Asia and Oceania

Hong Kong Flag of Hong Kong

Still current at: 11 June 2008
Updated: 17 May 2008


This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Summary and Terrorism section.  The overall level of the advice has not changed. 

(see travel advice legal disclaimer)

Travel advice for this country


Travel Summary

  • Although Hong Kong has separate immigration controls from Mainland China and separate legal and law enforcement systems, it could still be vulnerable to both terrorism directed at China, and the global threat from terrorism. Particularly in the run up to, and during the Olympic Games, attacks cannot be ruled out. They could be indiscriminate including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

  • Oasis budget airline has gone into liquidation and, since 09 April, all Oasis flights have been cancelled.  Passengers with existing bookings with Oasis Airlines should contact the Oasis hotline on (85) 3628 0628; lines are open from 08:00 to 20:00 local time (BST +7) or in the UK 0844 482 2323.  For urgent travel passengers should attempt to book flights with alternative airlines and seek a refund of their Oasis tickets, or reimbursement from their travel insurance policy.

  • In the first eight months of 2007, 400,993 British tourists visited Hong Kong (Source: The Hong Kong Tourism Board).  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals required consular assistance in Hong Kong in 2007 was for replacing lost and stolen passports and petty crimes.  You should take sensible precautions against pickpocketing and other street crime.

  • Throughout 2006 the Hong Kong press reported instances of spiked drinks. While there have been no reports of this in 2007 so far you should ensure that anything you drink cannot be tampered with.  You should also be wary of accepting drinks from strangers.  See the Crime Section of this advice for more details.

  • The typhoon season in Hong Kong normally runs from April to October.  See the Natural Disasters section of this advice and Hurricanes page for more details.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.   See the General (Insurance) section of this advice and Travel Insurance for more details.

Safety and security

Terrorism
 
Although Hong Kong has separate immigration controls from Mainland China and separate legal and law enforcement systems, it could still be vulnerable to both terrorism directed at China, and the global threat from terrorism. Particularly in the run up to, and during the Olympic Games, attacks cannot be ruled out. They could be indiscriminate including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.  See Terrorism Abroad.

Crime
 
The incidence of violent crime is very low but pickpocketing and other street crime can occur in urban areas.  You should take extra care of passports, credit cards and money in crowded areas.  You should be careful of your belongings when checking out of hotels.  There have also been some isolated incidents of robberies in Hong Kong’s Country Parks since 2005, these incidents have been reduced following a crime prevention operation by the Hong Kong Police.  Nevertheless, if you intend to hike in Hong Kong’s Country Parks you should stick to marked trails and avoid carrying credit/bank cards or large amounts of cash.
 
Throughout 2006 instances of spiked drinks were reported in the local press.  You should ensure that anything you drink cannot be tampered with.  You should also be wary of accepting drinks from strangers and always have a trusted friend to keep an eye on any unfinished drink if you need to leave it for a period of time.
 
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad.
 
Political Situation
 
Hong Kong is a stable society underpinned by the rule of law.  Large-scale demonstrations are becoming more frequent in Hong Kong, but despite the substantial numbers these sometimes attract, they have been conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner.  However, you should take sensible precautions against petty crime if in the vicinity.
 
Hong Kong Country Profile

Local laws and customs

Hong Kong law is based mainly on UK law.  There are on the spot fines for littering and spitting.  There is zero tolerance for ticketless travel the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).
 
You should not become involved with illicit drugs of any kind.  Possession of these drugs can lead to imprisonment.  As a general precaution don’t take photographs of military installations in Hong Kong.  Since the 1997 handover, the defence of Hong Kong has been the responsibility of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).  All previous British military barracks now belong to the PLA. 
 
For more general information for different types of travellers see Travel Advice Relevant to You.   

Entry requirements

Visas

Although Hong Kong is now part of the People's Republic of China, it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls.  You can stay in Hong Kong for up to six months without a visa.

Passport validity
 
A British Citizen will normally be granted six months entry to Hong Kong on arrival, but only if the passport is valid for six months or more.  If the passport has less than 6 months validity, Hong Kong Immigration will only grant one month longer than the scheduled stay in Hong Kong, but only if the validity of the passport allows this. The passport must be valid for the duration of stay in Hong Kong.
 
Travelling with children

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some places require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter, or in some cases, before permitting the children to leave.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London at: http://www.hketolondon.gov.hk before travelling.

Visits to Mainland China

Those travelling on a British passport to Mainland China via Hong Kong must obtain a Chinese visa before arrival at the border.  Visas are not available on arrival at the Chinese border for British passport holders.  Failure to follow this guideline could result in a fine and possible detention by the Mainland Chinese authorities.  Visitors entering Hong Kong via mainland China and leaving again via the mainland should note they will need to be in possession of a double or multiple entry visa for mainland China.

Health

The UK and Hong Kong Reciprocal Health Care Arrangement ended in June 1997.

You may undergo temperature screening at borders.  Depending on results, further medical examinations may be required.

Every year several cases of dengue fever are reported in Hong Kong.  

You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS.

You should seek medical advice before travelling to Hong Kong and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date.  For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the National Travel Heath Network and Centre NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
 
For more general health information see Travel Health

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

In the first half of 2007 there have been a few reported cases of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Hong Kong but only in birds.  No human infections or deaths have been reported.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed human cases elsewhere in the region and there have been some human fatalities in China.  If you plan to visit China please also view the latest China Travel Advice.

The risk to humans from Avian Influenza is believed to be very low.  As a precaution, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.

You should read this advice in conjunction with Avian and Pandemic Influenza, which gives more detailed advice and information.

Natural Disasters

The typhoon season in Hong Kong normally runs from April to October.  Typhoons very occasionally hit Hong Kong and may cause flooding and landslides.  Warning is given in advance.  Public offices shut down when the "Typhoon 8" signal is hoisted.

You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).  You can also access National Hurricane Centre for updates.  See Hurricanes for more details.

General

Insurance
 
We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling, as the cost of medical care in Hong Kong is high.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.  See Travel Insurance for more details.
 
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is how we can help.

Employment
 
You must obtain an appropriate visa before arriving in Hong Kong if it is your intention towork there.  For more information, you can contact the nearest Chinese mission with visa issuing facilities or the Hong Kong Immigration Department.  Their address is Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong (tel:  2824 4055, fax:  2598 8388).
 
Consular Registration

Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency.  More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.
Shopping
 
The vast majority of retail outlets are fair and honest.  However, you should be aware that a number of incidents have occurred in the Nathan Road/Tsim Tsa Tsui area where shoppers have been overcharged for older models of goods.  You should shop around for prices before purchase as claims for compensation after goods have been paid will have to be referred to the consumer council website.  You should be aware that this process may take some time. 

Travel advice for this country

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contacts

Hong Kong, British Consulate-General

Address:

British Consulate-General
No 1 Supreme Court Road
Central
Hong Kong
(P O Box 528)

Telephone:

(852) 2901 3000

Fax:

(852) 2901 3066 General/Commercial
(852) 2901 3007 Management
(852) 2901 3008 Press and Public Affairs
(852) 2901 3204 Consular
(852) 2901 3347 Visa
(852) 2901 3420 Fiscal & Drugs Liaison Office
(852) 2901 3143 BC Passport
(852) 2901 3195 Other Passports
(852) 2901 3295 Airport Liaison Office

Office hours:

GMT:
Mon-Fri: 0030-0915

Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0830-1715

Website: http://www.britishconsulate.org.hk/