and the result of your pre-departure rapid antigen test (RAT). You will then get a green QR code that you must present when you check in for your flight to the SAR.
When you arrive in Hong Kong, you can use this green health declaration QR code to register for your post-arrival PCR test and receive information about your medical surveillance period, your local vaccination QR codes and Provisional Vaccine Pass electronically.
These green QR codes are valid for 96 hours before your departure to Hong Kong. However, you do not need them if you are entering the city via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Bridge or the Shenzhen Bay Control Point. You can complete the health declaration form and update it with the results of your RAT before you board your flight.
#7 – When to get your pre-departure Covid-19 test?
From September 26, travellers will no longer have to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test to board a flight for Hong Kong. They must instead show proof of a negative rapid antigen test (self-administered or done at a lab) result obtained within 24 hours before they depart for the city.
Remember that the testing window includes any time you may spend in transfer. That is, if you have one or more transfer flights before the flight departing for Hong Kong, your test result needs to be valid for that final flight.
Travellers from the Mainland or Macau do not have to undergo pre-departure testing before their trip to Hong Kong.
#8 – Required documents if you’ve recovered in the past 90 days
Arrivals who contracted and recovered from Covid-19 outside Hong Kong must have the following documents in order to board their Hong Kong-bound flight:
- Certificate or recovery record (in Chinese or English) showing that you had Covid-19 in the 14-90 days prior to departure and have recovered.
- Test report (in Chinese or English) showing a negative RAT result within 24 hours before departure.
- Written confirmation (in Chinese or English) with the above information if the test report is not in English or Chinese and/or does not contain all the necessary information.
The name on these documents must match the name on your travel document exactly.
#9 – How to get your Provisional Vaccine Pass
If you were vaccinated overseas, you must declare your non-local vaccination details in your online health arrival declaration. Upon arrival at the airport, you will receive a vaccination record QR code which can be used in place of a local vaccination record, as well as your Provisional Vaccine Pass. This is valid for 180 days from the day of your arrival, and will allow you to enter venues covered by the vaccine pass, such as restaurants, hair saloon and theme parks, among other premises.
Starting September 17, all arrivals into Hong Kong aged over 12 years old — including those from the Mainland, Macau and Taiwan — must have received two doses of a government-approved Covid-19 vaccine to qualify for this temporary pass. However, children under 11 years old can still get the pass even if they are unvaccinated.
All arrivals who enter the city can get this pass at the airport or land boundary control points. Travellers from the Mainland who are exempt from quarantine under the Come2HK and Return2HK schemes may take their ID and health declaration forms to present as proof of their arrival in Hong Kong to any of these 18 designated post offices to get their passes.
If you plan to remain in Hong Kong for longer than six months, you must get vaccinated in Hong Kong to receive a local vaccination record to keep your vaccine pass up-to-date.
#10 – Getting your post-arrival Covid-19 tests
Passengers who arrive in Hong Kong have to undergo a combination of Covid-19 PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) within the first seven days of their arrival into the SAR.
Testing upon arrival
All arrivals to Hong Kong International Airport (except those from Mainland China and Macao) must undergo a PCR test. Once they submit their samples for testing, they can go straight home or to their hotel to await their results. The waiting times for both tests vary based on a number of factors, including the time of day you’re arriving and the number of passengers on your flight. If your PCR shows that you have Covid-19, you will be taken to a hospital or isolation facility, depending on how severe your symptoms are.
Testing during the medical surveillance period
All inbound travellers must take PCR tests on Days 2, 4 and 6 after they arrive in the city. They must also take RATs every day till Day 7 after they land in Hong Kong. The day you land in Hong Kong is considered Day 0 of your three-day medical surveillance period.
You will not receive reminders from the government to undergo your post-arrival tests, so you should make a note of when to do them. If you forget to take your Day 2, 4, or 6 PCR tests, you may receive a penalty of $10,000. However, your test dates can be deferred on account of unfavourable weather.
Arrivals from the Mainland and Macau only have to take a PCR test on Day 2 after they enter the city and must monitor their health for three days after arriving in Hong Kong.
Header image credits: wonry via Pixabay