Apply for travel documents early to avoid Lunar New Year rush

10 January 2013

Hong Kong residents intending to travel abroad during the Lunar New Year holidays are reminded to apply early for travel documents.

An Immigration Department spokesman said the processing time for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passport applications is normally 10 working days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and general holidays) after receipt of all necessary documents, the application fee and a photograph. Applications in respect of children under 11 years old not holding a Hong Kong permanent identity card normally take 14 working days. As regards applications submitted by post, via drop-in box or online, processing might take two to three more working days. Applications for a replacement passport due to loss, damage or change of personal data should be made in person, and the processing time may be longer.

A request for urgent issue of an HKSAR passport will only be entertained in justifiable circumstances. Normally, no priority will be granted to pleasure trippers.

Eligible applicants aged 18 or over may submit HKSAR passport applications at the self-service kiosks at Immigration Headquarters and all six Immigration branch offices during office hours.

Eligible applicants aged 11 to 17 may also submit HKSAR passport applications via the self-service kiosks at Immigration Headquarters during office hours. Applicants who wish to apply for or collect travel documents in person are encouraged to make prior appointments through the Internet (www.gov.hk/tdbooking) or the 24-hour hotline (2598 0888).

At present, 147 countries and territories have granted visa-free access or visa-on-arrival to HKSAR passport holders. Some countries require visitors to have a passport with validity of at least six months.

HKSAR passport application forms and information leaflets on application procedures and the requisite documents are available at Immigration Headquarters and Immigration branch offices. Application forms can also be downloaded from the Internet (www.gov.hk/passport). For more details on passport applications, please visit the website at www.gov.hk/passport. Enquiries can also be made by telephone (2824 6111) or fax (2877 7711).

Before travelling abroad, Hong Kong residents can use the Registration of Outbound Travel Information (ROTI) service to register their contact details and itinerary. The information they provide allows the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the Hong Kong Immigration Department to contact and assist them in an emergency outside Hong Kong.

For more information on ROTI, please visit www.gov.hk/roti or call (852) 183 5500. Residents who need assistance while outside Hong Kong may call the 24-hour hotline of the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit at (852) 1868.