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How to get speedy immigration at Hong Kong Airport

By danwarne     Filed under: Hong Kong, visa, airports, biometrics, immigration, APEC Card, Hong Kong Airport, passports, fingerprints

If you travel often to Hong Kong, there's no need to wait in the queue with everybody else at immigration.

Thanks to Australian Business Traveller reader Rick Ramsey for this great tip about the availability of a "Frequent Visitor Channel" at Hong Kong Airport immigration.

In order to qualify, you need to have visited Hong Kong International Airport three times in 12 months. Once you've met this requirement, you can register online for your "HKIA Frequent Visitor" card, which will remain valid for two years from the date of issue.

You can renew your card every two years, as long as you pass through Hong Kong International Airport six times in two years.

Being a cardholder also enables you to use the Hong Kong Immigration eChannel service, which allows you to pass through immigration without being examined by an officer.

The eChannel is the same avenue through immigration used by APEC cardholders, however Hong Kong Airport's Frequent Visitor scheme is far easier to qualify for than the APEC card, which requires applicants to be senior executive level business people, involved in committing to trade deals in the region, from a "well established and well credentialed" business, "demonstrating significant economic benefit in the region".

The e-Channel simply requires you to place your passport in a document reader, then your finger on a fingerprint reader. Once your fingerprint has been verified, you get a print-out confirming the conditions of your stay, and you're on your way. You can watch a video of how it works here

The airport says to keep these print-outs as evidence of travel through the airport, so that the card can be renewed -- as the eChannel does not place stamps in your passport, which would normally be used to verify that you have travelled through the airport the required number of times to qualify for the card.

Don't leave it to the last minute to apply, though -- the airport says on its website that applications are 'normally' processed within eight weeks.

The official page for the Frequent Visitor Channel is here.

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About danwarne

Dan is a tech enthusiast who frequently qualifies for enhanced airport security screening due to the number of cords and gadgets stuffed into his cabin bag.

 

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1 on 22/12/10 by jokiin

Another HK specific tip,

when stuck waiting to come home most of the advertising displays near the gates have power points down at ground level, you need to get down to see them as they are recessed down in the kick panel, keep an HK convertor plug in your carry on when leaving, ideal when you want to top up your phone charge or use a laptop and the free airport Wi-Fi to pass the time while you're waiting

 

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