17 December 2013
The Immigration Department estimates that around 11.11 million passengers will pass through Hong Kong's sea, land and air control points during the upcoming Christmas and New Year festive periods (from December 20 to 26 and from December 31 to January 5), representing an increase of about 7.6 per cent over the corresponding period last year. Among them, 74 per cent or around 8.25 million passengers will pass through land boundary control points. The number of outbound passengers using land boundary control points will reach its peak on December 25 (Wednesday) with around 376 000 passengers departing Hong Kong while the number of inbound passengers will be at its highest on December 26 (Thursday) with around 371 000 passengers arriving in Hong Kong.
Lo Wu will be the busiest control point and it is estimated that there will be around 3.36 million passengers, with a daily average of about 258 000 passengers, travelling via this control point during the festive periods. 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 about 77 000, 165 000 and 96 000 passengers respectively.
To cope with the anticipated heavy traffic during the festive periods, the Immigration Department has redeployed over 100 additional staff to reinforce various control points, and minimised leave for front-line officers in order to operate extra clearance counters and kiosks. Additional security guards will also be deployed to provide crowd management support.
Furthermore, 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 will also establish close 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 for public reference.
Furthermore, the Immigration Department launched the Hong Kong Immigration Mobile Application (ImmD Mobile App) on December 5, 2013. This mobile application enables Hong Kong residents and visitors to check the estimated waiting times of all land boundary control points at any time or place. Then they can plan their trips effectively and save time queuing up at control points. The ImmD Mobile App can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store (supports iOS version 4.3 or above) or Google Play (supports Android version 2.2 or above). The links for downloading can also be found on the Immigration Department website, www.immd.gov.hk.
The Immigration Department reminds travellers to carry their proof of identity and valid travel documents when travelling. They should also check the validity of their travel documents, in particular residents under the age of 18 whose Home Visit Permits are only valid for three years from the date of issue. Non-permanent residents must take their valid smart identity card as well as their Document of Identity for Visa Purposes or valid travel document.
Holders of the acknowledgement receipt issued due to reported loss or replacement of their Hong Kong identity cards, or children under 11 years old who hold Hong Kong identity cards, should carry a valid travel document or Re-entry Permit.
Over 400 e-Channels have been installed at various control points. Hong Kong residents enrolled for the Express e-Channel should enrol again if they have been issued with a new identity card. Furthermore, re-enrolment is required for Mainland visitors who have renewed their Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao or their exit endorsement.
Hong Kong residents who require assistance while travelling outside Hong Kong may call the 24-hour hotline of the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of Immigration Department at (852) 1868.