22nd September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong is preparing for a significant influx of passengers during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day Holiday, with an estimated 6.55 million passengers expected to pass through sea, land, and air control points. The Immigration Department (ImmD) predicts that approximately 5.43 million passengers, accounting for 82.9% of the total, will use land boundary control points between September 29 and October 6. Higher numbers of outbound and inbound passengers are anticipated on 30th September and 2nd October, particularly at land boundary control points.
The ImmD has identified Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point, Lo Wu Control Point, and Shenzhen Bay Control Point as areas with heavy passenger traffic, expecting daily averages of around 164,000, 162,000, and 103,000 passengers respectively.
To manage the expected surge in passenger traffic, the ImmD has limited leave for frontline officers, allowing for flexible deployment and operation of additional clearance counters and kiosks. Additional security guards will also be deployed to assist with crowd management.
In collaboration with the Police, the Customs and Excise Department, and the MTR Corporation Limited, the ImmD will establish a joint command centre at Lo Wu Control Point to coordinate necessary arrangements. Close communication will be maintained with Mainland frontier inspection authorities to ensure smooth passenger flow. Traffic diversion plans will be implemented as needed.
To minimize congestion and lengthy waiting times, the ImmD advises all land boundary passengers to plan their journeys in advance, avoid peak periods, and stay updated on traffic conditions through radio and TV broadcasts. Information on expected busy times at boundary control points can be found on the ImmD website. Passengers can also check estimated waiting times at all land boundary control points via the Immigration Mobile Application (ImmD mobile app), enabling effective trip planning and reducing queueing time. The app is available for free download from various platforms and links can be found on the ImmD website. Public transport service information to and from control points is accessible on the Transport Department website.
Travellers heading to the Mainland are reminded to carry valid travel documents and proof of identity. Hong Kong residents should verify the validity of their Home Visit Permits, while non-permanent residents must have their smart identity card or Document of Identity for Visa Purposes.
To expedite immigration clearance, approximately 700 e-Channels are installed at various control points. Hong Kong residents enrolled in the Express e-Channel should re-enrol if they have received a new identity card. Additionally, the Contactless e-Channel service is now available at all control points, allowing eligible residents to generate an encrypted QR code through the mobile app for automated immigration clearance using facial recognition technology.
Visitors to Hong Kong can benefit from the self-service departure option, Smart Departure, which employs facial recognition technology for identity verification at all control points. Eligible visitors with electronic travel documents can use Smart Departure e-Channels without prior enrolment.
For Hong Kong residents requiring assistance while abroad, the Assistance to Hong Kong Residents Unit of the ImmD operates a 24-hour hotline at (852) 1868.
As Hong Kong brims with holiday travellers, the ImmD aims to ensure a smooth and efficient immigration process, facilitating safe and enjoyable journeys for all passengers during the festive period.