Like most foreigners living in Shenzhen, you probably go to Hong Kong at least every so often. I personally go several times per month and I know many people who go almost every day. If you have a Hong Kong resident permit, you can skip this article, as you can already cut the tourist lines. However, most of us go through the tourist line both in and out of Hong Kong.
You’ve probably noticed that more and more Chinese are going to Hong Kong on a regular basis due to the relaxing of the travel policy, especially for Guangdong province residents. While this is excellent news for our Chinese friends (easier travel) and great for the Hong Kong economy (main-landers love to spend money in Hong Kong), the lines are growing increasingly long and it sometimes can take an hour just to get through.
What you may not know is that Hong Kong has a program called the Hong Kong HKSAR Travel Pass, which lets frequent visitors to Hong Kong use the Hong Kong residents line instead of the tourist line. An additional benefit is that they will stamp this separate passport-like booklet instead of your passport, thus saving valuable passport pages.
You may be thinking that it would be difficult to qualify for such a travel pass and I’d be lying if I said that *anyone* can qualify. However the requirements really aren’t that steep.
- Fly into Hong Kong airport at least 3 times within 12 months. The requirements state that “Application is open to frequent visitors who hold valid passports and are eligible to come to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) without a visa or entry permit for visit purpose. Applicants should have genuine needs to visit the HKSAR frequently, and have come for visits trouble-free on three or more occasions (other than return from side trips to the Mainland of China or the region of Macao) in the 12-month period immediately preceding the application, or can satisfy the Director of Immigration that their visits may bring substantial benefits to the HKSAR.”
NOTE: It doesn’t matter if you’re going on holiday or going to your home country or on pleasure or work. Just be able to show 3 of the “black airport stamps” within 12 months. It doesn’t even need to be within the calendar year, just within the past 12 months.
- Have your company (or spouse’s company) write a letter explaining why you need to come to Hong Kong often.
NOTE: It doesn’t matter if you work for a company formally or whether you have your own company. It doesn’t matter why you need to come to Hong Kong, just have a good reason – attending sourcing fairs, meetings with clients, customers in Hong Kong – all these are sufficient.
- Have a Hong Kong resident write a letter explaining why you need to come to Hong Kong often.
NOTE: Again, it doesn’t matter what the reason is, as long as it makes sense and it’s written by a Hong Kong resident, either personally or on behalf of a company.
Once you have these 3 things and your photos are prepared you can take the application to:
Other Visas and Permits Section
7/F, Immigration Department
7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Take the MTR to Wanchai and there is an exit (exit A but not sure) for the Immigration Tower. You’ll get a letter mailed to the Hong Kong resident who vouched for you in a couple weeks informing you to take this letter and claim your travel pass on a certain day.
Pay the 575HKD fee and you’re line free at the border for 3 years. Download the application from: Application document for Hong Kong HKSAR Travel Pass