What is the change? Indian nationals traveling to Hong Kong on a 14-day visa waiver are experiencing unsuccessful attempts to obtain the mandatory “pre-arrival registration.”

What does the change mean? All Indian nationals visiting Hong Kong on a visa waiver, and particularly first-time visa-waived travelers, should anticipate that they may be denied preapproval registration and may be required to apply for a visitor visa.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visa waiver.
  • Who is affected: Indian nationals visiting Hong Kong based on visa-waived status.
  • Impact on processing times: Travelers whose preregistration is rejected need to apply directly to the Hong Kong Immigration Department for a visa, which may take around four weeks upon submission of application.
  • Business impact: Business travelers should plan ahead to avoid disruption to travel plans and factor in additional time should they need to secure a visitor visa.

Background: Indian nationals are eligible for 14-day visa-free stays in Hong Kong. On Jan. 23, a preregistration process became mandatory, in which travelers file an online application with the Hong Kong Immigration Department and print out a notification receipt before boarding their flight. Hong Kong authorities are not providing reasons for the rejections.

BAL Analysis: Indian nationals planning to visit Hong Kong under a visa waiver should plan ahead in the event that their preregistration is rejected and they need to apply for a visa.  

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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