It's true that Hong Kong is officially in China, but it is a special administrative region, meaning that it has its own visa policy.
That's why you should know that there are 170 nationalities that have a visa-exempt policy and these countries do not require to apply for a visa to enter the area.
There are three main categories of people that need to meet some requirements to enter Hong Kong, not including the diplomats or other state officials (they have their own set of rules). The three categories are visa-exempt nationals, visa required nationals, and transit visa nationals.
We'll talk more about these categories through this article
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the Visa-exempt nationals?
As mentioned earlier, there are about 170 countries whose citizens can enter Hong Kong without a visa. However, they can only stay as long as the visa policy allows it. Depending on your nationality, you can stay in Hong Kong for up to 180 days, 90 days, 30 days, 14 days, and 7 days.
You should do the proper research when you are planning a trip so that you know how much time you can spend in the region. If you need to stay for longer than the policy allows you, you need to apply for a visa at the nearest Chinese embassy or submit an application to HKSAR Immigration Department.
One exception is the Indian nationals. Even though India is a visa-exempt country, Indians who travel to Hong Kong need to apply for a pre-arrival registration. That only applies if they want to stay in Hong Kong for a certain amount of days. Otherwise, they need to apply for a consular visa. Fortunately, the process of getting the registration is entirely online, and there is no significant effort whatsoever.
What are the Visa required nationals?
Visa-exempt nationals aside, the citizens of 19 countries actually need to apply for a Hong Kong visa before departure. The request can be made at the nearest Chinese embassy or at the HKSAR Immigration Department.
The requirements are not inaccessible. All you need is a passport that has a validity of at least another 6 months, some photos, and you need to fill in an application form. The process can take up to 4 weeks. People in the same category do not require a visa if they only wish to transit in Hong Kong. However, they are not allowed to leave the airport transit area.
We will detail you more about the requirements later in this article. We invite you to keep reading.
What are the transit visa required nationals?
29 nationalities need to apply for a Hong Kong transit visa even if they have no intention of leaving the airport transit area.
Are there other visas to enter Hong Kong?
As you can imagine, Hong Kong releases visas for other purposes as well. You can get a visa for investment, education, and even work, but you need to apply for the right one. Otherwise, your entry will be refused and you will be deported or detained. One particular aspect worth mentioning is that the citizens of 16 states who are holders of an APEC Business Travel Card that contains the code HKG on the back are allowed to stay in Hong Kong up to 60 days without a visa.
What are the documents required for an electronic pre-arrival visa to Hong Kong?
As we said before, there are some countries that require only a Pre-Arrival Registration to enter Hong Kong, for example, India. In that case, iVisa can help you, but you have to provide some documents first, which are:
- A Passport with at least 6 months of validation. You have to scan the information page.
- A Credit/debit card or Paypal account for payments.
What's the price to get this visa?
You can avoid doing the whole process of the Pre-Arrival in a long row in Hong Kong by simply applying online. For that, you'll have to pay a fee to iVisa, and it will vary according to how fast you want your Pre-Arrival document:
These are your options:
- Standard processing – your visa application is done in only 48 hours as long as you pay USD 20.00 (services fee included).
- Rush processing – for this option you can get your visa even faster, in 36 hours, but for that you have to pay USD 50.00.
- Super Rush processing – for this method you can get your visa application in 24 hours, being the fastest procedure. It costs you USD 70.00 (services fee included).
How do I apply for this e-Visa?
To apply for a Pre-Arrival Registration, you'll just have to complete the following steps:
First, fill in your general information and choose the processing time (we mentioned them before).
Second, review the first step and proceed to the payment.
If you want to start the process, click here.
What should I do after applying?
I'm still having some doubts, where can I read more?
While the Hong Kong visa policy is a lot more extensive than what you find above, at least you have a clearer picture now for sure. Usually, getting a Hong Kong visa for tourists is easy, and chances of not requiring one at all are pretty high. Even so, it is always best if you remain informed.