A Hong Kong visa may not be front of mind if you’re planning a holiday in this vibrant, international China capital.
After all, Hong Kong is a city of fun, shopping, and flair, so you could be forgiven if you wondered whether a visa is even necessary. (The short answer: it is and it isn’t!).
Well let’s set the record straight, and fill you on all Hong Kong visa details, including if you’re after a Hong Kong tourist visa for your vacation in this part of the world.
Just traveling to Hong Kong? Here’s what you need to know.
When it comes to visas, there are rarely times when you can expect a straight yes or no answer.
A Hong Kong visa is often referred to as a Hong Kong tourist visa, so don’t think you need multiple visas for your visit. Depending on your country of origin and the type of travel document you hold, a visa or entry permit for visiting Hong Kong as a tourist may not even be necessary.
Travelers from around 170 countries and territories have the freedom to visit Hong Kong without a visa or entry permit for any time between seven and 180 days. Say you are traveling on a USA or Australian passport, you don’t require a visa at all if your visit is less than 90 days. The travel period is even more generous for British passport holders, who can travel within Hong Kong for an incredible 180 days. Travelers are expected to have adequate funds to cover the duration of their stay without earning income. They must also hold onward or return travel tickets, unless of course, you’re in transit to the mainland of China or Macao.
For visits that extend beyond three months, travelers need to apply for a Hong Kong visa. During their stay, neither study nor work are permitted, including unpaid work. Decisions regarding these visas are made on a case by case basis by Hong Kong Immigration authorities.
Hong Kong has long been a mecca that holds great appeal for professionals wanting to gain international work experience, and little has changed in this regard since China took over rule here. For those who want to work, study, establish or join in any business, or even become a resident in Hong Kong, you will need to follow the visa application process in advance of your departure. The best place to start your journey is by visiting your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate, or Hong Kong Immigration.
You can obtain more details about a visa for Hong Kong here.
Visiting Hong Kong frequently? A Hong Kong Travel Pass could be the answer
If certain criteria are met, travelers with business, family, or other interests who make regular visits to Hong Kong may find a Hong Kong Travel Pass is the solution for dealing with the region’s visa entry requirements. If this is you, and you hold a valid passport, and are eligible to come to Hong Kong without a visa or entry permit, consider applying for a Hong Kong Travel Pass. Just be aware that your need to visit Hong Kong frequently will be assessed as part of the application process. You can learn more about the Hong Kong Travel Pass here.
Traveling to mainland China from Hong Kong? Then you’ll need this
Fancy a trip to mainland China from Hong Kong? It is important to understand the visa requirements if you’re a foreign passport holder. In short, you will need the appropriate Chinese visa for travel to mainland China from Hong Kong. Be aware a visa will not be granted when you arrive on the mainland. It’s also important to know that if your itinerary requires that you enter China more than once, you will need to apply for a multiple-entry visa.
The exception to this is if your visit meets the requirements of the 72-hour or 144-hour visa-free cities in China, you do not need a visa providing the policy’s criteria are met.
Ordinary passport holders from Singapore, Brunei and Japan enjoy visa-free access to China for up to 15 days for business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends, or transit purposes. The special arrangements in place for these travelers mean they can enter and exit from Chinese ports that are open to foreigners. The 15 day period commences from the date of entry.
Foreigners who have working or residency status in Hong Kong can apply for Chinese visa at the Consular Department of the China Commission in Hong Kong or China Visa Application Center in Hong Kong. Applicants must reside in Hong Kong when submitting their application.
What about if you’re a foreign tourist staying in Hong Kong temporarily? The good news is you can submit a Chinese visa application in Hong Kong by visiting the China Visa Application Center (just as you would in your country of origin). Alternatively, applications can be made through an agency.
In these cases, we strongly recommend foreign tourists make the tour arrangements well in advance of traveling to Hong Kong, and apply for a Chinese visa from either the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in their country of origin before departing for Hong Kong and mainland China. With unexpected hiccups arising when you need them least, it is advisable to complete your visa application about one month before your intended date of entry into China, but not earlier than three months.
Note: The usual visa application processing time is around four working days through the regular service from the China Visa Application Center.
Looking for more information about how to prepare your China visa application? Check out other helpful articles in our Travel Guide , including a whole section dedicated to everything you need to know about China visas . ChinaTours.com is a travel company dedicated to helping customers bring their travel dreams to life. We understand that your once in a lifetime trip to China starts well before departure, that’s why we provide useful information about important details like Hong Kong visas to make the steps to lift-off as smooth as possible.