26 March 2013
An estimated 9.38 million passengers will pass through Hong Kong's sea, land and air control points during the upcoming Easter and Ching Ming Festival festive period (March 28 to April 1 and April 3 to 7). An increase of about 10 per cent over the corresponding holiday period last year is expected. Among these, 75 per cent or around 6.99 million passengers will pass through land boundary control points during this period. The number of outbound passengers using land boundary control points will reach its peak on March 29 with around 449 000 passengers departing Hong Kong, while the inbound traffic will be at its heaviest on March 31 with around 442 000 people arriving in Hong Kong on that day.
Lo Wu Control Point will be the busiest. During the festive period, it is estimated that there will be 3.27 million passengers, with a daily average of 327 000 passengers, travelling via Lo Wu Control Point. The passenger traffic at the Lok Ma Chau, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Shenzhen Bay control points will also be heavy, with daily average forecasts of 96 000, 149 000 and 100 000 passengers respectively.
To cope with the anticipated heavy traffic during the festive period, the Immigration Department has redeployed more than 100 staff to reinforce various control points, has minimised leave for front-line officers and will operate extra clearance counters and kiosks. Additional security guards will be deployed to provide crowd management support.
The Immigration Department, the Police, the Customs and Excise Department and the MTR Corporation will set up a joint command centre at Lo Wu Control Point to closely monitor passenger traffic conditions and make necessary arrangements. The Immigration Department has also established communication with the Mainland frontier inspection authorities to ensure smooth passenger traffic flow.
To avoid congestion and a longer waiting time for immigration clearance than usual, as traffic at control points is expected to be heavy, the Immigration Department advises all cross-boundary passengers to plan in advance and avoid making their journeys during busy periods, and to keep track of radio and TV broadcasts on traffic conditions at various control points. The expected busy times at land boundary control points are available on the website of the Immigration Department at www.immd.gov.hk. In addition, information on public transport services to and from various control points is available on the Transport Department website at www.td.gov.hk. The Immigration Department will upload daily passenger statistics for the above festive periods on its website www.immd.gov.hk for public reference.
The non-stamping immigration clearance arrangement for visitors was implemented on March 19, 2013, and all arriving visitors at immigration control points will be issued with landing slips in lieu of stamping in their travel documents. Upon departure, no slip will be issued and the travel documents will not be stamped. The landing slip is the same as that currently issued to Macao Smart Permanent Identity Card holders and Taiwan residents travelling under the Pre-arrival Registration arrangement. It bears the visitor's English name, travel document number, arrival date, conditions and limit of stay in Hong Kong. Visitors are advised to keep the landing slip while staying in Hong Kong. If a visitor loses the landing slip, he or she may apply for replacement free of charge at the Extension Section at 5/F of Immigration Headquarters. Under normal circumstances, loss of a landing slip will not affect a person's departure clearance.
The Immigration Department reminds cross-boundary passengers to bring along their identity cards and valid travel documents when they travel to the Mainland. Hong Kong residents should check the validity of their Home Visit Permits, in particular residents under the age of 18 whose Home Visit Permits are valid for three years from the date of issue. Non-permanent Hong Kong residents should bring along their valid smart identity card as well as their Document of Identity for Visa Purposes or other valid travel document.
Residents holding receipts acknowledging their application for loss or replacement of identity card, or children under 11 years old who are holding Hong Kong identity cards, should carry a valid travel document or Re-entry Permit for travel.
There are 407 e-Channels installed at various control points. Enrolled passengers who have been issued with a new identity card should enroll again before they can continue to use the Express e-Channel. Frequent Visitor e-Channels are installed at various control points for enrolled frequent visitors. Re-enrolment is required for Mainland visitors who have renewed their Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao or exit endorsement.
Hong Kong residents who require assistance while travelling outside Hong Kong may call the Hong Kong Immigration Department's 24-hour hotline at (852) 1868.