Foreign travel advice

Hong Kong

Summary

The typhoon season in Hong Kong normally runs from April to October. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Hong Kong, attacks can’t be ruled out.

You should take sensible precautions against pick pocketing and other street crime. See crime.

529,505 British nationals visited Hong Kong in 2015. Most visits are trouble free.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Safety and security

Crime

The level of violent crime is very low but pick pocketing and other street crime can occur. You should take extra care of passports, credit cards and money in crowded areas and when checking in and out of hotels. There have been some isolated incidents of robberies in Hong Kong’s Country Parks; these incidents have been reduced following a crime prevention operation by the Hong Kong Police. Nevertheless, if you intend to hike in Hong Kong’s Country Parks you should stick to marked trails and avoid carrying valuables.

Make sure anything you drink can’t be tampered with. Be wary of accepting drinks from strangers and always have a trusted friend to keep an eye on any unfinished drink if you need to leave it for a period of time.

Political situation

Hong Kong is generally a stable society underpinned by the rule of law. While demonstrations are usually conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner, some have been more volatile in nature, resulting in confrontations between police and protesters.

You should monitor and follow the instructions of local authorities, avoid areas where protests and unplanned public gatherings are taking place if possible, follow the instructions of the local authorities and take sensible precautions against petty crime if you are nearby.

Terrorism

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Hong Kong, attacks can’t be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

Local laws and customs

Hong Kong law is based mainly on UK law. There are on the spot fines for littering and spitting. There is zero tolerance for ticketless travel on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).

Don’t become involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Possession of these drugs can lead to imprisonment.

Don’t take photographs of military installations. Since the 1997 handover, the defence of Hong Kong has been the responsibility of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). All previous British military barracks now belong to the PLA.

The Hong Kong SAR Government has restrictions in place on the quantity of powdered baby formula allowed for persons departing the territory. Penalties for non compliance are severe. See: Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department website

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

Although Hong Kong is now part of the People’s Republic of China it remains a Special Administrative Region with its own immigration controls. You can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa.

If you plan to work or study in Hong Kong, or stay for a period of longer than 6 months you will need to get a visa. For further information contact the nearest Chinese mission with visa issuing facilities or the Hong Kong Immigration Department (Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong; telephone: 2824 4055).

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for at least one month after the date of your departure from Hong Kong.

Visits to mainland China

If you are travelling to mainland China via Hong Kong you must get a Chinese visa before arrival at the border. Visas are not available on arrival at the Chinese border for British passport holders. If you are entering Hong Kong via mainland China and leaving again via the mainland you will need a double or multiple entry visa for mainland China.

Bringing restricted items into Hong Kong

According to Hong Kong law, it’s illegal for visitors travelling to or transiting through Hong Kong International Airport to carry certain items including stun guns, objects with sharp points or edges (eg samurai swords) and martial arts equipment (eg knuckledusters). Offenders are liable to a severe fine or imprisonment. For a full list of restricted items, visit the website of the Hong Kong Police Force.

Electronic cigarettes

If you’re entering Hong Kong with e-cigarettes containing nicotine, you’ll need a medical prescription indicating that they’re for personal use. If the e-cigarette is nicotine-free and for personal use, no medical prescription is needed. For more information visit the Hong Kong Department of Health website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Hong Kong.

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.

You may undergo temperature screening at borders. Depending on the results, further medical examinations may be required.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. The cost of medical treatment in Hong Kong is high.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Natural disasters

The typhoon season in Hong Kong normally runs from April to October. Typhoons sometimes hit Hong Kong and may cause flooding and landslides. Local warnings are issued in advance. Public offices shut down when the ‘Typhoon 8’ signal is hoisted.

You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and Hong Kong Observatory. See Tropical Cyclones page for advice on what to do if you are caught up in a storm.

Travel advice help and support

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send us a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.