Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Hong Kong International Travel Information
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Hong Kong SAR for information on U.S. - Hong Kong SAR relations.
Please visit the Consulate Hong Kong’s COVID-19 page for more information on entry/ exit requirements related to COVID-19 in the PRC.
To enter Hong Kong, you need:
You only need a visa if:
You must possess a valid passport and Chinese visa to enter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from Hong Kong. West Kowloon Train Station: The West Kowloon Train Station is the terminus of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). Once passengers pass through the Hong Kong immigration exit checkpoint on their way to mainland China inside the train station or on the train itself in that area, they are in the Mainland Port Area. Likewise, passengers arriving from mainland China are in the Mainland Port Area until they exit the Hong Kong immigration entry checkpoint.
Visit the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department 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 China, including the Hong Kong SAR.
Since the imposition of the National Security Law on June 30, 2020, the PRC unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power in Hong Kong. The PRC has demonstrated an intention to use this authority to target a broad range of activities it defines as acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities. The National Security Law also covers offenses committed by non-Hong Kong residents or organizations outside of Hong Kong, which could subject U.S. citizens who have been publicly critical of the PRC to a heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution. PRC security forces, including the new Office for Safeguarding National Security, now operate in Hong Kong and are not subject to oversight by the Hong Kong judiciary.
Demonstrations: Participating in demonstrations or any other activities that authorities interpret as constituting an act of secession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign country could result in criminal charges and potential transfer to mainland China for trial. On June 30, 2020, as part of its color-coded system of warning flags, the Hong Kong police unveiled a new purple flag, which warns protesters that shouting slogans or carrying banners with an intent prohibited by the law could now bring criminal charges. In addition to NSL violations, participants in unapproved demonstrations may also be charged with violating Hong Kong’s strict COVID-19 social distancing regulations. Any protests that take place without a permit are considered illegal.
U.S. citizens are strongly cautioned to be aware of their surroundings and avoid demonstrations.
If you decide to travel to Hong Kong:
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. Violent crime, though rare, does occur.
Please note that mace, pepper spray, stun guns, bullets, switch blades, knuckle-dusters 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, phone scams and dating scams, as well as financial 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.
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.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated and rules with regard to best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the Special Administrative Region. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to Chinese laws. If you violate Chinese laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business. Furthermore, some crimes are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
The Chinese legal system can be opaque and the interpretation and enforcement of local laws arbitrary. The judiciary does not enjoy independence from political influence. U.S. citizens traveling or residing in China should be aware of varying levels of scrutiny to which they will be subject from Chinese local law enforcement and state security. In Hong Kong, police have the right to detain you for questioning if you are not carrying your passport.
Certain provisions of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China – such as “social order” crimes (Article 293) and crimes involving “endangering state security” and “state secrets” (Article 102 to 113) – are ill-defined and can be interpreted by the authorities arbitrarily and situationally. Information that may be common knowledge in other countries could be considered a “state secret” in China, and information can be designated a “state secret” retroactively.
Drug and Alcohol Enforcement:
Chinese law enforcement authorities have little tolerance for illegal drugs, including marijuana. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in China, including Hong Kong, are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences, heavy fines, or the death penalty. Police regularly conduct unannounced drug tests on people suspected of drug use and have been known to enter a bar or nightclub and subject all patrons to immediate drug testing. Police may force you to provide a urine, blood, or hair follicle sample on short notice. A positive finding, even if the drug was legal elsewhere or consumed prior to arriving in China, can lead to immediate detention, fines, deportation, and/or a ban from re-entering China.
China also has strict laws against driving under the influence of alcohol that can lead to immediate detention on a criminal charge.
Assisted Reproductive Technology: Hong Kong strictly forbids surrogacy, and surrogacy contracts will not be considered valid. The use of reproductive technology for medical research and profit is strictly controlled.
Controlled Items in the Hong Kong SAR: 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 thoroughly screens any luggage loaded onto an aircraft in Hong Kong, whether belonging to a departing or transiting passenger. Discovery of weapons or ammunition of any kind – including mace, pepper spray, stun guns, bullets, air gun pellets, switch blades, knuckle-dusters and other self-protection weapons - 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 non-exhaustive list of controlled and/or prohibited items:
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.
Please see our Customs Information sheet for general information.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
Cruise Ship Passengers: Click here for safety information and travel advice.
Earthquakes: Earthquakes occur throughout China. Check here for information about earthquake preparedness.
English/Secondary School Teachers: English teachers in China frequently report employment disputes which can result in questioning by local authorities, termination, lost wages, confiscation of passports, forced eviction from housing, and even threats of violence. Please see the Teaching in China Guide on the U.S. Embassy's website.
Exit/Travel Bans: Business disputes, court orders to pay a settlement, or government investigations into both criminal and civil issues may result in an exit ban which will prohibit your departure from China until the issue is resolved. Even individuals and their family members who are not directly involved, or even aware of these proceedings, can be subject to an exit ban. Additionally, some local businesspeople who feel that they have been wronged by a foreign business partner may hire "debt collectors” to harass, intimidate, and sometimes physically detain foreign business partners or family members in hopes of collecting the debt. The U.S. Embassy or consulate can provide a list of local attorneys who serve U.S. clients, but otherwise are unable to intervene in civil cases. Local law enforcement authorities are generally unwilling to become involved in what they consider private business matters, and may not provide the individual who has been barred from leaving China with any written notice of the exit ban.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: In the Hong Kong SAR, 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 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.
Political and Religious Activity: Participating in unauthorized political or religious activities, including participating in public protests or sending private electronic messages critical of the government, may result in detention and Chinese government-imposed restrictions on future travel to China. Although China’s constitution permits freedom of religious belief, government officials are increasing pressure on domestic religious activity. The U.S. Mission to China has observed an increase in the number of U.S. citizens being interrogated, detained, and/or forced to leave the country in connection with real or perceived religious proselytization. U.S. citizens have been detained and/or expelled for distributing religious literature, including Bibles, or engaging in unauthorized religious meetings. If you bring religious literature with you, Chinese law dictates that it be a “reasonable amount” for your personal use. If you attempt to bring larger quantities, the literature will likely be confiscated and you may be fined, detained, or deported.
Social Insurance: China has a social insurance system to which foreigners who work in China must contribute. When you sign an employment contract, you must apply for a social insurance number, and it is important that your employer work with you to comply with the regulations. Please check the official website for updated information.
Social Media: Social media accounts are widely monitored in China. Local authorities may use information they deem critical, controversial, or that might involve illegal activity against both the poster of the material and the host of the social media forum under Chinese law. Individuals have also been held responsible for the content that others place within social media spaces they control, such as the comments section under a post or within a group chat that an individual controls.
Special Scrutiny of Foreign Citizens: On occasion, citizens of the United States visiting or resident in China have been interrogated or detained for reasons said to be related to “state security.” In such circumstances, you could face arrest, detention, or an exit ban prohibiting your departure from China for a prolonged period. Dual U.S.-Chinese nationals and U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage may be at a higher risk of facing such special scrutiny. Information about dual nationality can be found on our website.
Surveillance and Monitoring: Security personnel carefully watch foreign visitors and may place you under surveillance. Hotel rooms (including meeting rooms), offices, cars, taxis, telephones, Internet usage, and fax machines may be monitored onsite or remotely, and personal possessions in hotel rooms, including computers, may be searched without your consent or knowledge. Security personnel have been known to detain and deport U.S. citizens sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government.
Transferring Money to/From China: China’s regulatory environment includes tightening capital outflow controls that can severely impact one’s ability to move money out of the country. Wire transfers may only be available to those who have an active bank account in China. Ask your local China bank location for more information. The U.S. Department of State may be able to help transfer funds to a destitute U.S citizen overseas through our office in Washington, D.C. to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. More information on this option is available here.
Travelers with Disabilities: T Sidewalks often do not have curb cuts and many streets can be crossed only via pedestrian bridges or underpasses accessible by staircase. Assistive technologies for blind people and those with other vision disabilities are unreliable, and access to elevators in public buildings can be restricted. In major cities, public restrooms in places visited by tourists usually have a least one accessible toilet.
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 to provide one-stop information for persons with various disabilities.
Typhoons: The southeast coast of China is subject to strong typhoons and tropical storms, usually from July through September. The Hong Kong Observatory has an excellent notification and monitoring system and issues typhoon warnings an average of six times a year and heavy rainstorm alerts more frequently. Please be advised that if the Hong Kong SAR announces a Typhoon Signal 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning, the Consulate General in Hong Kong 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.
For current information, please consult the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Honolulu and the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Please visit Consulate Hong Kong’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19.
Quality of Care: Good medical facilities are available, and there are many Western-trained physicians. Hong Kong emergency service response times for police, fire, and ambulances are good.
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. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Payment and Insurance: Cash payment for services is often required prior to treatment, including emergency cases. Travelers will be asked to post a deposit prior to admission to cover the expected cost of treatment. Hospitals in major cities may accept credit cards.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in China maintain lists of local English-speaking doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medication: Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. 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: The air quality varies considerably and fluctuates with the seasons. It is typically at its worst in the summer. People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions differ significantly from those in the United States. Each year there are approximately 14,000 traffic accidents.
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.
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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Hong Kong should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.