Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport

The "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region People's Republic of China Passport" (zh-t|t=中華人民共和國香港特別行政區護照)., or simply known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport (zh-t|t=香港特別行政區護照), is a type of People's Republic of China passport issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department to Chinese citizens who have the right of abode in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and hold Hong Kong permanent identity cards. The full name of the passport appears on the front cover- "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region People's Republic of China Passport" (zh-t|t=中華人民共和國香港特別行政區護照).


The issuing of Hong Kong SAR passports began on 1 July 1997, following the transfer of the territory from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China. (For more information, see Transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong).

Chinese citizens who have right of abode (ROA) in the HKSAR and who hold Hong Kong permanent resident identity cards, whether or not they are holders of the British National (Overseas) or Hong Kong Hong Kong Certificate of Identity or other travel documents, are eligible to apply for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport. Note that acquisition of British citizenship in the British Nationality Selection Scheme does not affect the eligibility for a HKSAR passport. Nor does the holding of any foreign passport itself affect the eligibility for a HKSAR passport, provided that one remains a Chinese citizen.

Under the Basic Law of Hong Kong, the Government of the Hong Kong SAR is responsible for immigration control in the region. The Hong Kong SAR passport is issued by the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region under the authorisation of the Central People's Government (or the State Council). It is distinct from other types of People's Republic of China passports issued to citizens of the People's Republic of China who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong- it has a distinct design and features. Furthermore, this passport allows visa-free entry to numerous countries.

Hong Kong official travel documents prior to 1997 included the Hong Kong Certificate of Identity, British Dependent Territories citizens Passport, British National (Overseas) and British citizen passports. After 1997, BN(O) and BC passports are still valid but CIs and BDTCs are no longer in use.

A news coverage by South China Morning Post Hong Kong on the HKSAR passport stated that on 16 April 2008, the Court of First Instance of the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region decided in an open court to public in the case of Butt Aziz Akbar v Director of Immigration" (HCAL32-2007). The Applicant, BUTT Aziz Akbar, argued that for HKSAR passport holders born outside China, it is NOT necessary for the Director of Immigration to label their "place of birth" as stated in the HKSAR passport to be the COUNTRY/STATE of birth. Rather, the city or province of birth may suffice. BUTT Aziz Akbar, born in Pakistan and being a Hong Kong permanent resident, became a Chinese citizen on 8 January 2007, and holds a HKSAR passport. He claimed to have problems travelling to several countries because of the fact that his HKSAR passport states "Pakistan" (i.e. his country of birth) instead of “Karachi” or "Sindh" (i.e. his specific place of birth within Pakistan) as his "place of birth". The Director of Immigration, on the other hand, asserted that it is in accordance with law and ICAO standards and in accordance with mainland passport that the "country of birth" should be specified for holders of the HKSAR passport born abroad (i.e. outside China). [ http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/ju/ju_frame.jsp?DIS=61035&currpage=T


http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2c913216495213d5df646910cba0a0a0/?vgnextoid=2002cfa081859110VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=teaser&ss=Hong+Kong&s=News ] [ [http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/ju/ju_body.jsp?DIS=58235&AH=&QS=&FN=&currpage=T CACV000100/2007 BUTT, AZIZ AKBAR v. DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION ] ]


The Court of First Instance of the High Court decided that the Director of Immigration was wrong in using a policy to insert the country of birth as the "place of birth" in the applicant's passport in this instance.

As a result of this court action director of immigration cancelled/voided the pasport issued to Mr. BUTT based on the wrong interpretation of the law and issued a new replacement pasport with his place of birth mentioned as "SINDH" at no cost.Copy of the cancelled electronic passport is displaced for the information of readers of wikipedia.

Eligibility and application

The eligibility criteria for application for a HKSAR passport include:

* Chinese citizenship
* Permanent residency in the Hong Kong SAR
* A valid Hong Kong permanent identity card. [ [http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/hktraveldoc_1_o16_1.htm Who is "eligible for a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport"] ]

Application can be made in person or by post to the immigration department in Hong Kong. Overseas applications are also possible through a Chinese embassy or consulate-general. Documents to be enclosed are:

* The application form (ID843), duly completed and signed

* Photo copy of Hong Kong permanent identity card (only the side with the holder's personal particulars and photograph);

* One recent colour photograph (please see photograph requirements);

* A completed mailing label (ID839).

Fees as of 19 June 2006:

* For persons 16 years of age or over (Validity of passport is 10 years) - 32 pages - HK$ 370
* For persons under 16 years of age (Validity of passport is 5 years) - 32 pages - HK$ 185

Usage and restrictions

Visas are not required for Hong Kong SAR passport holders visiting countries such as the United Kingdom and other member states of the European Union, Japan and Canada [ [http://www.nwa.com/services/timatic.html Passport, Visa & Health Requirements - NWA] ] . Official figure of the Hong Kong Immigration Department states that Hong Kong SAR passport holders are able to visit 134 countries & territories either visa-free or visa on arrival. [ [http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/topical_4.htm The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - Immigration Department ] ]

Hong Kong SAR Passport holders are also able to enjoy travel convenience under some bilateral agreements concluded between the PRC and other countries (on Chinese passports in general). For example, Nepalese tourist visas are free for both ordinary Chinese passport holders and Hong Kong SAR passport holders.

As Hong Kong allows visa-free entry for travellers from many countries, HKSAR passport holders are eligible to be issued free visas at the Jordanian, Egyptian and Turkish borders while citizens of most nations need to pay from 10 to 30 USD for the entry stamps. On the contrary, HKSAR passport holders visiting Taiwan require special landing permits, while holders of most western passports can enter Taiwan visa free. See Entry Permit of HK and Macau Residents to the Taiwan Area.

This passport is also ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program of the United States [http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rpt/31102.htm] at present. In the fiscal year 2006, the adjusted visa refusal rate for US B-visas for HKSAR passports was 4.2% [http://travel.state.gov/pdf/CombinedRefusalRate.pdf] , which was higher than the 3% requirement for VWP. It is worth-noting that rate of British National (Overseas) passports was 3.1% in that year. In 2007, the refusal rate of HKSAR passport is 3.4% and that of BN(O) passport is 2.4% [http://travel.state.gov/pdf/FY07.pdf] . HKSAR passport has the nationality code HNK in US visas, while that for BN(O) s is HOKO.

Student and work permit visas are free of charge for BN(O) passport holders but an application fee is required for HKSAR passport holders. [http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1065720959551] , [http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1065721028944] The UK requires all Chinese nationals residing in the UK for more than 6 months to register with the police; holders of HKSAR passports are Chinese nationals, therefore an additional police registration (of £34) is required, in this sense the treatment of the HKSAR passport is the same as the ordinary PRC passport. The registration is not required for BN(O) passport holders and many other nationals. [http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/IDIs/idischapter10/section1.pdf?view=Binary] The full list of nationals who require police registration can be found [http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/IDIs/idischapter10annexes/section1/annexa.pdf?view=Binary here] .

As travelling to the mainland or to Macau would constitute internal travel, HKSAR passports are not used for that purpose. For such trips to the mainland, a Home Return Permit would be used. Normally, permanent residents of Hong Kong (regardless of nationality) will be granted visa-free entry of one year into Macau on production of their Hong Kong Permanent Identity cards.

Illegal transfer of HKSAR passport(s) is a criminal offence in Hong Kong. Any person who is guilty of the offence shall be liable to imprisonment for 14 years and to a fine of HK$150,000 (for details see section 42 of the Immigration Ordinance, Cap. 115 of the Laws of Hong Kong) [http://www.legislation.gov.hk/blis_ind.nsf/E1BF50C09A33D3DC482564840019D2F4/A03B42CC97D6F79AC82564800040C162?OpenDocument] .

Electronic passport

The electronic HKSAR Passport was introduced in February 2007.

Data included in the contactless chip of the passport [ [http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/eppt_edi.htm The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - Immigration Department ] ] :
* Name in Chinese and English
* Nationality (i.e. Chinese)
* Sex
* Date of birth
* Place of birth
* Permanent identity card number
* Facial image
* Passport number
* Date of issue
* Date of expiry
* Issuing authority (i.e. Immigration Department, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Fingerprints and iris scans are not included.

The explanation from back cover for the chip is as follows:

Previous versions of the passport

First Version (1997-2002)

The first version of the HKSAR Passport was issued from 1 July 1997 until 31 Dec 2002. It was then replaced by the second version passport.

Second Version (2003-2007)

Starting from 1 Jan 2003, the second version of the passport was introduced with enhanced security features.Optical variable ink was used to print the words "HKSAR" along the periphery of the photo and "IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT, HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION" of the "Issuing authority" column on the personal data page.


First and Second Versions (1997–2007)


The cover of the HKSAR passport is dark blue in colour with writings and the national emblem of the People's Republic of China in gold. The word Passport in Traditional Chinese and English are found below the crest. Above are the words "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region People's Republic of China", also in Traditional Chinese and English.

It is worth noting that the Chinese characters 中華人民共和國 (People's Republic of China) are bigger than the characters 香港特別行政區 (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) on the passport cover. In English, however, "HONG KONG" is bigger than the phrase "SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA" for easy distinction by foreign immigration officials between HKSAR passports which are issued to Chinese citizens with the right of abode in the Hong Kong SAR, and other types of Chinese passports that are issued to other Chinese citizens.


The passport size is nowrap|125 mm × 88 mm. The 2 types of passports are: a 32-page ordinary-size passport, and a 48-page passport.

Identification Page

The passport is machine readable, designed for immigration control points equipped with passport scanner.

Personal data is recorded on the last page of the passport, which is covered with a security laminate. Details include:
* Surname and Given Names: in Traditional Chinese and English
* Nationality: "CHINESE" (The nationality code is CHN as shown in the machine readable zone)
* Code of Issuing State: CHN (People's Republic of China)
* Sex: denoted as "M" (male) or "F" (female)
* Place of birth: if born in China, name of province/autonomous region/municipality/SAR; if born outside China, name of country/region
* Dates of birth, issuance and expiry: displayed in the format DD-MMM-YY
* Authority (of issue): "IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT, HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION" (in Traditional Chinese and English)

The logo of the HKSAR is printed in optically variable ink and is placed to the right of the photograph. A larger bauhinia also appears to the left of the photograph.

The colour of the logos will change when viewed at an angle. A fluorescent bauhinia appears on the personal data page when viewed under ultra-violet light.

It should be understood that the Hong Kong SAR passport is a type of PRC passport; the code "CHN" (People's Republic of China) is used for both issuing state and nationality. This is the same as all other types of PRC passport, including the Macau SAR passport. (It is worth noting that during the British colonial era, a Hong Kong British Dependent Territories Citizen passport uses "HKG" as the code of the issuing state and "GBD" as the nationality code).


The data page as well as the note requesting entry are printed in Chinese using Traditional Chinese characters and English.

Passport Note

The passports contain a note from the issuing state that is addressed to the authorities of all other states, identifying the bearer as a citizen of that state and requesting that he or she be allowed to pass and be treated according to international norms. Same as other PRC passports, in HKSAR passports, the passport note is contained right behind the front cover, which states in Chinese (Traditional characters) and English:

Observations and Notes

* contain holder's Hong Kong Permanent Identity Card number, and Chinese Commercial Code of holder's Chinese name
* if passport is issued through a Chinese embassy/consulate overseas, the embassy/consulate would also make an endorsement in the observations stating so.


These are explanatory notes on the passport. They are as follows-
# The issuance, replacement, reissuance and endorsement of this passport shall be effected by the Immigration Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, diplomatic and consular missions of the People's Republic of China in foreign countries, or other Chinese authorities in foreign countries under the entrustment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.
# The bearer of this passport is a Chinese citizen who holds a Hong Kong permanent identity card and has the right of abode in and the right to return to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
# This passport is valid for ten years, unless otherwise stated. This passport is normally valid for five years if issued to a child under sixteen years of age. This passport shall be replaced by a new one when its validity period has expired or it has no further space for visas.
# This passport is an important document of identity which shall be kept carefully and used properly. It shall not multilated, tampered with, or transferred to another person for unlawful use. Any case of loss or destruction should be immediately reported to the nearest issuing authority and the local police or public security authorities.

Consular protection

As PRC citizens, those traveling on HKSAR passports are entitled to the consular protection of PRC government officials overseas. However, it is not uncommon for PRC authorities overseas to offer consular assistance to PRC citizens of Hong Kong origin traveling on their British National (Overseas) passports. See also British consular protection enjoyed by BN(O) passport holders outside the PRC and the UK.

"Hong Kong passport"?

Many foreigners call this PRC passport "Hong Kong passport"/"香港護照". However, local people in HK seldom do that. They often call this passport "HKSAR passport", "SAR passport", "特區護照" etc. The authorities of Republic of China (Taiwan) refers to this passport as "Hong Kong Passport" because the Taiwanese government tries to avoid references to the political status of Hong Kong as an SAR of the PRC.

The Hong Kong SAR does not issue passports in its own right. It does so by virtue of the authorisation of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China. The features above (cover, request page, issuing state code & nationality codes CHN etc.) show that the HKSAR passport is issued by the HKSAR as an authority of the People's Republic of China.

Moreover, the United Kingdom also issues British National (Overseas) passport for British Dependent Territories citizens connected to Hong Kong registered prior to 1997. The HKID number of the holder is stated in the BN(O) passport. Using the term "Hong Kong passport" without stating the issuing state may cause confusion. Some people use terms like "China Hong Kong passport" or "British Hong Kong passport" to avoid confusion. [http://www.dcu.ie/international/immigration.shtml]

Some authorities, like the Brazilian and New Zealand Consulates in Hong Kong, use the term "Hong Kong passport" to refer to both HKSAR and BN(O) passports. [http://www.nzembassy.com/topic.cfm?CFID=12740200&CFTOKEN=40547404&c=15&l=57&s=go] , [http://www.brazilianconsulate.org.hk/ehtml/services_visa.htm]

Visa-free access for HKSAR passports

According to a study done by Henley & Partners, the HKSAR has a Henley Visa Restrictions Index of 110, which means that HKSAR passport holders enjoy visa-free access to 110 countries and territories. The HKSAR is ranked 13th in the study in terms of international travel freedom. [http://www.henleyglobal.com/visa_restrictions.htm]

It is estimated that 156 countries and territories throughout the world from the list below have granted the privilege of visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders , 131 (visa on arrival for free counted) of them are visa free accessible. Visa issued prior to arrival or pre-arrangement required for countries or territories not mentioned below. [IATA, [http://www.continental.com/web/en-US/apps/travel/passport/default.aspx?SID=AF00139455BF42FE9BB3FB40EC6484F6 Visa Information from Continental Airlines] ] "(136 countries and territories claimed by Immigration Department of Hong Kong as of 9 October 2008)" [ [http://www.gov.hk/tc/residents/immigration/traveldoc/hksarpassport/visafreeaccess.htm] Where visa-free access is permitted, such access is not necessarily a right, and admission may technically be at the discretion of border enforcement officers. Visitors engaging in activities other than tourism, including unpaid work, may require a visa or work permit.





Lai Changxing Incident

Lai Changxing, the suspect of a large smuggling and corruption scandal in mainland China, used a HKSAR passport to enter Canada as a tourist in 1999. His HKSAR passport and Hong Kong permanent residency were revoked by the Hong Kong Government in 2002, stating that he obtained the residency by dishonest means. [http://news.sina.com.hk/cgi-bin/news/show_news.cgi?date=2006-05-20&type=china&ct=china&id=1975157]

ee also

* Chinese nationality law
* British National (Overseas) - Hong Kong
* British nationality law and Hong Kong
* British Dependent Territories citizen Passport
* Hong Kong Certificate of Identity
* Document of Identity
* Hong Kong Re-entry Permit
* Home Return Permit
* Republic of China passport
* Entry Permit of HK and Macau Residents to the Taiwan Area
* Taiwan Compatriot Pass


*Book in Chinese: 張勇、陳玉田:《香港居民的國籍問題》(出版社:三聯書店(香港))

External links

* [http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/eppt_edi.htm HKSAR Electronic Passport (e-Passport) and Electronic Document of Identity for Visa Purposes (e-Doc/I)]
* [http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/topical_2.htm A General Guide to HKSAR Passport]
* [http://www.info.gov.hk/eindex.htm Hong Kong Government Information Centre]
* [http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/archives/2001/07/10/0000093515 Taiwan's visa offer a step forward, Taipei Times]
* [http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/reciprocity/reciprocity_3579.html Reciprocity Schedule (Hong Kong), United States]

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