Under the command of an Assistant Director, the Control Branch comprises the Airport Division, the Border (Rail) Division, the Border (Vehicles) Division and the Harbour Division. The Airport Division and the Border (Rail) Division are each headed by a Senior Principal Immigration Officer while the Border (Vehicles) Division and the Harbour Division are each headed by a Principal Immigration Officer. The divisions share responsibilities in maintaining immigration control by denying entry of undesirable persons and preventing wanted criminals from departure, and facilitating the mobility of tourists and business visitors.
|Organisation Chart of the Control Branch as at March 31, 2010.
Immigration Control Points
|The Immigration Department is committed to providing efficient and courteous service at control points.
Unlike some parts of the world, the Immigration Department in Hong Kong examines every person passing in and out of Hong Kong, be it by air, land or sea. An effective immigration control is important towards maintaining law and order as well as the harmonious relationship with different nations and regions. Through immigration examination, wanted criminals are intercepted while undesirables are denied entry into Hong Kong. Persons who do not have the right of abode or the right to land in Hong Kong must fulfill normal immigration requirements when seeking to enter Hong Kong. These include the possession of valid travel documents, sufficient means of support and re-entry facilities to their countries of domicile. Passengers who cannot fulfill these requirements or whose bona fides as genuine visitors are in doubt will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong and will be repatriated. In 2009-2010, 30 488 passengers were refused permission to land in Hong Kong.
The Department is committed to providing efficient and courteous services at control points and efforts are constantly made to facilitate travellers. This enables the tourists to have a pleasant and welcoming first impression as soon as they arrive in Hong Kong and have a good memory of Hong Kong as a warm and nice place.
The Airport Division is responsible for exercising immigration control at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
The HKIA is one of the busiest airports in the world. In 2009-2010, 30 million landing and departing passengers used the HKIA.
|The HKIA is one of the busiest airports in the world.
With effect from January 2010, the Airport Division has enhanced its performance pledge. The new pledge is to clear 98 per cent of residents and 95 per cent of visitors within 15-minute waiting time. In 2009-2010, 100 per cent of residents and 99.2 per cent of visitors were cleared within 15-minute waiting time in the Airport.
To prevent the entry of undesirable persons and deter illegal migration activities, the Airport Division from time to time conducts spot checks on passengers in the arrival and departure halls, transit lounge, transfer areas and boarding gates. In 2009-2010, 491 persons were intercepted for investigation in the Airport for activities related to fraudulent passports and visas.
|'Courtesy Channels' and 'Frequent Visitor Channel' facilitate faster passenger clearance for diplomatic passports holders, frequent visitors and passengers in need of assistance.
To provide facilitation to the travelling public, 'Single Service Points' were established at all immigration halls in the HKIA in November 2006. Each of the Single Service Points serves the functions of 'Courtesy Channel' for holders of diplomatic passports and passengers requiring assistance, and as 'Frequent Visitor Channel' for frequent travellers who have visited Hong Kong via the HKIA three times or more in the preceding 12 months, and who have been issued with a Frequent Visitor Card by the Airport Authority Hong Kong. As at March 31, 2010, the Airport Authority has issued 83 106 HKIA Frequent Visitor Cards.
Business Aviation Centre
To meet the demand for business aviation service, the Business Aviation Centre was set up to provide travel convenience to users of private or chartered aircrafts. Business travellers benefit most from the dedicated immigration clearance services provided on a user-pay basis. In 2009-2010, a total of 4 175 aircrafts and 30 540 travellers and crew used the centre.
|The SkyPier, a cross-boundary passenger ferry terminal for transit passengers located at the HKIA, provides direct air-sea link between the HKIA and eight ports in the Pearl River Delta.
The SkyPier, a cross-boundary passenger ferry terminal for transit passengers located at the HKIA, provides direct air-sea link between the HKIA and eight ports in the Pearl River Delta (PRD), namely Nansha of Guangzhou, Shekou and Fuyong of Shenzhen, Humen of Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiuzhou of Zhuhai, Macao Maritime Ferry Terminal and Taipa. Transit passengers using the SkyPier services enjoy travel convenience at the Airport without having to go through regular immigration and customs formalities. There are 62 participating airlines that provide check-in services at the SkyPier. In 2009-2010, more than 1.26 million arriving and 0.58 million departing transit passengers made use of the SkyPier.
To further enhance the service, cross-boundary one-stop check-in services are available at Shekou, Fuyong, Humen and Macao Maritime Ferry Terminal. Passengers can obtain their boarding passes and check in their luggage for direct transfer from ferries using the SkyPier to their designated flights at the HKIA. Currently, there are 10 airlines participated in providing the service.
Frequent Visitor e-Channel
|Eligible frequent visitors who have successfully enrolled with the Immigration Department of HKSAR of are able to enjoy self-service immigration clearance at the HKIA.
From May 19, 2008 onwards, visitors aged 18 or above who hold a valid HKSAR Travel Pass, APEC Business Travel Card with the economy code 'HKG' or HKIA Frequent Visitor Card and who have successfully enrolled with the Immigration Department of HKSAR, are able to enjoy self-service immigration clearance at the HKIA. A total of 10 Frequent Visitor e-Channels, six at the arrival halls and four at the departure halls, are installed. From September 7, 2009 the Frequent Visitor e-Channel service had been extended to selected members of Frequent Flyer Programmes of designated airlines which have joined this arrangement. As at March 31, 2010, 41 378 freqeunt visitors have enrolled for the service. 206 173 arrving and 166 733 departing passengers have made use of the self-service immigration clearance.
The enrolment offices are located at the airport arrival hall. Enrolment is free of charge.
Hong Kong 2009 East Asian Games
The Fifth East Asian Games was successfully held in Hong Kong in December 2009. During the Games period, the Airport Division had accorded efficient immigration service to competition teams and other participants.
Border (Rail) Division
The Border (Rail) Division comprises three control points located at Lo Wu, Hung Hom and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line. The Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line control points handle passengers conveyed by the MTR. The Hung Hom Control Point provides immigration clearance service for passengers who take through-trains running between the Mainland and Hong Kong.
Lo Wu Control Point
In 2009-2010, 88 million passengers passed through the Lo Wu Control Point similar to 2008-2009. Nevertheless, the Lo Wu Control Point is still the busiest immigration control point in the territory with the highest passenger traffic.
The traffic at the Lo Wu Control Point was extremely busy on festive days. In 2009-2010, the daily average passenger traffic was around 240 000.During weekends or festive periods, the daily passenger figure could reach 300 000. To cope with the huge traffic demand during festive periods, the Department arranged extra manpower from other sections to reinforce the Lo Wu Control Point. In 2009-2010, 99.8 per cent of passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
To facilitate increasing number of cross-boundary students, a total of six additional e-Channels designated for cross-boundary students were put into operation at the Lo Wu Control Point in December 2007 and February 2008.
|Designated e-Channels are set up to facilitate cross-boundary students.
Hung Hom Control Point
The Hung Hom Control Point provides clearance services for travellers taking through-trains to and from the Mainland. The daily 26 runs of through-trains to and from the Mainland serve Dongguan, Guangzhou, Foshan and Zhaoqing of Guangdong province, as well as Shanghai and Beijing. Passenger figure in 2009-2010 reached 3 million, representing a decrease of 5.6 per cent over the previous year. In 2009-2010, 99.9 per cent of passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point
|The Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point is linked to the Futian Port of Shenzhen by a two-level passenger bridge.
The Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point came into operation on August 15, 2007, it operates daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The control point is situated at Lok Ma Chau Terminus and is another boundary control point that can be used by rail passengers. A Public Transport Interchange adjacent to the Terminus caters for cross-boundary passengers using franchised buses, public light buses and taxis. The control point is linked to the Futian Port of Shenzhen by a two-level passenger bridge.
|Immigration clearance hall at the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point
The opening of the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point has helped alleviate the heavy passenger traffic at other control points and cope with the upsurge of cross-boundary traffic. In 2009-2010, over 25.2 million passengers passed through this control point. An escalating trend has been observed in passenger traffic since its commissioning. The daily average number of passengers in March 2010 was 73 960, while the average number of passengers in March 2009 was 61 844, indicated 19.6 per cent of increase in figure. The daily record high was recorded on December 26, 2009, with 99 451 passengers passing through this control point. In 2009-2010, 99.9 per cent of passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
Border (Vehicles) Division
The Border (Vehicles) Division comprises four control points located at Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To, Sha Tau Kok and Shenzhen Bay. These immigration control points provide immigration clearance services for vehicular traffic and passengers travelling to and from the Mainland by shuttle bus (at Lok Ma Chau only), coaches or private cars.
Lok Ma Chau Control Point
|Vehicular e-Channels at control points provide speedy clearance service for cross-boundary drivers.
Of the four existing vehicular control points which provide immigration clearance services to drivers of commercial vehicles and passengers travelling by coaches, shuttle buses, hire cars or private cars running between the Mainland and Hong Kong, the Lok Ma Chau Control Point is the busiest.
The Shenzhen Bay Control Point, with its commissioning on July 1, 2007, has diverted some of the cross-boundary traffic of the Lok Ma Chau Control Point. In 2009-2010, the vehicle throughput at the Lok Ma Chau Control Point was 9.6 million. Amongst the other things, the private car throughput had reached 3.5 million, representing 2 per cent increase when compared with 2008-2009. In 2009-2010, 33.9 million passengers travelled through the Lok Ma Chau Control Point, including 7.4 million visitors, representing 21.9 per cent of the passenger mix. In 2009-2010, around 99 per cent of passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
24-hour Boundary Crossing for Passengers at Lok Ma Chau
The Lok Ma Chau Control Point has been providing round-the-clock passenger clearance service since January 27, 2003. In 2009-2010, a daily average of over 14 800 passengers had travelled through the control point during the overnight period (midnight to 6:30 a.m.). The overnight passenger traffic rose beyond 18 000 during weekends or public holidays.
Man Kam To Control Point
|Man Kam To Control Point
The Man Kam To Control Point operates daily between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., providing immigration clearance services to cross-boundary vehicles and passengers. Passengers travelling via the Man Kam To Control Point are mainly conveyed by the Man Kam To Express Buses which run between Sheung Shui of the New Territories and Wenjindu of Shenzhen; and also by coaches that run between Hong Kong and different provinces in the Mainland. In 2009-2010, 2.04 million passengers travelled through the Man Kam To Control Point, representing an increase of 1.7 per cent over 2008-2009. In 2009-2010, all passengers travelled via the Man Kam To Control Point were cleared within 30 minutes.
Sha Tau Kok Control Point
|Sha Tau Kok Control Point
The Sha Tau Kok Control Point operates daily between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. providing immigration clearance services to cross-boundary vehicles and passengers. Passengers mainly travel by coaches, hire cars or private cars running between the Mainland and Hong Kong. In 2009-2010, 2.5 million passengers travelled through the Sha Tau Kok Control Point, representing an increase of 8.7 per cent over 2008-2009. In 2009-2010, all passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
Starting from July 1, 2009, the daily operating hours of Sha Tau Kok Control Point were extended by two hours in the evening. The new operating hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. The new arrangement makes border-crossing more convenient for passengers and freight operators.
A trial scheme of on-board clearance for cross-boundary students was implemented in the Sha Tau Kok Control Point in August 2009. Currently, seven scheduled coaches operating between the North District of the New Territories and Shenzhen to convey cross-boundary students of three primary schools and kindergartens in the North District are covered by the scheme. From August 2009 to March 2010, a daily average of 201 students travelled through Sha Tau Kok Control Point from August 2009 to March 2010 under this facilitation of cross-boundary student scheme.
Shenzhen Bay Control Point
The Shenzhen Bay Control Point is the first boundary control point providing 'Co-location of Boundary Crossing Facilities' to both passenger and vehicular traffic between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
|Shenzhen Bay Control Point
With the co-location arrangement, much time is saved as passengers conveyed by coaches will only have to get on and off the vehicles once instead of twice when going through immigration clearance at both immigration authorities within the Passenger Terminal Building. For each vehicular clearance kiosk, staff of both Immigration Department and Customs and Excise Department is housed in two closely adjoining compartments, facilitating the provision of one-stop clearance services to cross-boundary vehicles.
The control point operates from 6:30 a.m. to midnight. At present, there are various cross-boundary coaches providing transportation services between Hong Kong and the Mainland. The Public Transport Interchange in the Hong Kong Port Area also provides transportation services of urban/New Territories taxi, franchised bus and franchised public light bus.
|The Shenzhen Bay Control Point is the first boundary control point providing 'Co-location of Boundary Crossing Facilities'.
The daily average passenger crossings at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point increased from 37 600 in 2008-2009 to 49 100 in 2009-2010, showing a robust increase of nearly 30.5 per cent.
The daily average vehicular traffic was 7 800 in 2009-2010, increased by 23.8 per cent when compared with the daily average of 6 300 in 2008-2009. Of which 67 per cent were private cars, 23 per cent were goods vehicles and the rest were coaches.
Traffic statistics showed that the Shenzhen Bay Control Point is becoming popular among cross-boundary passengers and plays a vital role in relieving the burden of other border control points. In 2009-2010, 99.7 per cent of passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
The Harbour Division is responsible for providing immigration services to people travelling through the ports of Hong Kong. There are four sections under the command of the Harbour Division, namely the Harbour Control Section, the Macau Terminal Section, the China Ferry Terminal Section and the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal Section.
Harbour Control Section
|Members of the Ship Searching Unit boarding a fishing vessel to conduct a routine search.
One of the duties of the Harbour Control Section is to conduct immigration clearance on incoming and outgoing vessels at the two designated immigration anchorages, namely, the Eastern Quarantine and Immigration Anchorage and the Western Quarantine and Immigration Anchorage. In 2009-2010, the Harbour Control Section cleared a total of 178 620 vessels, representing an increase of 4.6 per cent over 2008-2009.
Besides, the Harbour Control Section is responsible for handling cases concerning repatriation and emergency discharge of seamen, deserters, stowaways, etc. To step up a post-entry enforcement mechanism, the Ship Searching Unit of the section conducts searches and spot checks on vessels in Hong Kong waters regularly to ensure that all incoming vessels comply with the immigration requirements.
The unit comprises four operation teams and one intelligence and logistics support team. The operation teams are responsible for conducting searches and spot checks on vessels in Hong Kong waters for the detection of evading immigration examination cases, forgeries, illegal immigrants, overstayers, etc. Ad hoc operations and searches are conducted by the unit to strengthen immigration control at sea and combat illicit immigration activities. The intelligence and logistics support team is responsible for the collection and analysis of relevant information and intelligence.
To facilitate the cargo and logistics industry, the Pre-arrival Clearance Scheme has been launched for years. Approved vessels can proceed directly to berths or terminals for cargo operations without having to wait for immigration clearance at the anchorages. In 2009-2010, 24 785 ocean-going vessels and 49 867 Mainland river or coastal trade vessels were approved under this Scheme prior to their entry to Hong Kong.
The arrangement helps save much of the operational costs and time. It also helps develop and promote Hong Kong's position as a preferred international and regional transportation and logistics hub.
Macau Terminal Section
|Macau Ferry Teminal
In 2009-2010, a total of 15.7 million passengers had travelled to and from Macao and some nearby ports of Guangdong Province via the Macau Ferry Terminal. Although the total figure had dropped slightly by 5 per cent as compared to that in the preceding year, the terminal was still the busiest immigration check point among all harbour control points. Majority of the passengers were Hong Kong residents, accumulated to about 70 per cent of the passenger traffic which is around 11 million while the visitors ratio was increasing gradually in the recent years. The terminal operates round-the-clock with about 300 daily sailings between Hong Kong and Macao or the Mainland. There is also helicopter service between Hong Kong and Macao with about 50 flights per day. The renovation and expansion work of the helipad was completed in October 2009. In 2009-2010, 99.8 per cent of passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
|Eligible Macao permanent residents who have successfully enrolled may use the e-Channels for self-service immigration clearance at the Macau Ferry Terminal and the China Ferry Terminal.
To enhance travel convenience between Hong Kong and Macao, with effect from December 10, 2009, eligible permanent residents of either Hong Kong or Macao Special Administration Regions can travel between Macao and Hong Kong on strength of their respective valid permanent identity cards with the exemption of furnishing Arrival/Departure Cards. Besides, eligible Hong Kong and Macao permanent residents aged 11 or above who have successfully enrolled may use each other e-Channels at designated control points for self-service immigration clearance. An enrolment office and self-service kiosks have been set up in the terminal for eligible persons to enrol for the service.
A total of 46 e-Channels, including four for both Hong Kong and Macao residents, are in operation. To cope with the increasing demand and to further improve our service, four existing e-Channels will be modified in mid-July 2010 to serve both Hong Kong and Macao residents.
China Ferry Terminal Section
|China Ferry Terminal
The Section provides immigration clearance to passengers travelling by vessels between Hong Kong and the Mainland or Macao at the China Ferry Terminal. Besides, the Section also deploys officers to provide immigration clearance service to Hong Kong based cruise liners berthing at the Ocean Terminal.
In 2009-2010, the China Ferry Terminal handled a daily average of 134 sailings between Hong Kong and the Mainland or Macao. A total of 7.5 million passengers were processed by the China Ferry Terminal Section, which included 0.78 million cruise passengers, representing a decrease of 15 per cent when compared with 2008-2009. Among all passengers, 39.5 per cent were visitors. During the period, all passengers were cleared within 30 minutes.
With effect from December 10, 2009, the e-Channel service at the China Ferry Terminal has been extended to eligible Macao Smart Permanent Identity Card (MSPIC) holders, aged 11 or above, who have successfully enrolled for the service. Two e-Channels at the arrival and departure hall respectively have been designated for MSPIC holders accordingly. An enrolment office has also been set up in the China Ferry Terminal to cater for on-site enrolment of e-Channel service of eligible MSPIC holders.
At present, 22 e-Channels are in operation at the China Ferry Terminal to provide self-service immigration clearance for passengers.
Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal Section
|Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal
The Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal Section provides immigration clearance to passengers at the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal by its Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal Sub-section. Its River Trade Terminal Sub-section provides immigration clearance to Mainland river or coastal trade vessels.
The operator of the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal initially planned to provide ferry services to and from Macao but the application was not yet approved by the relevant authorities. The operator therefore changed to operate ferry services to and from Shekou since June 15, 2007. In 2009-2010, 1 187 passengers were processed by the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal Sub-section.
The River Trade Terminal Sub-section provides round-the-clock immigration clearance to Mainland river or coastal trade vessels at the Tuen Mun Immigration Anchorage so as to relieve the heavy traffic at Ma Wan Channel and facilitate trade activities. In 2009-2010, a daily average of 104 vessels were cleared at the Tuen Mun Immigration Anchorage. The terminal also deals with repatriation and emergency discharge of seamen, deserters, stowaways, etc.
Computerisation of Port Formalities
The Operating Sea Crew System, which interfaces with Phase II of the Electronic Business System of the Marine Department, has been implemented in Harbour Control Section since August 19, 2009. It provides a more effective and systematic way in handling crew's movement records and at the same time, creates an additional convenient platform for users to submit pre-arrival clearance applications online through the Internet.