Entering Hong Kong Now: A How-to Guide

Here’s the lowdown on the quarantine-free “0+3” arrangement and its streamlined arrival process, based off our deputy editor’s firsthand experience.

A Star Ferry vessel crosses Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. (Photo: Jeremy Zero/Unsplash)

What to Do Before Departure

All Hong Kong–bound travelers must take a rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours of departure. Once you have a negative result, fill out an online health declaration form and upload copies of your vaccination record, using a separate image file for each dose. Completing the form will generate a green QR code with a reference number below. Save a screenshot (or two) showing the QR code with your name, reference number, and expiry date to your phone, as you’ll need these on arrival. (Ground staff at the departure airport may also ask you to present your health declaration QR code at check-in.)

If you have been vaccinated outside Hong Kong, the health declaration will be used to generate a provisional “vaccine pass” so you can enter restaurants, bars, and attractions via the LeaveHomeSafe contact-tracing app. Don’t forget to bring a mask: facial coverings are mandatory aboard flights to or from Hong Kong except when eating or drinking.

Hong Kong International Airport during better times. (Photo: LeeYiuTung/iStock)

The Arrival Process

PPE-clad health workers at Hong Kong International Airport will usher arriving travelers into separate channels for transit passengers and those ending their journeys in the city. Prepare your passport or Hong Kong ID and health declaration QR code; ground staff sitting behind Perspex screens will ask you to scan the latter and check your travel documents. You’ll then receive a green lanyard with a barcode (which you should hold onto), as well as a booth number and a labeled plastic bag with a testing kit. The on-arrival PCR test should not take longer than a minute; a notification showing the result will be sent via SMS less than 12 hours later.

Go downstairs to the automated people-mover bound for immigration and baggage reclaim. Before getting stamped into Hong Kong, you must pass through a row of counters to scan the barcode on your lanyard. Government workers will hand you a sheet with instructions on downloading your personalized Notification of Medical Surveillance the next day at chp.gov.hk/qoms/. Public transportation like bus services and the Airport Express are operating normally.

Visitors must wait till day 3 to drink at The Aubrey, a new bar at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong. (Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group)

More Tests and the Amber Health Code

International arrivals entering Hong Kong are currently subject to three days of medical surveillance and given an amber health code, which puts some restrictions on movement. Those with amber-code status can leave their accommodation to go shopping, buy takeout, or head outdoors, but cannot join indoor mask-off activities like eating in restaurants. Instead of quarantine, you are required by law to self-administer daily RATs for a week and undergo PCR test at community testing centers on days 2, 4, and 6 (day 0 being the arrival date).

Once you’ve downloaded your Notification of Medical Surveillance, use the reference number below the QR code on the PDF’s bottom right-hand corner to log in to your account at chp.gov.hk/ecmss. This web portal is where you can report the results of RATs (uploading a photo is necessary) and get reminders to book mandatory PCR tests in advance. After obtaining a negative result in the day 2 PCR test, the amber health code will turn blue at 9:01 a.m. on day 3, granting you the same freedom of movement as non-Covid-infected Hong Kong residents.

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