India is one of the biggest emerging tourist source market for Hong Kong. In 2014, over half a million Indian travellers visited Hong Kong, which is expected to continue the double-digit growth in the number of family and young travellers from India. The visa free entry for Indias no doubt played a catalyst behind this phenomenal growth. But, the scenario is set to change, as Hong Kong tightens Visa-Free facility for India.
According to an Hong Kong Immigration Department spokesman, “Pre-arrival registration for Indian nationals is implemented with a view to ensuring a proper balance between facilitation of genuine visitors from India and the need to safeguard the integrity of immigration control. We believe that the new arrangement will not impede genuine visitors from India from visiting Hong Kong.”
At present, Indian nationals may visit Hong Kong visa-free for a stay of up to 14 days. Effective from January 23, 2017, Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete online pre-arrival registration before they can continue to enjoy the current 14-day visa-free visit or enter Hong Kong during transit (except in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area), unless they belong to one of the categories of persons who may continue to come to Hong Kong visa-free without pre-arrival registration. Persons exempted from the requirement of pre-arrival registration include, among others, holders of an Indian diplomatic or official passport or a Hong Kong Travel Pass and Indian nationals who have successfully enrolled for the e-Channel service for frequent visitors.
To apply for pre-arrival registration, an Indian national shall access the designated Pre-arrival Registration for Indian Nationals platform at the GovHK website. The platform is now open for registration. Pre-arrival registration is free of charge.
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. Provided that normal immigration requirements are met, a registrant may, during the validity of the pre-arrival registration, use a valid notification slip together with the specific and valid Indian passport linked to the successful pre-arrival registration to make multiple visits to Hong Kong visa-free. On each visit, a registrant may stay in Hong Kong for up to 14 days.In case pre-arrival registration is unsuccessful, Indian nationals shall apply to the Immigration Department directly for an entry visa if they intend to visit Hong Kong.