Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the Peoples Republic of China since July 1, 1997, continues to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, except in the areas of defense and foreign policy, and retains its own currency, laws, and border controls. It is composed of three geographic areas: the New Territories, Kowloon Peninsula, and Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong SAR is cosmopolitan and highly developed. Tourist facilities and services are widely available.
Passports and evidence of onward/return transportation by sea/air are required. A visa is not required for tourist visits by U.S. citizens of up to 90 days. An extension of stay may be granted upon application to the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department. U.S. citizens must have passports with at least four months’ validity for entry into Hong Kong. A departure tax of 50 Hong Kong dollars (approximately $6.50 in U.S. dollars) must be paid at the airport. Visas are required to work or study. Public transportation from Hong Kong’s International Airport at Chek Lap Kok to Central Hong Kong (about 25 miles) is readily available, as are taxis. Travelers should exchange sufficient money for transportation at the airport exchange facility located immediately outside the baggage claim area. For more current information, travelers can consult the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong (Tel: (852) 2829-3001, Fax: (852) 2824-1133, Internet home page: http://www.info.gov.hk/immd/, or the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 2300 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20008, tel.: (202) 328-2500 or the Chinese consulates general in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Houston. Overseas inquires may be made at the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate.
Hong Kong SAR has a low crime rate. Petty crime such as pickpocketing is common, however, and occurs mainly at the airport and tourist shopping areas. Bags and other personal items left unattended at the airport or in crowded restaurants are likely to be taken. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Consulate General. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad, which is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Good medical facilities are available, and there are many western-trained physicians. Doctors and hospitals generally do not accept credit cards and require immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is generally not valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
Traffic moves on the left in Hong Kong, where it is congested almost everywhere during the daytime. Roads in many areas of Hong Kong Island are narrow and often poorly marked. At the scene of a traffic accident, drivers are required to go through a simple test for possible influence of alcohol. Taxis, buses, and the Metro (subway) are readily available, relatively inexpensive, and generally safe.
Under Chinese nationality law, persons who are of Chinese descent and who were born in the mainland of China or Hong Kong are Chinese citizens. However, under an agreement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, all U.S. citizens entering Hong Kong on their U.S. passports, including such persons who may be considered Chinese nationals by the Chinese authorities, are considered U.S. citizens by the Hong Kong SAR authorities for purposes of ensuring consular access and protection for the period covered by their visa or lawful visa-free entry (90 days).
Dual nationals as described above who are, or previously were, Hong Kong residents who wish to ensure U.S. consular access and protection after the initial 90-day period of admission must declare their U.S. nationality by presenting their U.S. passports and completing an application for declaration of change of nationality with the Hong Kong Immigration Department. This declaration will ensure U.S. consular protection and will also result in loss of one’s Chinese nationality (but not necessarily one’s right of abode).
Note: Whereas the 1997 agreement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China holds that a U.S. citizen’s failure to declare U.S. nationality after the initial 90-day period of admission may jeopardize U.S. consular protection, such failure will not jeopardize the U.S. citizenship itself. Dual national residents of Hong Kong who enter Hong Kong on their Hong Kong identity cards rather than their U.S. passports and who desire to guarantee U.S. consular protection should declare their U.S. nationality to the Hong Kong Immigration Department as soon after entry as possible.
Further information on consular protection can be obtained from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State at 2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520, or call (202) 647-6769 or (202) 647-5226, or the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong SAR at (852) 2841-2211. Information on the right of abode in Hong Kong may be obtained from the Hong Kong Immigration Department at tel: (852) 2824-4055, fax: (852) 2598-8388, or via the Internet: http://www.info.gov.hk/immd/, or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Consulate General and obtain updated information on travel and security conditions within the Hong Kong SAR. The U.S. Consulate General is located at 26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong. The mailing address is PSC 464, Box 30, FPO AP 96522-0002; tel.: (852) 2523-9011, fax (852) 2845-4845; Internet: http://www.usconsulate.org.hk.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Civil Aviation Authority of Hong Kong SAR as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Hong Kong’s air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on Specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.