Although Hong Kong is officially known as The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, it enjoys a special level of autonomy. Included in the list of administrative sovereignty is the ability to issue visas and open and close its borders.
The latter of those freedoms gained immense importance back in March 2020 when Hong Kong decided to close its borders to international travelers. For an island accustomed to the comings and goings of both its own population and that of nearby mainland China, the closure was difficult.
Thankfully, over the past year and a half, Hong Kong has been able to restart its visa distribution system and reopen its borders to visitors. A huge caveat to that good news is that not all citizens of all countries are eligible to enter Hong Kong.
As is the case with most other governments attempting to navigate the pandemic, Hong Kong health officials must balance their population’s safety with its economic needs.
One of the biggest and most important financial decisions has to do with the United States of America. Typically, American passport holders can simply apply for permission to enter Hong Kong digitally by filling out a Hong Kong PAR application online.
During the pandemic, however, in addition to visa requirements, US passport holders must familiarize themselves with the latest COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines to enter Hong Kong. Read on for the most up-to-date info.
What Must U.S. Citizens Do to Enter Hong Kong?
For American investors and entrepreneurs, Hong Kong has always been a financial hub. Its very name conjures up images of high-rise office buildings and big spenders. For thousands of tourists from America each year, Hong Kong is also a wonderful destination to relax and experience a completely different culture.
Since the pandemic closed down Hong Kong’s borders, those American tourists preparing to visit Hong Kong have had to put their travel plans on hold. Recently, thanks to the vaccination campaigns in both nations, there have been efforts to allow some U.S. passport holders to enjoy a trip to Hong Kong.
Can All U.S. Passport Holders Visit Hong Kong for Tourism?
At the moment, not all Americans can visit Hong Kong for tourism.
The issue is that the Hong Kong government classifies the United States of America as a Group A country. Being designated as Group A means that anyone who has been there in the past 21 days is considered high-risk.
As long as the United States remains in Group A, only U.S. residents of Hong Kong who are vaccinated are allowed entry if they have recently been inside of America or any other group A nation.
Non-residents of Hong Kong wishing to visit from America for tourism purposes can utilize a simple yet time-consuming loophole: They must spend fourteen days in mainland China, Macau, or any of the Group C (lower risk) nations before entering Hong Kong.
There is no vaccine requirement as long as they test negative before flying and upon arrival, although the Hong Kong government strongly recommends it.
What About COVID-19 Testing?</h2>
All travelers coming from the United States, no matter their residency status or their vaccination history, must show proof of a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours. Health officials strongly encourage passengers to wait as long as possible to take the test. In that way, it has the best chance of remaining accurate.
In addition to the PCR test before flying, every American citizen who is allowed into Hong Kong will have to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. Should that test be negative, then they will not be required to quarantine.
However, should that test on arrival be positive, then they will have to quarantine for up to three weeks.How Open Is Hong Kong Right Now for Tourism?
How Open Is Hong Kong Right Now for Tourism?
Understanding the restrictions for entering a country is important. Travel during the pandemic has been completely upended and the last thing anyone wants is to fly across the Pacific to be denied entry because they didn’t do enough research.
Another key piece of research before traveling is to learn about the current public guidelines and restrictions. A vacation would hardly be worth it if the best restaurants and most unique museums were shut down.
The good news for Americans who are allowed into Hong Kong is that the government’s attempts to implement a COVID-19 bubble have been largely successful. Bars, restaurants, and museums are open to the public.
The most important restrictions at the moment are that masks are required in most public spaces, including on public transport. The exception for mask-wearing while in public is inside public parks where social distancing is much easier and the risk of the transmission of the virus is significantly lower.