Before the start of the holiday season, Hong Kong’s decision of scrapping visa-free 14 day stay for Indians has come as a shocker for many. With free visa on arrival facility, Hong Kong had been a popular tourist destination for Indians. The new guidelines, however, now underline that from January 23, people traveling from India to Hong Kong will have to register online in advance to avail the visa-free 14 day stay.
“From January 23, Indian nationals must apply for and complete online pre-arrival registration before enjoying their 14-day visa-free visit, or entering Hong Kong during transit. The pre-arrival registration for Indian nationals’ platform will launch on December 19. Registration is free. The computer system will display the result instantly once the registration is made,” the Hong Kong information services department website said in a statement.
Here are the new guidelines:
Indian tourists have to register online in advance and complete all pre-arrival formalities before their visit. Any Indian national who holds a passport with minimum validity of six months can pre-register online.
Each pre-arrival registration for an Indian national will be valid for six months or until the expiry date of the Indian passport linked to it, whichever is earlier.
Those who are exempted from online pre-registeration are – those who hold a valid diplomatic or official passport, those who have enrolled in e-challan service for frequent visitors, among others.
Any person planning to visit Hong kong for a period exceeding 14 days or for purposes other than travel – like employment, education or taking up residence – have to apply for a visa in immigration department.