Hong Kong maintains a separate and independent immigration system from that of mainland China. This means that, unlike mainland China, most visitors do not need to obtain visas in advance. However, it also means that a visa is still required to enter mainland China from Hong Kong.
Foreign nationals of the following countries/territories can enter Hong Kong visa-free as a visitor:
For up to 180 days: United Kingdom (Full British citizens)
For up to 90 days: United Kingdom (British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Overseas Citizens, British Subjects and British Protected Persons), all European Union member states, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Grenada, Guyana, Iceland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uruguay, United States, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For up to 30 days: Bahrain, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
For up to 14 days: Albania (biometric passports only), Algeria, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Croatia, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Holy See, India, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Niger, Palau, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia (excluding passports issued by the Co-ordination Directorate in Belgrade), Suriname and Ukraine. Also, holders of diplomatic and official passports issued by Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Togo.
For up to 7 days: Timor-Leste
All holders of an APEC Business Travel Card can use the counters for Hong Kong residents at immigration control and can stay for up to 60 days in Hong Kong visa-free if their card has 'HKG' printed on the reverse.
Foreign nationals who require visas for Hong Kong (if they cannot enter visa-free, want to remain for longer than permitted by their visa exemption, or want to work, study or establish/join a business) can either apply for one at a Chinese embassy or directly through the Hong Kong Immigration Department. Note that the Hong Kong visa has to be applied for separately from the mainland Chinese one, and there is no single visa that serves both areas. For information on how to apply for a Hong Kong visa from the Hong Kong Immigration Department, visit their website. Foreign nationals living in Macao who require visas for Hong Kong can apply for one at the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Chinese citizens from mainland China entering Hong Kong need to apply for a Hong Kong Immigration Department webpage special travel document (往來港澳通行證） together with a visa endorsement, except when transiting through Hong Kong to a third country (or vice-versa) on a Chinese passport where visa-free access is granted for up to 7 days.
Holders of Macao permanent identity cards or Visit Permits with permanent resident status can enter Hong Kong Hong Kong Immigration Department webpage visa-free] for up to 180 days. Holders of Macao Visit Permits without permanent resident status can enter Hong Kong visa-free for up to 30 days.
Taiwan residents are granted visa-free access to Hong Kong for 30 days if they have a 'Taibaozheng' (台胞证). Otherwise, a pre-arrival visa is required, which in many cases can be obtained through an airline company.
All visitors to Hong Kong must complete an arrival card when clearing immigration and must return a departure card at immigration control when leaving Hong Kong - unless you are a Hong Kong resident (with a Hong Kong identity card or a passport with a residence/employment/study visa), a Macao permanent resident (with a Macao smart identity card) or a Chinese citizen (with a travel document （往來港澳通行證 or 因公往來香港澳門特別行政區通行證) issued by the Mainland China authorities).
All visitors (regardless of whether visa-free or not) may be required to demonstrate evidence of adequate funds to cover the duration of their stay without working and, unless in transit to mainland China or Macau, to hold onward or return tickets.
Anyone arriving at Hong Kong International Airport who requires an onward visa for mainland China can proceed to the desk manned by China Travel Services HK (CTS) found at the arrivals area. A photograph will be required and the staff will be happy to accommodate you. Alternatively, the cheapest way to obtain a visa for mainland China is to apply for one at the Commissioner's Office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong where a single visa costs $150 for most foreign nationals and takes 4 working days to be issued. The visa can be issued within 3 working days for an additional $150 or within 2 working days for an additional $250. Visit the website of the Commissioner's Office for more information.
Note that leaving the mainland for Hong Kong is considered to be leaving China, so you should apply for a multiple entry visa if you wish to enter Hong Kong, then re-enter mainland China.
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