Free & Easy Access for Visitors of the HKSAR

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Quick Summary


You are eligible to apply for a HKSAR Travel Pass if you have made, at a minimum, 3 separate trips to Hong Kong in the previous 12 months entering via the airport. Therefore, this excludes ‘side visits’ to Macau and China via the immigration control points at the boundaries. You are expected to have a pre-existing employment in another country (which will continue after successful receipt of Travel Pass) and be able to satisfy the Director of Immigration that granting you a Travel Pass will positively benefit the economy of Hong Kong. In special circumstances the Immigration Department are prepared to waive the 3 trips rule. To be eligible for a Travel Pass you must be citizen of a country which enjoys ‘visa-upon-arrival’ access to Hong Kong.

Approvability Test

You will have to provide ImmD with evidence that you have a genuine need for the frequent visits to Hong Kong underpinning your requirement for a Travel Pass and that such visits will be of benefit to Hong Kong’s economy. This will require detailed written representations, ideally supported by a local sponsor, alongside the application form. Moreover, ImmD will occasionally waive the 3 trips rule and accept applications for a Travel Pass from foreign nationals who can prove that their visits will be of substantial (especial) benefit to the HKSAR. In these instances such applications will be treated on special grounds and on their individual merits. The burden of proving the extent of the benefit to Hong Kong lies with you and you will have to furnish significant documentary evidence in support.

Benefits & Limitations

Your Travel Pass affords efficient clearance through immigration formalities upon arrival and departure from Hong Kong as you are allowed to use the Hong Kong Residents’ counters (as opposed to the much lengthier Visitors’). However, the Travel Pass does not avail ‘residency’ rights in the HKSAR. Consequently, you will not be able to secure a Hong Kong Identity Card, Dependant Visas for your family nor employ/sponsor a foreign domestic helper.

Permitted Activity

The Travel Pass does not allow the holder to take up employment in Hong Kong, nor establish or join in any business. It does NOT allow a business entity in Hong Kong to employ the holder. The Travel Pass enables you to enjoy frequent, extended periods of stay as a visitor to the HKSAR allowing the Hong Kong originated business matters of your overseas employer to be readily and efficiently pursed without any immigration hindrances. A Travel Pass does not afford the holder the right to land in Hong Kong so you should not expect to be admitted to Hong Kong as a matter of legal right.

Structuring Your Arguments

The challenge to making a successful case for a Travel Pass is to articulate clearly the reasons why you have been travelling frequently to the HKSAR these last 12 months. Explain how these trips have led to growth opportunities which conceivably could lead to your employer needing to establish some kind of formal business presence in Hong Kong in due course. Indicate the specific value of the turnover of your firm which is ascribed to your Hong Kong activities and how your local contacts have benefitted. If you believe that the upcoming activities of your firm in Hong Kong are going to require frequent extended visits and you have not satisfied the ‘three trips’ rule it is advisable to lay out your company’s plan vis Hong Kong in some considerable detail and illustrate exactly where you fit in. Solid, extensive representations from your Hong Kong contacts will go a long way to helping secure the Travel Pass.

Validity & Booklet

Once approved, the Travel Pass allows a two month period of stay upon each entry, with unlimited entries permitted. Once granted it will be valid for three years. The Travel Pass itself is manifested in a special booklet issued by ImmD which is presented during immigration clearance formalities along with your passport.

Refusal & Appeal

There is no process of appeal where a Travel Pass has been refused. Moreover, any person holding a Travel Pass can be removed from Hong Kong at any time.