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Legal Update

New Frequent Visitor e-Channel Scheme to make Clearance through Immigration in Hong Kong Airport Faster and Easier

10 July 2008
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update
Immigration procedures at Hong Kong International Airport are set to become easier for frequent travellers to Hong Kong. The new procedures will apply to holders of: (i) a HKSAR Travel Pass; (ii) certain APEC Business Travel Cards; or (iii) a HKIA Frequent Visitor Card.
Full Update

The extended e-Channel service will allow frequent visitors (who have successfully enrolled with the Immigration Department) to perform self-service immigration clearance at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). There will be six e-channels for arriving visitors. Later this year the service will be extended to include departing visitors.

The service would be available to frequent visitors aged 18 or above who hold a valid HKSAR Travel Pass, or a APEC Business Travel Card with the economy code "HKG" printed on the reverse side or a HKIA Frequent Visitor Card. Users of the service must still have a valid travel document. A visa allowing multiple visits is required unless the passport holder is eligible for visa free travel to Hong Kong.

How to enrol in the Frequent Visitors e-Channel Scheme
1.  As you enter the immigration hall at the Hong Kong Airport, to the right of the immigration counters is the scheme's Enrolment Office. It is clearly marked.
2.  At that office someone will scan your fingerprints, take a photo and ask you to sign a form. You will then be given a bar code sticker to attach to your travel document. The whole process is free.
3.  When you next visit Hong Kong, ignore the queues for the immigration counter and go to one of the six Frequent Visitor e-Channels. Place your bar coded travel document on the reader. The system will use your fingerprint to verify your identity and then print out a label. Stick this label onto a page in your passport and you are successfully cleared for entry into Hong Kong.

How to apply for a HKIA Frequent Visitor Card
1.  The HKIA Frequent Visitor Card is free and open to anyone who has visited Hong Kong 3 times or more in the past 12 months.

2.  The single page application form is available for downloading here, or can be picked up at the Customer Service Centre in the departure hall of the Hong Kong International Airport.

3.  There are three ways of applying:
(a)  Online. Click here

(b)  By mail. Send your completed application form to:
        "The Administrator,
        HKIA Frequent Visitor Channel,
        Airport Authority Hong Kong,
        HKIA Tower,
        1 Sky Plaza Road,
        Hong Kong International Airport"

(c)  In person. Drop your completed application form into the Customer Service Centre in the departure hall of the Hong Kong International Airport.
4.   Once your application has been processed, a HKIA Frequent Visitor Card will be sent to your address. The process usually takes 6 to 8 weeks.
Enrolment is fairly straightforward. It should significantly reduce the time it takes to go through immigration at the Hong Kong Airport (especially at peak times). More information, including a short introductory video on how the process works, is available at

For further information, please contact:
Andrew MacGecoh ( ); or
Timothy Ker ( )
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