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International Travel

English

Country Information

Hong Kong

Country Information

Hong Kong
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Last Updated: November 20, 2016
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

One month beyond the date of your intended stay

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

 One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

 None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau

26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone: +(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(852) 2523-9011
Fax: +(852) 2845-4845

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Hong Kong SAR for information on U.S. – Hong Kong SAR relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

To enter Hong Kong, you need:

  • a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the date of your intended stay,
  • adequate funds to cover your stay without working locally, and
  • evidence of onward/return transportation.

You only need a visa if:

  • You plan to stay for more than 90 days – obtain an extension with the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department, if necessary.
  • You plan to work or study in Hong Kong – visas must be obtained prior to departing the United States.

You must possess a valid passport and Chinese visa to enter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from Hong Kong.  Further information on travel to and around the PRC is available in our China Country Specific Information.

Visit the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department or the Embassy of the People's Republic of China website for the most current visa information.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Hong Kong SAR.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Hong Kong has a low crime rate.  Even so, you should exercise caution when in congested areas and pay particular attention to personal belongings while in crowded areas and while traveling on public transportation.  U.S. citizens should try to avoid areas of demonstrations should they occur and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings as even peaceful demonstrations can turn confrontational. Violent crime, though rare, does occur. 

  • Take routine safety precautions.
  • Pay attention to surroundings.
  • Report any concerns to the local police.  
  • Call “999,” the local equivalent to the “911”

Please note that mace, pepper spray, stun guns, and other self-protection weapons are banned in Hong Kong.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available.  Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.  Be alert to criminal schemes, such as internet and dating scams, as well as financial scams.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:  Report crimes to the local police at “999” and contact the U.S. Consulate General at +(825) 2523-9011.  U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Consulate General. 

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Hong Kong has a crime victim compensation program available to U.S. citizens who are legal residents or tourists in Hong Kong.  For more detailed information on the program and its requirements, please see the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department webpage.  More resources for victims of crime in Hong Kong are available in our Help for U.S. Victims of Crime in Hong Kong information sheet.

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Consulate General for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:   You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

  • Drugs: Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Hong Kong are severe.  
  • ID: Police have the right to take you in for questioning if you are not carrying your passport.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Consulate General immediately. Hong Kong authorities regularly notify the Consulate if they know that a U.S. citizen has been detained or arrested.  See our webpage for further information.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Controlled Items: Hong Kong customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning controlled items you might be carrying while transiting Hong Kong (temporary importation or exportation). Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) security routinely and completely screens any luggage loaded on to an aircraft in Hong Kong whether belonging to a departing or transiting passenger. Discovery of weapons of any kind – including stun guns - during this screening will be referred to the police for investigation, leading to arrest and detention.

If you bring controlled items into Hong Kong without the necessary Hong Kong documents, you may be prosecuted and the goods may be seized. The penalty for trafficking in dangerous drugs can be life imprisonment and a heavy fine.  Among the other items that you must declare to customs officials are liquors, tobacco, cigarettes and cigars, methyl alcohol, and merchandise imported for commercial purposes. There are no currency restrictions for travelers.

The following is a list (non-exhaustive) of controlled and/or prohibited items:

  • Animals and plants
  • Counterfeit goods or illegally-produced copies of copyrighted items
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Ivory
  • Meat and poultry
  • Narcotics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Sensitive high technology or military products 
  • Television decoders requiring a subscription
  • Textiles
  • Weapons, not limited to firearms and ammunition
    • Any bladed/pointed weapon
    • Arms
      • Air rifle/air gun/air pistol from which any shot, bullet or missile can be discharged with a muzzle energy greater than two joules
      • Firearm
      • Gun/pistol or other propelling/releasing instrument from or by which a projectile containing any gas or chemical could be discharged
      • Taser or any electric stunning device
      • Weapons for the discharge of any noxious liquid/gas/powder, and harpoon or spear gun
    • Brass knuckles
    • Chinese-style fighting irons
    • Gravity knives
    • Gravity-operated, spring-loaded or extendable steel batons
    • Imitation firearm
    • Knives with a blade that can be exposed by a spring or other mechanical/electric deviceo
    • Paintball gun

Please visit the website of the Hong Kong Department of Customs and Excise for specific information regarding Hong Kong customs requirements.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection encourages the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. 

For additional information, please visit the U.S. Council for International Business website and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web page on Traveling with Samples.

Please see our Customs Information sheet for general information.

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is not recognized under PRC nationality law.  Be mindful of the following special circumstances for dual nationals when traveling in the region. 

  • Enter Hong Kong on your U.S. passport to ensure the U.S. Consulate General can provide consular assistance in case of arrest or other emergency.
  • Your child will be considered a PRC citizen if one or both of the parents are Chinese nationals regardless of U.S. citizenship.
  • If you are a dual national with current or previous Hong Kong residency and wish to ensure U.S consular protection, you should present your U.S. passport to the Hong Kong Immigration Department and complete an application for declaration of change of nationality
  • If traveling onward to mainland China, enter China on your U.S. passport to ensure U.S. consular protection.  See China Country Specific Information for more information.

For further information on consular protection and dual nationality, please refer to our website.  Information on Hong Kong permanent residence may be obtained from the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s right of abode webpage.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Hong Kong. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Pets: You must have a permit to bring dogs and cats into Hong Kong.  Dogs and cats imported from the United States may be exempted from quarantine when they have valid health and vaccination certificates and the the animal has been in the United States for at least six months immediately preceding travel.

Additional information on importing pets is available on the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:  Despite efforts to improve accessibility, Hong Kong continues to be a challenge for those with physical disabilities.  It has many stairs, inclines, and steep, uneven walkways not designed to accommodate the use of a walker, cane, crutches, or wheelchair.

Hong Kong law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services, and the government generally enforces these provisions. The law mandates access to buildings, information, and communications for persons with disabilities.  The Social Welfare Department is primarily responsible for coordinating and funding public assistance programs to persons with disabilities.  The Hong Kong Tourism Board publishes “Accessible Hong Kong” a guide for visitors with disabilities and the Transport Department publishes A Guide to Public Transport for People with Disabilities. In addition, the Hong Kong government created Cyberable, a barrier free portal website, to provide one-stop information for persons with various disabilities.

Typhoons: During the typhoon season (July through November), the Hong Kong Observatory issues typhoon warnings an average of six times a year and heavy rainstorm alerts more frequently.  The Hong Kong Observatory has an excellent notification and monitoring system.  You may find general information about natural disaster preparedness at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Please be advised that if the Hong Kong Government announces a Typhoon Signal 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning, the Consulate General will be closed for services.  You may find additional information on typhoon and storm preparedness on the Hurricane Preparedness and Natural Disasters pages of the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Good medical facilities are available, and there are many Western-trained physicians in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong emergency service response times for police, fire, and ambulances are good.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Medication: Prescription drugs are widely available – names may vary.  You need a prescription from a doctor in Hong Kong to purchase medications locally.  Bring prescription medications to cover your stay in Hong Kong or plan to see a physician in Hong Kong to obtain a new prescription.  If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Hong Kong to ensure the medication is legal in Hong Kong.  Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Air Quality:  Air pollution is an increasing concern in Hong Kong.  Congested vehicle traffic and mainland factories pump out ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen oxides, leading to a visible haze in the atmosphere on most days of the year.  Average roadside pollution levels exceed WHO guidelines by 200% and continue to deteriorate, creating health risks for those with allergies, asthma, or cardiac problems.

Disease: The following diseases are prevalent: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Chikungunya (via mosquitoes), Avian Influenza, and Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.

Hong Kong remains at "Alert" response status for Pandemic Influenza.  Further current information about Pandemic Influenza and other health-related concerns in Hong Kong are available on the Centre for Health Protection website.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions differ significantly from those in the United States.

  • Traffic moves on the left. 
  • Each year there are approximately 14,000 traffic accidents.
  • Speed limits vary depending on location. 
  • Use of seatbelts is mandatory.

You can drive using your U.S. driver’s license for up to a year.  If you hold a valid U.S. driver’s license and have resided in the United States at least six months, you can apply for a Hong Kong driver’s license.  Visit the Hong Kong Transport Department online for further details.

Traffic Laws: Many traffic violations are similar to those in the United States, including penalties for reckless driving, driving under the influence, and using a hand-held device while operating a vehicle.  Hong Kong law requires that all registered vehicles carry valid third-party liability insurance.  

Public Transportation: Approximately 90 percent of the population in Hong Kong depends on public transport.  Taxis, buses, and the mass transit railway (MTR) are readily available, inexpensive, and generally safe.  The MTR, an underground railway network, is the most popular mode of public transport, carrying an average of 3.5 million passengers a day.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight:  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Hong Kong’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau

26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone: +(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(852) 2523-9011
Fax: +(852) 2845-4845

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General Information

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) has applied between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the United States since September 1, 1997.

For information concerning travel to Hong Kong, including information about the location of the U.S. Consulate General, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Hong Kong.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children, including applications concerning the Hong Kong SAR.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority (FCA).

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax:  202-736-9132
Website  

The Hong Kong SAR Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Secretary for Justice, International Law Division.  The Hong Kong Central Authority reviews all incoming applications, files applications with the court, monitors the case from beginning to end, updates the requesting Central Authority on the progress of the case, and provides other assistance as appropriate, including involving law enforcement or social workers. The Central Authority does not represent a parent in the court proceedings.

The Hong Kong Central Authority can be reached at:

Central Authority of Hong Kong
(The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction)
c/o International Law Division
(Mutual Legal Assistance Unit)
Department of Justice
47/F, High Block
Queensway Government Offices
66 Queensway, Hong Kong

Telephone Number: (852) 2867 2062
Fax Number: (852)2523 7959 or (852) 2877 9585
Email: childabduct@doj.gov.hk

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Hong Kong, the left-behind parent or the Central Authority of the left-behind parent’s country must submit a Hague application to the Hong Kong Central Authority.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Hong Kong Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are not fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Hong Kong central authorities.  Attorney fees in Hong Kong can vary depending upon an attorney’s experience and reputation.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Hong Kong.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Hong Kong.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required to submit Hague Convention applications to the Hong Kong Central Authority.  However, parents may wish to hire a private attorney to follow up on the case, to provide direct information to the court, and to advise as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances.  A parent may be able to retain a private attorney through legal aid if the parent satisfies the merit and means tests set by the Legal Aid Department.  If a parent wishes to apply for legal aid, the Hong Kong Central Authority will provide that parent direct contact information for legal aid.  Parents may represent themselves if they choose not to have a private attorney.

The U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, posts list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law at.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Hong Kong Central Authority strongly recommends that parents reach an amicable settlement for the voluntary return of the child through mediation.  Mediation services are available through the Social Welfare Department or via accrediting bodies such as the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, Integrated Family Services Centre, and International Social Services (Hong Kong Branch).

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

China is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Since Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a territory of China, all adoptions between Hong Kong and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008.

The Government of Hong Kong tends to prefer that prospective adoptive parents are ethnic Chinese. However, non-ethnic Chinese may also adopt if willing to consider an older child or a child with special needs.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Hong Kong is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Hong Kong, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Hong Kong also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents currently living in Hong Kong must be residents of Hong Kong or should offer assurance to the Adoption Unit that they will be living in Hong Kong for a minimum of 12 months. There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents residing in the United States.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age. Prospective adoptive parents over the age of 45 will be considered if they are willing to accept older children or children with special needs.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Both single individuals and married couples are eligible to adopt from Hong Kong. For single prospective adoptive parents, preference is given to single parents with special parental skills, such as nursing or social work skills. Some single parents have found their chances of being approved for adoption in Hong Kong increase if they agree to adopt a child with special needs. Single parents who already have a special needs child have a better chance of being matched with a special needs adoptee.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents will have to prove their income exceeds the Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income set by the Social Welfare Department. The Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income requires that after a family has paid all the necessary monthly expenditures (e.g., mortgage, loans, insurance, helper wages, tuition, etc.), a minimum level of funds are left over for incidental expenses. For instance, a family of three must show monthly funds of HK$18,700 and a family of four must show monthly funds of HK23,500. The Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income is not available publicly. The Social Welfare Department must be contacted directly for specifics. Couples residing outside of Hong Kong must submit their tax returns and complete a questionnaire detailing their financial assets.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents should be in good physical and mental health.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Hong Kong has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Hong Kong must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Hong Kong attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Hong Kong's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.

Hong Kong also has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Hong Kong unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Age Requirements: Children between the ages of six months and 18 years of age can be adopted. (Statistics reflect that most children available for adoption are five years old or younger and some have health problems or are disabled.)
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How to Adopt

HONG KONG'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Adoption Unit of the Social Welfare Department

THE PROCESS

Because Hong Kong has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Hong Kong must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Hong Kong before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions.

The process for adopting a child from Hong Kong generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Hong Kong
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Hong Kong is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Hong Kong.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    Once the U.S. Government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Hong Kong law.

    The Hong Kong-licensed provider will submit the adoption application to the Hong Kong central authority, including any preferences the prospective adoptive parents may have about the child's age, sex, physical/medical condition, or region of origin within Hong Kong. The application package should also include a cover letter.

    The Hong Kong central authority reviews the documents and advises the prospective adoptive parent(s), either directly or through their adoption agency, whether additional documents or authentications are required.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Hong Kong as described in the "WHO" tab.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Hong Kong determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Hong King may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    Once the Hong Kong central authority approves the application, it matches the application with a specific child. The central authority then sends the prospective adoptive parent(s) a letter of introduction about the child, including photographs and the child's health record. This document is commonly called a 'referral.' Prospective adoptive parents who still have questions about the child after reviewing this information may follow up with the Hong Kong central authority either directly or via their adoption agency .

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Hong Kong's requirements, as described in the "Who" tab. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    Prospective adoptive parent(s) then either accept or refuse the referral and send the document to their agency, which forwards it to the Hong Kong central authority. If prospective adoptive parent(s) are considering refusing a referral they should discuss with their agency the possibility of getting a second referral.

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Hong Kong adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Hong Kong:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Hong Kong, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Hong Kong.

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Hong Kong generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Director of the Social Welfare Department reviews the documentation to determine if the adoption is in the best interests of the child. Upon approval, the Social Welfare Department will file a court order to pass the care and control of the child to the Director of the U.S. adoption agency. (If the prospective adoptive parents are residents of Hong Kong, the child is released into their home for at least six months.) During the six months of living with the family, an adoption social worker makes periodic visits to determine if adoption by the prospective adoptive parents is in the best interest of the child.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: The District Court grants the adoption order and issues the final adoption certificate. For non-residents of Hong Kong, the finalization of the adoption passes the care and control of the child from the U.S. adoption agency to the adoptive parents.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES:The adoption agency arranges the prospective adoptive parents' home study. The adoption agency works with one of the agencies in Hong Kong that have been accredited to facilitate international adoptions. The U.S. adoption agency forwards the home study report and supporting documents to the Hong Kong accredited body. The Hong Kong agency submits the documentation to the Social Welfare Department. Currently the following agencies have been accredited in Hong Kong to facilitate intercountry adoptions: International Social Service (ISS), Po Leung Kuk, and Mother's Choice Overseas Adoption Service. The ISS works closely with Hong Kong's Social Welfare Department in placing children overseas. Mother's Choice specializes in placing children with special needs - ranging from vision and hearing impairment to cerebral palsy, down's syndrome, and developmental delays.

International Social Service Hong Kong Branch 
6/F., Southorn Center
130 Hennessy Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2834-6863
Fax: (852) 2834-7627
Email: isshkbr@netvigator.com
Website: http://www.isshk.org

(U.S. Office)
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Tel: (410) 230-2734
Fax: (410) 230-2741

Intercountry Adoption Service 
Po Leung Kuk 

66 Leighton Road,
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel.: (852) 2277 8368
Fax: (852) 2577 7380

Mother's Choice 
Overseas Adoption Service
10 Borrett Road
Mid-Levels
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2537-4122
Fax: (852) 2537-7681
Email: adoption@motherschoice.com
Website: http://www.motherschoice.org/en/

  • ADOPTION APPLICATION: The adoption application is filed with the Adoption Unit of the Social Welfare Department.
  • TIME FRAME: The average amount of time required to complete an intercountry adoption ranges from 12-24 months. The timeframe may be increased if the prospective adoptive parents have specific requests regarding the child's age and/or medical conditions.
  • ADOPTION FEES: The Social Welfare Department's Adoption Unit provides an assessment of the prospective adoptive parents' suitability to adopt at no charge. Adoptive parents based in Hong Kong are required to pay $2,840 HK for acting as guardian ad litem while the adoption proceedings are finalized. Prospective adoptive parents residing outside of Hong Kong are not required to pay this fee.

    In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The following is a list of documents required to adopt a child from Hong Kong:
    • Copy of U.S. passport;
    • Copy of marriage certificate (if applicable);
    • Evidence of termination of previous marriage (if applicable);
    • Proof of income;
    • Copies of school credentials;
    • Evidence of prior adoptions (if any); and
    • Satisfactory home study report and medical examination reports of the adopting parents. (These documents are not required by Hong Kong to be authenticated. The agencies in the U.S. engaging in adoptions submit notarized home study and physical exam reports in adoption cases.)
  1. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

  2. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      The Social Welfare Department will obtain the child's original birth certificate (or certified duplicate) from the Hong Kong Birth Registry. This document will then be passed to the agency that is caring for the child. Adoptive parents can apply for their names to be added as annotations to the child's birth certificate.

    • Hong Kong Passport
      Your child is not yet an American citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Hong Kong.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Consulate General for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Consulate General for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

      On November 3, 2008, the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong's panel physicians began using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for the TB medical screening for all immigrant visa applicants from Hong Kong and Macau, including adopted children. The 2007 TB TIs include new requirements that affect the pace at which some adoption cases can be concluded. Please visit the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/panel_2007.htm for further information regarding the 2007 Technical Instructions for Tuberculosis Screening and Treatment for Panel Physicians.

    CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

    For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

    For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

    * Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Hong Kong. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which Passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Hong Kong, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Hong Kong, registration assists the U.S. Consulate General in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Hong Kong require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Hong Kong does not have any post-adoption requirements.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau 
26 Garden Road
Central, Hong Kong
Mailing Address:
U.S. Department of State
Hong Kong Immigrant Visa Unit
8000 Hong Kong Place
Washington, DC 20521-8000
Tel: (852) 2841-2211
Fax: (852) 2845-4845
Internet: https://hk.usconsulate.gov/visas/

Hong Kong's Adoption Authority 
Adoption Unit
Social Welfare Department
Room 201, 2/F., North Point Goverment Offices,
333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3595 1935
Fax: (852) 3595 0025
Email: grau@swd.gov.hk
Internet: http://www.info.gov.hk/swd

Diplomatic Mission for Hong Kong 
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 328-2500
Fax: (202) 588-0032
Email: webmaster@china-embassy.org

*The People's Republic of China also has consulates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, and Chicago.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).

American Citizens residing in Hong Kong and Macau are served by the USCIS District Office in Bangkok, Thailand. 
E-mail: bkkcis.inquiries@dhs.gov
Phone: +66-2-205-5352
Fax: +66-2-255-2917
Mail: DHS/USCIS
Sindhorn, Tower 2, 15 th Floor
130-133 Wireless Rd.
Lumpini Pathumwan
Bangkok Thailand 10330

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A
H-2B None N/A N/A
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth and Death Certificates

Available. Birth and death certificates are available for any person who was born or who died in Hong Kong since 1872, except during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong (1941-1945). A certificate entitled "AN EXTRACT OF ENTRY IN REGISTER KEPT IN THE SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION OF HONG KONG," is issued under the seal of the Registrar General of Births and Deaths.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available from 1945, pre-war records of the Registrar of Marriages are not normally available, but in certain cases may be obtained from the church where the ceremony was performed. The original certificate, entitled "Certificate of Marriage", is delivered to the marrying parties after the marriage ceremony, and the duplicate will be filed by the Registrar. Duplicate copies, when available, are entitled "Certified True Copy of Certificate of Marriage".

The Marriage Amendment Ordinance, which took effect in March 2006, expanded the definition of individuals legally allowed to conduct marriages in Hong Kong. Under the Marriage Amendment Ordinance, marriages may now be conducted by a Registrar, a minister, or any person appointed as a civil celebrant of marriages. The marriage must take place at a marriage registry before a Registrar, in a licensed place of public worship before a minister, or elsewhere in Hong Kong before a civil celebrant of marriage. The Hong Kong government keeps an updated list of "Licensed Places of Public Worship for Celebration of Marriage". The certificate of marriage will be signed in duplicate by the Registrar, the officiating minister or the civil celebrant, by the parties and two witnesses aged 18 or above.

Divorce Decree

Available from 1945. Prior to 1971, customary Chinese marriages could be dissolved by mutual written consent of the two parties, signed before two witnesses. After October 7, 1971, all marriages must have been dissolved through regular divorce proceedings conducted at the appropriate court, with the final decree or divorce registered at the Civil Registry. A certificate "DECREE ABSOLUTE" issued by the Family Court Registry bearing the seal of the District Court, is the final document for the divorce.

Applicants who plan to use a divorce decree in overseas proceedings should submit an application for a sealed copy of the decree at the District Court in Hong Kong. Applicants should then bring the sealed copy of the divorce decree to the High Court Registry for authentication.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

National ID Cards
 

Available

Document Name:  HKSAR Passport (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Registration Criteria: Only Chinese nationals with the right of abode in Hong Kong can qualify for the new HKSAR passport. This document lists the bearer as a Chinese national with the right of abode in the HKSAR, and also lists the bearer's permanent Hong Kong ID number. Bearers may hold the HKSAR and the BN(O) passport concurrently.

Document Name:  British National (Overseas) Passport (BN(O)):

Registration Criteria: This passport identifies the bearer's nationality as "British National (Overseas)." It is issued to persons with the right of abode in Hong Kong whom British authorities consider British nationals, but who lack the right of abode in the United Kingdom. The BN(O) does not confer the same rights as a regular United Kingdom passport. For example, BN(O) bearers do not have the right to live in Great Britain, nor are they eligible for the U.S. Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Hong Kong visa reciprocity should be followed for BN(O) bearers.

Document Name:  Hong Kong Document of Identity

Registration Criteria: This document has been issued to persons who have been legally residing in Hong Kong for less than the seven years necessary to have full right of abode, and who cannot obtain a national passport. Previously, a Document of Identity was valid for re-entry to Hong Kong only if it contained a re-entry visa. According to Hong Kong immigration, the Document of Identity is now valid for return to Hong Kong at any time during its validity, even without an explicit re-entry visa. Currently Hong Kong reciprocity applies.

Exceptions: Hong Kong residents holding British citizenship with the right of abode in the United Kingdom (and thus carrying a regular United Kingdom passport) continue to be subject to the reciprocity schedule for the United Kingdom.

Comments:

  • HKSAR and BN(O) passports, along with Document of Identity are recognized as valid for return to Hong Kong for a period of six months beyond their expiration date, and thus qualify for the automatic extension of validity for purposes of INA section 212(A)(7)(B)(i)(I). [See 9 FAM 41.104 Note 2.] The Document of Identity does not qualify for the automatic extension of validity. Effective July 1, 1997, the British Dependent Territories Citizen Passport (BDTC), ceased to be valid for visa-issuing purposes.

  • Posts issuing MRVs to persons bearing one of the above Hong Kong travel documents should use the following codes in the nationality field:

    • HNK - HKSAR passport HK Certificate of Identity, or HK Document of Identity,
    • HOKO - British National (Overseas) Passport.
       

Because the BN(O) identifies the bearer as a British national, it is essential to maintain these two separate nationality codes for statistical reasons.

  • Use of Visa in Expired Passport: Under 22 CFR 41.112(3), an alien can apply for admission to the United Sates with a valid visa in one passport (even if the passport has expired), provided the alien is also in possession of a valid passport issued by the authorities of the country of which s/he is a national.
  • An expired travel document, issued by Hong Kong authorities under British rule, containing a valid U.S. visa will be accepted for admission to the United States when presented with an unexpired travel document issued by the appropriate Hong Kong authorities. This will, for example, permit a Hong Kong resident with a valid visa in an expired British document such as the BN(O), to present it with an unexpired HKSAR passport in order to apply for admission.
Police, Court, Prison Records

Certificate of No-Criminal Conviction (CNCC)

The issuance of a Certificate of No Criminal Conviction is a charged service provided by the Hong Kong Police Force. Both individuals residing in Hong Kong and individuals residing outside of Hong Kong may apply.

Individuals residing in Hong Kong

All applicants should appear in person at the Certificate of No Criminal Conviction Office which is located at 14/F, Arsenal House, Police Headquarters, 1 Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The office is open from 9am to 5:15pm from Monday to Friday. (Note: The payment window is closed daily between 1-2pm and stops accepting payments at 5pm.) Applicants may elect to make an advance appointment through the Automatic Telephone Appointment System at 2396-5351, no less than one day in advance of the intended appointment. Please note that the "Certificate of No Criminal Conviction" or an appropriate reply together with the applicant's police record will be sent directly to the U.S. Consulate General. Please do not ask for a copy to be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) as this could delay processing of your visa application.

An applicant should be prepared to present the following items:

  1. his/her Hong Kong Identity Card or valid travel document;
  2. the original and a photocopy (for each applicant) of the letter from NVC which contains his/her name and the checklist of documents necessary for obtaining a visa (the one that references the need for police certificates);
  3. the original and photocopy of a document proving his/her relationship with the principal applicant for the visa if item #2 does not contain the applicant's name;
  4. the processing fee of HK $210 per person - payment via cash, Octopus cards or checks payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."

 

All applicants must consent to have their fingerprints taken. Each applicant must sign an authorization that the fingerprints can be retained by the Hong Kong Police and that details of any criminal conviction recorded in Hong Kong can be disclosed to the U.S. Consulate General.

Individuals residing outside Hong Kong

Applications should be made in writing to:

The Commission of Police (Attn: EO CNCC)
14/F, Arsenal House
Police Headquarters, 1 Arsenal Street
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

An applicant residing outside Hong Kong must submit the following items. Please note that documents issued in languages other than Chinese or English, must be accompanied by an official transcript, in Chinese or English, endorsed either by the issuing authority or a certificated translation services body.

  1. his/her Hong Kong Identity Card or valid travel document;
  2. the original and a photocopy (for each applicant) of the letter from NVC which contains his/her name and the checklist of documents necessary for obtaining a visa (the one that references the need for police certificates);
  3. the original and photocopy of a document proving his/her relationship with the principal applicant for the visa if item #2 does not contain the applicant's name;
  4. a full set of the applicant's fingerprints taken and certified by a recognized and official police or law enforcement agency where the applicant currently resides. Certification of the fingerprints must clearly state: (i) the full name and rank of the person taking the prints, (ii) the full name of the police or law enforcement agency with their official chop; and (iii) the date and place the prints were taken. Prints that do not clearly show certification will be refused. Fingerprints taken by the applicant him/herself, a legal representative or private/commercial agency are also unacceptable;
  5. a bank draft in the amount of HK$210 per person, made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region." The draft must be payable in Hong Kong. A personal check in Hong Kong dollars, which is issued an authorized by any licensed banks in Hong Kong, is also acceptable.

 

If an applicant is under investigation by the Hong Kong Police or is currently a defendant in criminal proceedings in Hong Kong or is subject to non-payment of fines including traffic offences, his/her application will not be further processed until the matter has been concluded.

The relevant application form, standard personal data form, and fingerprint consent form can be downloaded from the "Downloadable Forms" web page of "Certificate of No Criminal Conviction" on Hong Kong Police Force website. Any inquiries may be addressed to Certificate of No Criminal Conviction office, email: eo-cncc-ib@police.gov.hk, phone: +852-2860-6557 (for local residents); +852-2860-6558 (for overseas applicants), fax: +852-2200-4321. Please refer to www.police.gov.hk for further information and updates on police certificate from Hong Kong.

Court Record

Available. Extract from case register is available to an applicant upon written application to the First Clerk of the Magistracy where the conviction occurred. The applicant should provide his/her full name, date and place of birth, and the case number. Magisterial records are normally available only for three years. If the conviction occurred in a District Court or the High Court, the application should be addressed to the Registrar of the court concerned.

Prison Record

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

The following documents meet the definition of passport under INA Section 101(a)(30) and are valid for visa issuing purposes.

  • HKSAR Passport (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region): Only Chinese nationals with the right of abode in Hong Kong can qualify for the new HKSAR passport. This document lists the bearer as a Chinese national with the right of abode in the HKSAR, and also lists the bearer's permanent Hong Kong ID number. Bearers may hold the HKSAR and the BN(O) passport concurrently.
  • British National (Overseas) Passport (BN(O)): This passport identifies the bearer's nationality as "British National (Overseas)." It is issued to persons with the right of abode in Hong Kong whom British authorities consider British nationals, but who lack the right of abode in the United Kingdom. The BN(O) does not confer the same rights as a regular United Kingdom passport. For example, BN(O) bearers do not have the right to live in Great Britain, nor are they eligible for the U.S. Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Hong Kong visa reciprocity should be followed for BN(O) bearers.
  • Hong Kong Certificate of Identity: This document has been issued to persons with the right of abode in Hong Kong who were not born there, or who lack proof of birth in Hong Kong. The issuance of these documents terminated after July 1, 1997 and Certificates of Identity ceased to be valid in 2007. Upon expiration, qualified bearers were able to replace the documents with the HKSAR passport.
  • Hong Kong Document of Identity: This document has been issued to persons who have been legally residing in Hong Kong for less than the seven years necessary to have full right of abode, and who cannot obtain a national passport. Previously, a Document of Identity was valid for re-entry to Hong Kong only if it contained a re-entry visa. According to Hong Kong immigration, the Document of Identity is now valid for return to Hong Kong at any time during its validity, even without an explicit re-entry visa. Currently Hong Kong reciprocity applies.
  • Validity, Reciprocity, and Nationality Code: HKSAR and BN(O) passports, along with the Certificate of Identity are recognized as valid for return to Hong Kong for a period of six months beyond their expiration date, and thus qualify for the automatic extension of validity for purposes of INA section 212(A)(7)(B)(i)(I). [See 9 FAM 41.104 Note 2.] The Document of Identity does not qualify for the automatic extension of validity. Effective July 1, 1997, the British Dependent Territories Citizen Passport (BDTC), ceased to be valid for visa-issuing purposes.

An applicant presenting any of the above-listed travel documents, not including the BDTC, will be subject to the visa reciprocity schedule for Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents holding British citizenship with the right of abode in the United Kingdom (and thus carrying a regular United Kingdom passport) continue to be subject to the reciprocity schedule for the United Kingdom.

Posts issuing MRVs to persons bearing one of the above Hong Kong travel documents should use the following codes in the nationality field:

  • HNK - HKSAR passport, HK Certificate of Identity, or HK Document of Identity,
  • HOKO - British National (Overseas) Passport.

Because the BN(O) identifies the bearer as a British national, it is essential to maintain these two separate nationality codes for statistical reasons.

Use of Visa in Expired Passport: Under 22 CFR 41.112(3), an alien can apply for admission to the United Sates with a valid visa in one passport (even if the passport has expired), provided the alien is also in possession of a valid passport issued by the authorities of the country of which s/he is a national.

An expired travel document, issued by Hong Kong authorities under British rule, containing a valid U.S. visa will be accepted for admission to the United States when presented with an unexpired travel document issued by the appropriate Hong Kong authorities. This will, for example, permit a Hong Kong resident with a valid visa in an expired British document such as the BN(O), or in an expired Certificate of Identity, to present it with an unexpired HKSAR passport in order to apply for admission.

Other Records

Certificate of Registered Particulars (CRP)

The Registration of Persons Office of the Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) issues this serialized document on tamper-resistant paper and reflects a photo of the applicant and an embossed seal.

In addition to basic biographic information, the CRP may contain a record of the applicant's marital history, family composition, and work experience. This information is supplied by the applicant at irregular intervals when he or she first registers for an identity card, obtains a replacement card, registers a child for an identity card, applies for a passport, or voluntarily reports other information. Information on the CRP may or may not have been verified by HKID at the time it was recorded. Making false statements on a CRP is an offense under Hong Kong law, and violators are vigorously prosecuted. The CRP is an invaluable aid in establishing relationship or verifying claimed work experience. Posts with questions on interpreting CRPs should contact Hong Kong's Fraud Prevention officer.

Present or former residents of Hong Kong can apply for a CRP at any of the five Registration of Persons Offices. Former residents can apply by mail or through a representative, but the request must be signed by the individual and notarized. CRPs are available for deceased persons but can only be obtained by close relatives. Requests for CRPs should include the applicant's Hong Kong identity card number whenever possible. Processing time is approximately five weeks.

Visa Issuing Posts

Hong Kong (Consulate General)

Street Address:
26 Garden Road, Central
Hong Kong

Mailing Address:
PSC 461 Box 5
FPO AP 96521-0006

Tel: (852) 2523-9011

Fax: (852) 2845-4845

Email: http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/visa_inquiry_form.html

Visa Services

SAR (Special Administrative Region) of Hong Kong - Macau. All visa categories for all of Hong Kong.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

Enter text here

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macauu
26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone
+(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency
+(852) 2523-9011
Fax
+(852) 2845-4845
Hong Kong Country Map

Learn about your destination
Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

Country Information

Hong Kong
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
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Embassy Messages
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

One month beyond the date of your intended stay

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

 One page required for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Not required for stays under 90 days

VACCINATIONS:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

 None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

 None

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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau

26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone: +(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(852) 2523-9011
Fax: +(852) 2845-4845

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Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Hong Kong SAR for information on U.S. – Hong Kong SAR relations.

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Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

To enter Hong Kong, you need:

  • a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the date of your intended stay,
  • adequate funds to cover your stay without working locally, and
  • evidence of onward/return transportation.

You only need a visa if:

  • You plan to stay for more than 90 days – obtain an extension with the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department, if necessary.
  • You plan to work or study in Hong Kong – visas must be obtained prior to departing the United States.

You must possess a valid passport and Chinese visa to enter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from Hong Kong.  Further information on travel to and around the PRC is available in our China Country Specific Information.

Visit the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department or the Embassy of the People's Republic of China website for the most current visa information.

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Hong Kong SAR.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

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Safety and Security

Hong Kong has a low crime rate.  Even so, you should exercise caution when in congested areas and pay particular attention to personal belongings while in crowded areas and while traveling on public transportation.  U.S. citizens should try to avoid areas of demonstrations should they occur and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings as even peaceful demonstrations can turn confrontational. Violent crime, though rare, does occur. 

  • Take routine safety precautions.
  • Pay attention to surroundings.
  • Report any concerns to the local police.  
  • Call “999,” the local equivalent to the “911”

Please note that mace, pepper spray, stun guns, and other self-protection weapons are banned in Hong Kong.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available.  Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.  Be alert to criminal schemes, such as internet and dating scams, as well as financial scams.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:  Report crimes to the local police at “999” and contact the U.S. Consulate General at +(825) 2523-9011.  U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Consulate General. 

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Hong Kong has a crime victim compensation program available to U.S. citizens who are legal residents or tourists in Hong Kong.  For more detailed information on the program and its requirements, please see the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department webpage.  More resources for victims of crime in Hong Kong are available in our Help for U.S. Victims of Crime in Hong Kong information sheet.

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Consulate General for assistance.

For further information:

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Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:   You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

  • Drugs: Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Hong Kong are severe.  
  • ID: Police have the right to take you in for questioning if you are not carrying your passport.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Consulate General immediately. Hong Kong authorities regularly notify the Consulate if they know that a U.S. citizen has been detained or arrested.  See our webpage for further information.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Controlled Items: Hong Kong customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning controlled items you might be carrying while transiting Hong Kong (temporary importation or exportation). Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) security routinely and completely screens any luggage loaded on to an aircraft in Hong Kong whether belonging to a departing or transiting passenger. Discovery of weapons of any kind – including stun guns - during this screening will be referred to the police for investigation, leading to arrest and detention.

If you bring controlled items into Hong Kong without the necessary Hong Kong documents, you may be prosecuted and the goods may be seized. The penalty for trafficking in dangerous drugs can be life imprisonment and a heavy fine.  Among the other items that you must declare to customs officials are liquors, tobacco, cigarettes and cigars, methyl alcohol, and merchandise imported for commercial purposes. There are no currency restrictions for travelers.

The following is a list (non-exhaustive) of controlled and/or prohibited items:

  • Animals and plants
  • Counterfeit goods or illegally-produced copies of copyrighted items
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Ivory
  • Meat and poultry
  • Narcotics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Sensitive high technology or military products 
  • Television decoders requiring a subscription
  • Textiles
  • Weapons, not limited to firearms and ammunition
    • Any bladed/pointed weapon
    • Arms
      • Air rifle/air gun/air pistol from which any shot, bullet or missile can be discharged with a muzzle energy greater than two joules
      • Firearm
      • Gun/pistol or other propelling/releasing instrument from or by which a projectile containing any gas or chemical could be discharged
      • Taser or any electric stunning device
      • Weapons for the discharge of any noxious liquid/gas/powder, and harpoon or spear gun
    • Brass knuckles
    • Chinese-style fighting irons
    • Gravity knives
    • Gravity-operated, spring-loaded or extendable steel batons
    • Imitation firearm
    • Knives with a blade that can be exposed by a spring or other mechanical/electric deviceo
    • Paintball gun

Please visit the website of the Hong Kong Department of Customs and Excise for specific information regarding Hong Kong customs requirements.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection encourages the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes. 

For additional information, please visit the U.S. Council for International Business website and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web page on Traveling with Samples.

Please see our Customs Information sheet for general information.

Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is not recognized under PRC nationality law.  Be mindful of the following special circumstances for dual nationals when traveling in the region. 

  • Enter Hong Kong on your U.S. passport to ensure the U.S. Consulate General can provide consular assistance in case of arrest or other emergency.
  • Your child will be considered a PRC citizen if one or both of the parents are Chinese nationals regardless of U.S. citizenship.
  • If you are a dual national with current or previous Hong Kong residency and wish to ensure U.S consular protection, you should present your U.S. passport to the Hong Kong Immigration Department and complete an application for declaration of change of nationality
  • If traveling onward to mainland China, enter China on your U.S. passport to ensure U.S. consular protection.  See China Country Specific Information for more information.

For further information on consular protection and dual nationality, please refer to our website.  Information on Hong Kong permanent residence may be obtained from the Hong Kong Immigration Department’s right of abode webpage.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Hong Kong. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Pets: You must have a permit to bring dogs and cats into Hong Kong.  Dogs and cats imported from the United States may be exempted from quarantine when they have valid health and vaccination certificates and the the animal has been in the United States for at least six months immediately preceding travel.

Additional information on importing pets is available on the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department website.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:  Despite efforts to improve accessibility, Hong Kong continues to be a challenge for those with physical disabilities.  It has many stairs, inclines, and steep, uneven walkways not designed to accommodate the use of a walker, cane, crutches, or wheelchair.

Hong Kong law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services, and the government generally enforces these provisions. The law mandates access to buildings, information, and communications for persons with disabilities.  The Social Welfare Department is primarily responsible for coordinating and funding public assistance programs to persons with disabilities.  The Hong Kong Tourism Board publishes “Accessible Hong Kong” a guide for visitors with disabilities and the Transport Department publishes A Guide to Public Transport for People with Disabilities. In addition, the Hong Kong government created Cyberable, a barrier free portal website, to provide one-stop information for persons with various disabilities.

Typhoons: During the typhoon season (July through November), the Hong Kong Observatory issues typhoon warnings an average of six times a year and heavy rainstorm alerts more frequently.  The Hong Kong Observatory has an excellent notification and monitoring system.  You may find general information about natural disaster preparedness at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Please be advised that if the Hong Kong Government announces a Typhoon Signal 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning, the Consulate General will be closed for services.  You may find additional information on typhoon and storm preparedness on the Hurricane Preparedness and Natural Disasters pages of the Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

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Health

Good medical facilities are available, and there are many Western-trained physicians in Hong Kong.  Hong Kong emergency service response times for police, fire, and ambulances are good.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.  See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Medication: Prescription drugs are widely available – names may vary.  You need a prescription from a doctor in Hong Kong to purchase medications locally.  Bring prescription medications to cover your stay in Hong Kong or plan to see a physician in Hong Kong to obtain a new prescription.  If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Hong Kong to ensure the medication is legal in Hong Kong.  Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Air Quality:  Air pollution is an increasing concern in Hong Kong.  Congested vehicle traffic and mainland factories pump out ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen oxides, leading to a visible haze in the atmosphere on most days of the year.  Average roadside pollution levels exceed WHO guidelines by 200% and continue to deteriorate, creating health risks for those with allergies, asthma, or cardiac problems.

Disease: The following diseases are prevalent: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Chikungunya (via mosquitoes), Avian Influenza, and Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.

Hong Kong remains at "Alert" response status for Pandemic Influenza.  Further current information about Pandemic Influenza and other health-related concerns in Hong Kong are available on the Centre for Health Protection website.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

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Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions differ significantly from those in the United States.

  • Traffic moves on the left. 
  • Each year there are approximately 14,000 traffic accidents.
  • Speed limits vary depending on location. 
  • Use of seatbelts is mandatory.

You can drive using your U.S. driver’s license for up to a year.  If you hold a valid U.S. driver’s license and have resided in the United States at least six months, you can apply for a Hong Kong driver’s license.  Visit the Hong Kong Transport Department online for further details.

Traffic Laws: Many traffic violations are similar to those in the United States, including penalties for reckless driving, driving under the influence, and using a hand-held device while operating a vehicle.  Hong Kong law requires that all registered vehicles carry valid third-party liability insurance.  

Public Transportation: Approximately 90 percent of the population in Hong Kong depends on public transport.  Taxis, buses, and the mass transit railway (MTR) are readily available, inexpensive, and generally safe.  The MTR, an underground railway network, is the most popular mode of public transport, carrying an average of 3.5 million passengers a day.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight:  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Hong Kong’s air carrier operations.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

 

Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
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Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau

26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone: +(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(852) 2523-9011
Fax: +(852) 2845-4845

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General Information

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) has applied between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the United States since September 1, 1997.

For information concerning travel to Hong Kong, including information about the location of the U.S. Consulate General, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Hong Kong.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

 

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Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention.  In this capacity, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children’s Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children, including applications concerning the Hong Kong SAR.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority (FCA).

Contact information:

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Fax:  202-736-9132
Website  

The Hong Kong SAR Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Secretary for Justice, International Law Division.  The Hong Kong Central Authority reviews all incoming applications, files applications with the court, monitors the case from beginning to end, updates the requesting Central Authority on the progress of the case, and provides other assistance as appropriate, including involving law enforcement or social workers. The Central Authority does not represent a parent in the court proceedings.

The Hong Kong Central Authority can be reached at:

Central Authority of Hong Kong
(The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction)
c/o International Law Division
(Mutual Legal Assistance Unit)
Department of Justice
47/F, High Block
Queensway Government Offices
66 Queensway, Hong Kong

Telephone Number: (852) 2867 2062
Fax Number: (852)2523 7959 or (852) 2877 9585
Email: childabduct@doj.gov.hk

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Hong Kong, the left-behind parent or the Central Authority of the left-behind parent’s country must submit a Hague application to the Hong Kong Central Authority.  The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the Hong Kong Central Authority, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes. 

There are not fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Hong Kong central authorities.  Attorney fees in Hong Kong can vary depending upon an attorney’s experience and reputation.  Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

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Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Hong Kong.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Hong Kong.  The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

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Retaining an Attorney

Retaining a private attorney is not required to submit Hague Convention applications to the Hong Kong Central Authority.  However, parents may wish to hire a private attorney to follow up on the case, to provide direct information to the court, and to advise as to the best course of action for their individual circumstances.  A parent may be able to retain a private attorney through legal aid if the parent satisfies the merit and means tests set by the Legal Aid Department.  If a parent wishes to apply for legal aid, the Hong Kong Central Authority will provide that parent direct contact information for legal aid.  Parents may represent themselves if they choose not to have a private attorney.

The U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong, posts list of attorneys including those who specialize in family law at.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

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Mediation

The Hong Kong Central Authority strongly recommends that parents reach an amicable settlement for the voluntary return of the child through mediation.  Mediation services are available through the Social Welfare Department or via accrediting bodies such as the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society, Integrated Family Services Centre, and International Social Services (Hong Kong Branch).

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country.  It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.   For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney when planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Hague Convention Participation
Hague Adoption Convention Country?
Yes
Are Intercountry Adoptions between this country and the United States possible?
Is this country a U.S. Hague Partner?
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Hague Convention Information

China is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Since Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a territory of China, all adoptions between Hong Kong and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008.

The Government of Hong Kong tends to prefer that prospective adoptive parents are ethnic Chinese. However, non-ethnic Chinese may also adopt if willing to consider an older child or a child with special needs.

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Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Hong Kong is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Hong Kong, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Hong Kong also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:

  • RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents currently living in Hong Kong must be residents of Hong Kong or should offer assurance to the Adoption Unit that they will be living in Hong Kong for a minimum of 12 months. There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents residing in the United States.
  • AGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age. Prospective adoptive parents over the age of 45 will be considered if they are willing to accept older children or children with special needs.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Both single individuals and married couples are eligible to adopt from Hong Kong. For single prospective adoptive parents, preference is given to single parents with special parental skills, such as nursing or social work skills. Some single parents have found their chances of being approved for adoption in Hong Kong increase if they agree to adopt a child with special needs. Single parents who already have a special needs child have a better chance of being matched with a special needs adoptee.
  • INCOME REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents will have to prove their income exceeds the Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income set by the Social Welfare Department. The Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income requires that after a family has paid all the necessary monthly expenditures (e.g., mortgage, loans, insurance, helper wages, tuition, etc.), a minimum level of funds are left over for incidental expenses. For instance, a family of three must show monthly funds of HK$18,700 and a family of four must show monthly funds of HK23,500. The Medium Monthly Domestic Household Income is not available publicly. The Social Welfare Department must be contacted directly for specifics. Couples residing outside of Hong Kong must submit their tax returns and complete a questionnaire detailing their financial assets.
  • OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents should be in good physical and mental health.
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Who Can Be Adopted

Because Hong Kong has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Hong Kong must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Hong Kong attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Hong Kong's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.

Hong Kong also has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Hong Kong unless he or she meets the requirements outlined below.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Age Requirements: Children between the ages of six months and 18 years of age can be adopted. (Statistics reflect that most children available for adoption are five years old or younger and some have health problems or are disabled.)
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How to Adopt

HONG KONG'S ADOPTION AUTHORITY

Adoption Unit of the Social Welfare Department

THE PROCESS

Because Hong Kong has implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Hong Kong must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Hong Kong before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions.

The process for adopting a child from Hong Kong generally includes the following steps:

  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Adopt the Child in Hong Kong
  5. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
  6. Bring Your Child Home
  1. Choose an Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Hong Kong is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Hong Kong.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    Once the U.S. Government determines that you are "eligible" and "suitable" to adopt, you or your agency will forward your information to the adoption authority in Hong Kong. Hong Kong's adoption authority will review your application to determine whether you are also eligible to adopt under Hong Kong law.

    The Hong Kong-licensed provider will submit the adoption application to the Hong Kong central authority, including any preferences the prospective adoptive parents may have about the child's age, sex, physical/medical condition, or region of origin within Hong Kong. The application package should also include a cover letter.

    The Hong Kong central authority reviews the documents and advises the prospective adoptive parent(s), either directly or through their adoption agency, whether additional documents or authentications are required.

    In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Hong Kong as described in the "WHO" tab.

  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    If both the United States and Hong Kong determine that you are eligible to adopt, and a child is available for intercountry adoption, the central adoption authority in Hong King may provide you with a referral for a child. Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of the particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.

    Once the Hong Kong central authority approves the application, it matches the application with a specific child. The central authority then sends the prospective adoptive parent(s) a letter of introduction about the child, including photographs and the child's health record. This document is commonly called a 'referral.' Prospective adoptive parents who still have questions about the child after reviewing this information may follow up with the Hong Kong central authority either directly or via their adoption agency .

    The child must be eligible to be adopted according to Hong Kong's requirements, as described in the "Who" tab. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. law.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    Prospective adoptive parent(s) then either accept or refuse the referral and send the document to their agency, which forwards it to the Hong Kong central authority. If prospective adoptive parent(s) are considering refusing a referral they should discuss with their agency the possibility of getting a second referral.

    After you accept a match with a child, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States.

    After this, your adoption service provider or you will submit a visa application for to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Hong Kong adoption authority (Article 5 letter). For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place.

    Remember: The Consular Officer will make a final decision about the immigrant visa later in the adoption process.

  5. Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Hong Kong:

    Remember: Before you adopt (or gain legal custody of) a child in Hong Kong, you must have completed the above four steps. Only after completing these steps, can you proceed to finalize the adoption or grant of custody for the purposes of adoption in Hong Kong.

    The process for finalizing the adoption (or gaining legal custody) in Hong Kong generally includes the following:

    • ROLE OF THE ADOPTION AUTHORITY: The Director of the Social Welfare Department reviews the documentation to determine if the adoption is in the best interests of the child. Upon approval, the Social Welfare Department will file a court order to pass the care and control of the child to the Director of the U.S. adoption agency. (If the prospective adoptive parents are residents of Hong Kong, the child is released into their home for at least six months.) During the six months of living with the family, an adoption social worker makes periodic visits to determine if adoption by the prospective adoptive parents is in the best interest of the child.
    • ROLE OF THE COURT: The District Court grants the adoption order and issues the final adoption certificate. For non-residents of Hong Kong, the finalization of the adoption passes the care and control of the child from the U.S. adoption agency to the adoptive parents.
    • ROLE OF ADOPTION AGENCIES:The adoption agency arranges the prospective adoptive parents' home study. The adoption agency works with one of the agencies in Hong Kong that have been accredited to facilitate international adoptions. The U.S. adoption agency forwards the home study report and supporting documents to the Hong Kong accredited body. The Hong Kong agency submits the documentation to the Social Welfare Department. Currently the following agencies have been accredited in Hong Kong to facilitate intercountry adoptions: International Social Service (ISS), Po Leung Kuk, and Mother's Choice Overseas Adoption Service. The ISS works closely with Hong Kong's Social Welfare Department in placing children overseas. Mother's Choice specializes in placing children with special needs - ranging from vision and hearing impairment to cerebral palsy, down's syndrome, and developmental delays.

International Social Service Hong Kong Branch 
6/F., Southorn Center
130 Hennessy Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2834-6863
Fax: (852) 2834-7627
Email: isshkbr@netvigator.com
Website: http://www.isshk.org

(U.S. Office)
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Tel: (410) 230-2734
Fax: (410) 230-2741

Intercountry Adoption Service 
Po Leung Kuk 

66 Leighton Road,
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel.: (852) 2277 8368
Fax: (852) 2577 7380

Mother's Choice 
Overseas Adoption Service
10 Borrett Road
Mid-Levels
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2537-4122
Fax: (852) 2537-7681
Email: adoption@motherschoice.com
Website: http://www.motherschoice.org/en/

  • ADOPTION APPLICATION: The adoption application is filed with the Adoption Unit of the Social Welfare Department.
  • TIME FRAME: The average amount of time required to complete an intercountry adoption ranges from 12-24 months. The timeframe may be increased if the prospective adoptive parents have specific requests regarding the child's age and/or medical conditions.
  • ADOPTION FEES: The Social Welfare Department's Adoption Unit provides an assessment of the prospective adoptive parents' suitability to adopt at no charge. Adoptive parents based in Hong Kong are required to pay $2,840 HK for acting as guardian ad litem while the adoption proceedings are finalized. Prospective adoptive parents residing outside of Hong Kong are not required to pay this fee.

    In the adoption services contract that you sign at the beginning of the adoption process, your agency will itemize the fees and estimated expenses related to your adoption process.

  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The following is a list of documents required to adopt a child from Hong Kong:
    • Copy of U.S. passport;
    • Copy of marriage certificate (if applicable);
    • Evidence of termination of previous marriage (if applicable);
    • Proof of income;
    • Copies of school credentials;
    • Evidence of prior adoptions (if any); and
    • Satisfactory home study report and medical examination reports of the adopting parents. (These documents are not required by Hong Kong to be authenticated. The agencies in the U.S. engaging in adoptions submit notarized home study and physical exam reports in adoption cases.)
  1. NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.

  2. Bring Your Child Home

    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      The Social Welfare Department will obtain the child's original birth certificate (or certified duplicate) from the Hong Kong Birth Registry. This document will then be passed to the agency that is caring for the child. Adoptive parents can apply for their names to be added as annotations to the child's birth certificate.

    • Hong Kong Passport
      Your child is not yet an American citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Hong Kong.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for an U.S. visa from the United States Consulate General for your child. After the adoption (or custody for purpose of adoption) is granted, visit the U.S. Consulate General for final review and approval of the child's I-800 petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

      On November 3, 2008, the U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong's panel physicians began using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2007 Tuberculosis Technical Instructions (TB TIs) for the TB medical screening for all immigrant visa applicants from Hong Kong and Macau, including adopted children. The 2007 TB TIs include new requirements that affect the pace at which some adoption cases can be concluded. Please visit the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/panel_2007.htm for further information regarding the 2007 Technical Instructions for Tuberculosis Screening and Treatment for Panel Physicians.

    CHILD CITIZENSHIP ACT

    For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

    For adoptions finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.

    * Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting. about the Child Citizenship Act.

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Traveling Abroad

APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. PASSPORT

A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Hong Kong. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which Passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.

OBTAINING YOUR VISA

In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Hong Kong, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.

STAYING SAFE ON YOUR TRIP

Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.

STAYING IN TOUCH ON YOUR TRIP

When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Hong Kong, registration assists the U.S. Consulate General in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

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After Adoption

What does Hong Kong require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?

Hong Kong does not have any post-adoption requirements.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

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Contact Information

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau 
26 Garden Road
Central, Hong Kong
Mailing Address:
U.S. Department of State
Hong Kong Immigrant Visa Unit
8000 Hong Kong Place
Washington, DC 20521-8000
Tel: (852) 2841-2211
Fax: (852) 2845-4845
Internet: https://hk.usconsulate.gov/visas/

Hong Kong's Adoption Authority 
Adoption Unit
Social Welfare Department
Room 201, 2/F., North Point Goverment Offices,
333 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3595 1935
Fax: (852) 3595 0025
Email: grau@swd.gov.hk
Internet: http://www.info.gov.hk/swd

Diplomatic Mission for Hong Kong 
The Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 328-2500
Fax: (202) 588-0032
Email: webmaster@china-embassy.org

*The People's Republic of China also has consulates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, and Chicago.

Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State  
CA/OCS/CI  
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: AskCI@state.gov
Internet: http://adoption.state.gov

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) 
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)

1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833).

American Citizens residing in Hong Kong and Macau are served by the USCIS District Office in Bangkok, Thailand. 
E-mail: bkkcis.inquiries@dhs.gov
Phone: +66-2-205-5352
Fax: +66-2-255-2917
Mail: DHS/USCIS
Sindhorn, Tower 2, 15 th Floor
130-133 Wireless Rd.
Lumpini Pathumwan
Bangkok Thailand 10330

Reciprocity Schedule

Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.

Explanation of Terms

Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.

Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).

Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.

Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.

Visa Classifications
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
Visa
Classification
Fee Number
of Entries
Validity
Period
A-1 None Multiple 60 Months
A-2 None Multiple 60 Months
A-3 1 None Multiple 24 Months
B-1 None Multiple 120 Months
B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
B-1/B-2 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1 None Multiple 120 Months
C-1/D None Multiple 120 Months
C-2 None Multiple 12 Months
C-3 None Multiple 60 Months
D None Multiple 120 Months
E-1 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
E-2 2 No Treaty N/A N/A
F-1 None Multiple 60 Months
F-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-1 None Multiple 60 Months
G-2 None Multiple 60 Months
G-3 None Multiple 60 Months
G-4 None Multiple 60 Months
G-5 1 None Multiple 24 Months
H-1B None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-1C None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-2A None N/A N/A
H-2B None N/A N/A
H-2R None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
H-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
I None Multiple 60 Months
J-1 4 None Multiple 60 Months
J-2 4 None Multiple 60 Months
K-1 None One 6 Months
K-2 None One 6 Months
K-3 None Multiple 24 Months
K-4 None Multiple 24 Months
L-1 None Multiple 60 Months
L-2 None Multiple 60 Months
M-1 None Multiple 60 Months
M-2 None Multiple 60 Months
N-8 None Multiple 60 Months
N-9 None Multiple 60 Months
NATO 1-7 N/A N/A N/A
O-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
O-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-1 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-2 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-3 None Multiple 60 Months 3
P-4 None Multiple 60 Months 3
Q-1 6 None Multiple 15 Months 3
R-1 None Multiple 60 Months
R-2 None Multiple 60 Months
S-5 7 None One 1 Month
S-6 7 None One 1 Month
S-7 7 None One 1 Month
T-1 9 N/A N/A N/A
T-2 None One 6 Months
T-3 None One 6 Months
T-4 None One 6 Months
T-5 None One 6 Months
T-6 None One 6 Months
TD 5 N/A N/A N/A
U-1 None Multiple 48 Months
U-2 None Multiple 48 Months
U-3 None Multiple 48 Months
U-4 None Multiple 48 Months
U-5 None Multiple 48 Months
V-1 None Multiple 120 Months
V-2 None Multiple 120 Months 8
V-3 None Multiple 120 Months 8
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Country Specific Footnotes

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.

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Visa Category Footnotes
  1. The validity of A-3, G-5, and NATO 7 visas may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the person who is employing the applicant. The "employer" would have one of the following visa classifications:

    • A-1
    • A-2
    • G-1 through G-4
    • NATO 1 through NATO 6

  2. An E-1 and E-2 visa may be issued only to a principal alien who is a national of a country having a treaty, or its equivalent, with the United States. E-1 and E-2 visas may not be issued to a principal alien if he/she is a stateless resident. The spouse and children of an E-1 or E-2 principal alien are accorded derivative E-1 or E-2 status following the reciprocity schedule, including any reciprocity fees, of the principle alien’s country of nationality.  

    Example: John Doe is a national of the country of Z that has an E-1/E-2 treaty with the U.S. His wife and child are nationals of the country of Y which has no treaty with the U.S. The wife and child would, therefore, be entitled to derivative status and receive the same reciprocity as Mr. Doe, the principal visa holder.  

  3. The validity of H-1 through H-3, O-1 and O-2, P-1 through P-3, and Q visas may not exceed the period of validity of the approved petition or the number of months shown, whichever is less.

    Under 8 CFR §214.2, H-2A and H-2B petitions may generally only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated as participating countries. The current list of eligible countries is available on USCIS's website for both H-2A and H-2B visas. Nationals of countries not on this list may be the beneficiary of an approved H-2A or H2-B petition in limited circumstances at the discretion of the Department of Homeland Security if specifically named on the petition.  

    Derivative H-4, L-2, O-3, and P-4 visas, issued to accompanying or following-to-join spouses and children, may not exceed the validity of the visa issued to the principal alien.

  4. There is no reciprocity fee for the issuance of a J visa if the alien is a United States Government grantee or a participant in an exchange program sponsored by the United States Government.

    Also, there is no reciprocity fee for visa issuance to an accompanying or following-to-join spouse or child (J-2) of an exchange visitor grantee or participant.

    In addition, an applicant is eligible for an exemption from the MRV fee if he or she is participating in a State Department, USAID, or other federally funded educational and cultural exchange program (program serial numbers G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-7).

    However, all other applicants with U.S. Government sponsorships, including other J-visa applicants, are subject to the MRV processing fee.

  5. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian and Mexican nationals coming to engage in certain types of professional employment in the United States may be admitted in a special nonimmigrant category known as the "trade NAFTA" or "TN" category. Their dependents (spouse and children) accompanying or following to join them may be admitted in the "trade dependent" or "TD" category whether or not they possess Canadian or Mexican nationality. Except as noted below, the number of entries, fees and validity for non-Canadian or non-Mexican family members of a TN status holder seeking TD visas should be based on the reciprocity schedule of the TN principal alien.

    Canadian Nationals

    Since Canadian nationals generally are exempt from visa requirement, a Canadian "TN' or "TD" alien does not require a visa to enter the United States. However, the non-Canadian national dependent of a Canadian "TN", unless otherwise exempt from the visa requirement, must obtain a "TD" visa before attempting to enter the United States. The standard reciprocity fee and validity period for all non-Canadian "TD"s is no fee, issued for multiple entries for a period of 36 months, or for the duration of the principal alien's visa and/or authorized period of stay, whichever is less. See 'NOTE' under Canadian reciprocity schedule regarding applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality.

    Mexican Nationals

    Mexican nationals are not visa-exempt. Therefore, all Mexican "TN"s and both Mexican and non-Mexican national "TD"s accompanying or following to join them who are not otherwise exempt from the visa requirement (e.g., the Canadian spouse of a Mexican national "TN") must obtain nonimmigrant visas.

    Applicants of Iranian, Iraqi or Libyan nationality, who have a permanent resident or refugee status in Canada/Mexico, may not be accorded Canadian/Mexican reciprocity, even when applying in Canada/Mexico. The reciprocity fee and period for "TD" applicants from Libya is $10.00 for one entry over a period of 3 months. The Iranian and Iraqi "TD" is no fee with one entry over a period of 3 months.

  6. Q-2 (principal) and Q-3 (dependent) visa categories are in existence as a result of the 'Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Act of 1998'. However, because the Department anticipates that virtually all applicants for this special program will be either Irish or U.K. nationals, the Q-2 and Q-3 categories have been placed only in the reciprocity schedules for those two countries. Q-2 and Q-3 visas are available only at the Embassy in Dublin and the Consulate General in Belfast.

  7. No S visa may be issued without first obtaining the Department's authorization.

  8. V-2 and V-3 status is limited to persons who have not yet attained their 21st birthday. Accordingly, the period of validity of a V-2 or V-3 visa must be limited to expire on or before the applicant's twenty-first birthday.

  9. Posts may not issue a T-1 visa. A T-1 applicant must be physically present in the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or a U.S. port of entry, where he/she will apply for an adjustment of status to that of a T-1. The following dependents of a T-1 visa holder, however, may be issued a T visa at a U.S. consular office abroad:

    • T-2 (spouse)
    • T-3 (child)
    • T-4 (parent)
  10. The validity of NATO-5 visas may not exceed the period of validity of the employment contract or 12 months, whichever is less.

  11. The validity of CW-1 and CW-2 visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (12 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

  12. The validity of E-2C visas shall not exceed the maximum initial period of admission allowed by DHS (24 months) or the duration of the transition period ending December 31, 2014, whichever is shortest.

 

 

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General Documents

Please check back for update.

Birth, Death, Burial Certificates

Birth and Death Certificates

Available. Birth and death certificates are available for any person who was born or who died in Hong Kong since 1872, except during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong (1941-1945). A certificate entitled "AN EXTRACT OF ENTRY IN REGISTER KEPT IN THE SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION OF HONG KONG," is issued under the seal of the Registrar General of Births and Deaths.

Marriage, Divorce Certificates

Marriage Certificates

Available from 1945, pre-war records of the Registrar of Marriages are not normally available, but in certain cases may be obtained from the church where the ceremony was performed. The original certificate, entitled "Certificate of Marriage", is delivered to the marrying parties after the marriage ceremony, and the duplicate will be filed by the Registrar. Duplicate copies, when available, are entitled "Certified True Copy of Certificate of Marriage".

The Marriage Amendment Ordinance, which took effect in March 2006, expanded the definition of individuals legally allowed to conduct marriages in Hong Kong. Under the Marriage Amendment Ordinance, marriages may now be conducted by a Registrar, a minister, or any person appointed as a civil celebrant of marriages. The marriage must take place at a marriage registry before a Registrar, in a licensed place of public worship before a minister, or elsewhere in Hong Kong before a civil celebrant of marriage. The Hong Kong government keeps an updated list of "Licensed Places of Public Worship for Celebration of Marriage". The certificate of marriage will be signed in duplicate by the Registrar, the officiating minister or the civil celebrant, by the parties and two witnesses aged 18 or above.

Divorce Decree

Available from 1945. Prior to 1971, customary Chinese marriages could be dissolved by mutual written consent of the two parties, signed before two witnesses. After October 7, 1971, all marriages must have been dissolved through regular divorce proceedings conducted at the appropriate court, with the final decree or divorce registered at the Civil Registry. A certificate "DECREE ABSOLUTE" issued by the Family Court Registry bearing the seal of the District Court, is the final document for the divorce.

Applicants who plan to use a divorce decree in overseas proceedings should submit an application for a sealed copy of the decree at the District Court in Hong Kong. Applicants should then bring the sealed copy of the divorce decree to the High Court Registry for authentication.

Adoption Certificates

Please check back for update.

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Identity Card

National ID Cards
 

Available

Document Name:  HKSAR Passport (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region)

Registration Criteria: Only Chinese nationals with the right of abode in Hong Kong can qualify for the new HKSAR passport. This document lists the bearer as a Chinese national with the right of abode in the HKSAR, and also lists the bearer's permanent Hong Kong ID number. Bearers may hold the HKSAR and the BN(O) passport concurrently.

Document Name:  British National (Overseas) Passport (BN(O)):

Registration Criteria: This passport identifies the bearer's nationality as "British National (Overseas)." It is issued to persons with the right of abode in Hong Kong whom British authorities consider British nationals, but who lack the right of abode in the United Kingdom. The BN(O) does not confer the same rights as a regular United Kingdom passport. For example, BN(O) bearers do not have the right to live in Great Britain, nor are they eligible for the U.S. Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Hong Kong visa reciprocity should be followed for BN(O) bearers.

Document Name:  Hong Kong Document of Identity

Registration Criteria: This document has been issued to persons who have been legally residing in Hong Kong for less than the seven years necessary to have full right of abode, and who cannot obtain a national passport. Previously, a Document of Identity was valid for re-entry to Hong Kong only if it contained a re-entry visa. According to Hong Kong immigration, the Document of Identity is now valid for return to Hong Kong at any time during its validity, even without an explicit re-entry visa. Currently Hong Kong reciprocity applies.

Exceptions: Hong Kong residents holding British citizenship with the right of abode in the United Kingdom (and thus carrying a regular United Kingdom passport) continue to be subject to the reciprocity schedule for the United Kingdom.

Comments:

  • HKSAR and BN(O) passports, along with Document of Identity are recognized as valid for return to Hong Kong for a period of six months beyond their expiration date, and thus qualify for the automatic extension of validity for purposes of INA section 212(A)(7)(B)(i)(I). [See 9 FAM 41.104 Note 2.] The Document of Identity does not qualify for the automatic extension of validity. Effective July 1, 1997, the British Dependent Territories Citizen Passport (BDTC), ceased to be valid for visa-issuing purposes.

  • Posts issuing MRVs to persons bearing one of the above Hong Kong travel documents should use the following codes in the nationality field:

    • HNK - HKSAR passport HK Certificate of Identity, or HK Document of Identity,
    • HOKO - British National (Overseas) Passport.
       

Because the BN(O) identifies the bearer as a British national, it is essential to maintain these two separate nationality codes for statistical reasons.

  • Use of Visa in Expired Passport: Under 22 CFR 41.112(3), an alien can apply for admission to the United Sates with a valid visa in one passport (even if the passport has expired), provided the alien is also in possession of a valid passport issued by the authorities of the country of which s/he is a national.
  • An expired travel document, issued by Hong Kong authorities under British rule, containing a valid U.S. visa will be accepted for admission to the United States when presented with an unexpired travel document issued by the appropriate Hong Kong authorities. This will, for example, permit a Hong Kong resident with a valid visa in an expired British document such as the BN(O), to present it with an unexpired HKSAR passport in order to apply for admission.
Police, Court, Prison Records

Certificate of No-Criminal Conviction (CNCC)

The issuance of a Certificate of No Criminal Conviction is a charged service provided by the Hong Kong Police Force. Both individuals residing in Hong Kong and individuals residing outside of Hong Kong may apply.

Individuals residing in Hong Kong

All applicants should appear in person at the Certificate of No Criminal Conviction Office which is located at 14/F, Arsenal House, Police Headquarters, 1 Arsenal Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong. The office is open from 9am to 5:15pm from Monday to Friday. (Note: The payment window is closed daily between 1-2pm and stops accepting payments at 5pm.) Applicants may elect to make an advance appointment through the Automatic Telephone Appointment System at 2396-5351, no less than one day in advance of the intended appointment. Please note that the "Certificate of No Criminal Conviction" or an appropriate reply together with the applicant's police record will be sent directly to the U.S. Consulate General. Please do not ask for a copy to be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) as this could delay processing of your visa application.

An applicant should be prepared to present the following items:

  1. his/her Hong Kong Identity Card or valid travel document;
  2. the original and a photocopy (for each applicant) of the letter from NVC which contains his/her name and the checklist of documents necessary for obtaining a visa (the one that references the need for police certificates);
  3. the original and photocopy of a document proving his/her relationship with the principal applicant for the visa if item #2 does not contain the applicant's name;
  4. the processing fee of HK $210 per person - payment via cash, Octopus cards or checks payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."

 

All applicants must consent to have their fingerprints taken. Each applicant must sign an authorization that the fingerprints can be retained by the Hong Kong Police and that details of any criminal conviction recorded in Hong Kong can be disclosed to the U.S. Consulate General.

Individuals residing outside Hong Kong

Applications should be made in writing to:

The Commission of Police (Attn: EO CNCC)
14/F, Arsenal House
Police Headquarters, 1 Arsenal Street
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

An applicant residing outside Hong Kong must submit the following items. Please note that documents issued in languages other than Chinese or English, must be accompanied by an official transcript, in Chinese or English, endorsed either by the issuing authority or a certificated translation services body.

  1. his/her Hong Kong Identity Card or valid travel document;
  2. the original and a photocopy (for each applicant) of the letter from NVC which contains his/her name and the checklist of documents necessary for obtaining a visa (the one that references the need for police certificates);
  3. the original and photocopy of a document proving his/her relationship with the principal applicant for the visa if item #2 does not contain the applicant's name;
  4. a full set of the applicant's fingerprints taken and certified by a recognized and official police or law enforcement agency where the applicant currently resides. Certification of the fingerprints must clearly state: (i) the full name and rank of the person taking the prints, (ii) the full name of the police or law enforcement agency with their official chop; and (iii) the date and place the prints were taken. Prints that do not clearly show certification will be refused. Fingerprints taken by the applicant him/herself, a legal representative or private/commercial agency are also unacceptable;
  5. a bank draft in the amount of HK$210 per person, made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region." The draft must be payable in Hong Kong. A personal check in Hong Kong dollars, which is issued an authorized by any licensed banks in Hong Kong, is also acceptable.

 

If an applicant is under investigation by the Hong Kong Police or is currently a defendant in criminal proceedings in Hong Kong or is subject to non-payment of fines including traffic offences, his/her application will not be further processed until the matter has been concluded.

The relevant application form, standard personal data form, and fingerprint consent form can be downloaded from the "Downloadable Forms" web page of "Certificate of No Criminal Conviction" on Hong Kong Police Force website. Any inquiries may be addressed to Certificate of No Criminal Conviction office, email: eo-cncc-ib@police.gov.hk, phone: +852-2860-6557 (for local residents); +852-2860-6558 (for overseas applicants), fax: +852-2200-4321. Please refer to www.police.gov.hk for further information and updates on police certificate from Hong Kong.

Court Record

Available. Extract from case register is available to an applicant upon written application to the First Clerk of the Magistracy where the conviction occurred. The applicant should provide his/her full name, date and place of birth, and the case number. Magisterial records are normally available only for three years. If the conviction occurred in a District Court or the High Court, the application should be addressed to the Registrar of the court concerned.

Prison Record

Unavailable.

Military Records

Unavailable.

Passports & Other Travel Documents

The following documents meet the definition of passport under INA Section 101(a)(30) and are valid for visa issuing purposes.

  • HKSAR Passport (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region): Only Chinese nationals with the right of abode in Hong Kong can qualify for the new HKSAR passport. This document lists the bearer as a Chinese national with the right of abode in the HKSAR, and also lists the bearer's permanent Hong Kong ID number. Bearers may hold the HKSAR and the BN(O) passport concurrently.
  • British National (Overseas) Passport (BN(O)): This passport identifies the bearer's nationality as "British National (Overseas)." It is issued to persons with the right of abode in Hong Kong whom British authorities consider British nationals, but who lack the right of abode in the United Kingdom. The BN(O) does not confer the same rights as a regular United Kingdom passport. For example, BN(O) bearers do not have the right to live in Great Britain, nor are they eligible for the U.S. Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Hong Kong visa reciprocity should be followed for BN(O) bearers.
  • Hong Kong Certificate of Identity: This document has been issued to persons with the right of abode in Hong Kong who were not born there, or who lack proof of birth in Hong Kong. The issuance of these documents terminated after July 1, 1997 and Certificates of Identity ceased to be valid in 2007. Upon expiration, qualified bearers were able to replace the documents with the HKSAR passport.
  • Hong Kong Document of Identity: This document has been issued to persons who have been legally residing in Hong Kong for less than the seven years necessary to have full right of abode, and who cannot obtain a national passport. Previously, a Document of Identity was valid for re-entry to Hong Kong only if it contained a re-entry visa. According to Hong Kong immigration, the Document of Identity is now valid for return to Hong Kong at any time during its validity, even without an explicit re-entry visa. Currently Hong Kong reciprocity applies.
  • Validity, Reciprocity, and Nationality Code: HKSAR and BN(O) passports, along with the Certificate of Identity are recognized as valid for return to Hong Kong for a period of six months beyond their expiration date, and thus qualify for the automatic extension of validity for purposes of INA section 212(A)(7)(B)(i)(I). [See 9 FAM 41.104 Note 2.] The Document of Identity does not qualify for the automatic extension of validity. Effective July 1, 1997, the British Dependent Territories Citizen Passport (BDTC), ceased to be valid for visa-issuing purposes.

An applicant presenting any of the above-listed travel documents, not including the BDTC, will be subject to the visa reciprocity schedule for Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents holding British citizenship with the right of abode in the United Kingdom (and thus carrying a regular United Kingdom passport) continue to be subject to the reciprocity schedule for the United Kingdom.

Posts issuing MRVs to persons bearing one of the above Hong Kong travel documents should use the following codes in the nationality field:

  • HNK - HKSAR passport, HK Certificate of Identity, or HK Document of Identity,
  • HOKO - British National (Overseas) Passport.

Because the BN(O) identifies the bearer as a British national, it is essential to maintain these two separate nationality codes for statistical reasons.

Use of Visa in Expired Passport: Under 22 CFR 41.112(3), an alien can apply for admission to the United Sates with a valid visa in one passport (even if the passport has expired), provided the alien is also in possession of a valid passport issued by the authorities of the country of which s/he is a national.

An expired travel document, issued by Hong Kong authorities under British rule, containing a valid U.S. visa will be accepted for admission to the United States when presented with an unexpired travel document issued by the appropriate Hong Kong authorities. This will, for example, permit a Hong Kong resident with a valid visa in an expired British document such as the BN(O), or in an expired Certificate of Identity, to present it with an unexpired HKSAR passport in order to apply for admission.

Other Records

Certificate of Registered Particulars (CRP)

The Registration of Persons Office of the Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) issues this serialized document on tamper-resistant paper and reflects a photo of the applicant and an embossed seal.

In addition to basic biographic information, the CRP may contain a record of the applicant's marital history, family composition, and work experience. This information is supplied by the applicant at irregular intervals when he or she first registers for an identity card, obtains a replacement card, registers a child for an identity card, applies for a passport, or voluntarily reports other information. Information on the CRP may or may not have been verified by HKID at the time it was recorded. Making false statements on a CRP is an offense under Hong Kong law, and violators are vigorously prosecuted. The CRP is an invaluable aid in establishing relationship or verifying claimed work experience. Posts with questions on interpreting CRPs should contact Hong Kong's Fraud Prevention officer.

Present or former residents of Hong Kong can apply for a CRP at any of the five Registration of Persons Offices. Former residents can apply by mail or through a representative, but the request must be signed by the individual and notarized. CRPs are available for deceased persons but can only be obtained by close relatives. Requests for CRPs should include the applicant's Hong Kong identity card number whenever possible. Processing time is approximately five weeks.

Visa Issuing Posts

Hong Kong (Consulate General)

Street Address:
26 Garden Road, Central
Hong Kong

Mailing Address:
PSC 461 Box 5
FPO AP 96521-0006

Tel: (852) 2523-9011

Fax: (852) 2845-4845

Email: http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/visa_inquiry_form.html

Visa Services

SAR (Special Administrative Region) of Hong Kong - Macau. All visa categories for all of Hong Kong.

Foreign Consular Office Contact Information

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Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macauu
26 Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong
Telephone
+(852) 2841-2211, +(852) 2841-2225, +(852) 2841-2323
Emergency
+(852) 2523-9011
Fax
+(852) 2845-4845
Hong Kong Country Map

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Additional Information for Reciprocity

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness and reliability of the information provided, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply if you believe this information is in error or if you have further questions.