Skip to main content

Cookies on the DFA website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site while also complying with Data Protection requirements. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

China - Hong Kong / Macau

If you’re travelling to Hong Kong S.A.R or Macau S.A.R., our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:

Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:

Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.

We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.

It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements. We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate.

We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Latest Travel Alert

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A number of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR.
See links below for details national statistics.

Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (desktop version)

Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (mobile version)

Macao Health Bureau

WHO Situation Reports

If you are in Hong Kong and/or Macao, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. See links to relevant websites below.

Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection.

Hong Kong International Airport

Macao Health Bureau

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.
Do:
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
Don’t:
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

The first cases of COVID-19 in both Hong Kong and Macao were confirmed on 22 January 2020. The Consulate has met with the Hong Kong Government, are monitoring the updates from the Hong Kong and Macao authorities. Given the impact of SARS in the region, it is not surprising that the authorities in Hong Kong and Macao have moved swiftly to put in place prudent measures to contain the potential spread of COVID-19, including travel restrictions and the closure of schools and public amenities. Temporary Travel Restrictions to and between Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and mainland China

Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and mainland China maintain separate customs and immigration boundaries under the “One Country, Two Systems” governance arrangements. Upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, or at a boundary control point, automatic sensors will take your temperature. If it is considered high, you may be required to participate in a health check.

All passengers arriving to Hong Kong are now required to complete and submit a health declaration form.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, travel between the three jurisdictions has become increasingly restricted. On 3 February, Hong Kong closed most of the 14 border crossings with mainland China, leaving just the Shenzhen Bay border crossing and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge open, as well as, the Hong Kong International Airport. The Government also announced the suspension of immigration services at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and the Ocean Terminal with effect from 5 February.

The situation regarding COVID-19 is fluid and travellers to Hong Kong and/or Macao with onward travel plans should consult the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for up to date travel advice.

Quarantine arrangements on certain travellers entering Hong Kong

  • The Hong Kong Government has issued a Red Outbound Travel Alert on all foreign countries and territories. The government has stipulated that travellers arriving in Hong Kong who have been to any overseas countries/areas, including Ireland, in the past 14 days, regardless of whether they are Hong Kong residents, will be subject to compulsory 14-day quarantine, usually at home or at designated hotel accomodation. There is more information on compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong available here.

People arriving in Hong Kong who have been to the following countries/areas in the past 14 days, regardless of whether they are Hong Kong residents, will have to stay in a quarantine centre for their 14-day quarantine.

• Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do in Korea
• Iran
• Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy

More generally, people who the health authorities deem to be a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case may also be detained in designated quarantine centres for up to a 14-day period.

Anyone who breaks the quarantine faces up to six months in prison and a fineof up to HK$25,000.

People whose visas allow them to stay for less than 14 days will be denied entry.

Transit passengers are exempt from mandatory quarantine but will be required to have their temperature checked before boarding a connecting flight.

Travellers to Hong Kong are urged to reconfirm their travel plans and visa arrangements, as appropriate, with their travel provider prior to departure.

Prohibitions to entering Macao

All travellers from overseas countries will be prohibited from entering Macao as of 19 March. Macao residents, as well as residents of Mainland China, of Hong Kong and of Taiwan will be exempt from this measure.

Travellers to Macao are urged to reconfirm their travel plans and visa arrangements, as appropriate, with their travel provider prior to departure.

 

Regional Travel Restrictions

A number of countries and territories have implemented restrictions on travellers – both Chinese and other nationals – that have visited mainland China in the preceding 14 days, including blocked entry and transit. Some countries are also rescinding previously approved visas for travellers. In a small number of cases, such restrictions are being extended to travellers arriving from Hong Kong and/or Macao.

Accordingly, travellers to Hong Kong and/or Macao are urged to reconfirm their travel plans and visa arrangements, as appropriate, with their travel provider prior to departure to ensure that connecting/return flights are still operating and permissions to enter third countries are still valid.

Temporary Suspension/Reduction of Public Services, Events and Amenities

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Governments of Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR have encouraged precautionary measures to reduce public gatherings and curtail the potential spread of the virus, including:
• Closure of primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong and Macao;
• Closure of Universities;
• Reduction of many public services; and
• Working from home protocols.

Social Unrest in Hong Kong

Since June 2019, there has been sustained demonstrations in Hong Kong in pursuit of certain political objectives. While most demonstrations have been peaceful in nature, there has also been incidences of protest-related violence, leading to well-documented violent clashes between protestors and the police. Further details are in the Safety and Security Tab. 

Living in Hong Kong or Macao

If you have recently moved to Hong Kong, you may wish to meet with other Irish people who are part of a local organisation or business network who can provide you with general advice, information and guidance. Please see the following for further information: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-consulate/hong-kong/our-services/new-to-hong-kong/

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Ensure you have sufficient money to support yourself, and the capacity to access emergency funds if needed
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide

Safety and Security

Safety and Security

Political situation

Hong Kong & Macau are generally stable societies and are underpinned by the rule of law.

Since June 2019, however, there has been sustained demonstrations in Hong Kong in pursuit of certain political objectives. Most demonstrations have been moderate in size but there have been notably large scale protests involving many hundreds of thousands of people usually in response to certain trigger events and anniversaries. While most demonstrations have been peaceful in nature, over this time there has also been a pattern of protest-related violence, leading to well-documented violent clashes between protestors and the police.

While demonstrations are well signalled on social media, flashpoints are often unpredictable and can emerge in districts previously unaffected by the violence. Indeed, 'Flash mob' demonstrations can also take place with minimal warning, with related instances of arson, violence and vandalism. During episodes of social unrest, expect road closures, transport disruptions (including, the closure of stations on the Mass Transit Rail (MTR) Network) and crowd control responses from the police, including the use of tear gas.

Low key demonstrations, and with it the possibility of protest-related violence, are continuing in Hong Kong. Irish citizens and members of the public are urged to be vigilant and are strongly advised to avoid areas where protests and unplanned public gatherings are taking place and to follow the advice of the local authorities.

Since October 2019, there have been a number of police seizures of homemade bombs and materials as well as other weapons in Hong Kong. On 29 January 2020, police reported that three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were discovered within a 48-hour period, including a homemade bomb that had exploded in a toilet at a medical centre. While IED detonations have not resulted in any causalities, visitors to Hong Kong are urged to be extra-vigilant to this threat.

Macao has not been affected by the social unrest.

Terrorism

There is an underlying global threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. The Hong Kong and Macau governments have put in place extensive measures to combat terrorism including upgraded police capability, improved air travel security, improved border controls and upgraded emergency services response.

Additional Security Measures at Hong Kong International Airport

Following the protest-related closure of Hong Kong International Airport in August 2019, the Hong Kong Airport Authority has obtained a High Court order which restrains persons from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of Hong Kong International Airport. The order also applies to the blocking of roads connecting to the Airport and persons are also restrained by the Order from attending or participating in any demonstration or protest or public order event in the Airport.

The order permits the Airport Authority to extend the Access Control Area to the Terminal Buildings, and new security measure have applied since 14 August 2019. Until further notice, only bona fide passengers with a valid air ticket or boarding pass for a flight within 24 hours of arrival at the airport and a valid travel document (e.g. passport) will be allowed to enter the terminal buildings.

Passengers are recommended to arrive at the airport three hours before their departure time for relevant checks at the designated access control checkpoints equipped with 24-hour security cameras. Please note that passengers must possess a ticket or boarding pass to gain access to the terminal building.

Other members of the public, including those who may want to accompany departing passengers or receiving passengers arriving at the airport are advised not travel to the airport unless absolutely necessary. In any event, only passengers will be granted access to the airport terminal.

Crime

The incidence of violent crime is very low but some street crime and pick pocketing can occur as in any large urban area. Extra care should be taken in crowded areas in respect of passports, money and credit cards – stay vigilant in train stations and markets.

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Hong Kong or Macao report it to the local police immediately. The Crime Report numbers are as follows:

  • 999 for Hong Kong
  • 993 for Macao

Hong Kong Police operate an 'e-Report Centre' which is designed for non-emergency report or enquiry. Instant response to the report or enquiry will not be available. In case of emergency, please call 999 or contact the nearest police station. [See https://www.erc.police.gov.hk/cmiserc/CCC/PolicePublicPage?language=en]

The Tourism Crisis Management Office (+853) 2833 3000 (24-hour hotline) are able to provide general assistance in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Portuguese to tourists in Macao. In case of emergency, please call 993 or contact the nearest police station. A leaflet to assist with understanding the crime reporting procedures can be found on http://www.pj.gov.mo/Web/u/cms/www/pdf/Publish/EN/RC03.pdf

You can also contact us at the Consulate General of Ireland if you require assistance.

Public Transport/Driving

Hong Kong is renowned for its safe, affordable and reliable public transport system, including ferry, rail, bus and tram.

The Octopus Card is a stored-value electronic card that can be used for most public transport, as well as purchases in convenience stores, fast food shops, supermarkets, cake shops, vending machines and more. Details on https://www.octopus.com.hk/en/consumer/index.html

The high-speed Airport Express takes approximately 24 minutes to reach Hong Kong Island and is the fastest way to get between the city and the airport. Airport Express passengers are able to take a free shuttle bus from Kowloon and Hong Kong stations to major hotels. Both these stations also provide free in-town check-in services for major airlines, when departing Hong Kong, which can be very convenient for passengers with a late departure flight.

The Macao authorities consider the taxi service Uber to be illegal, and the Macao Police has recently been taking enforcement action against both the drivers and passengers of unlicensed taxi services, including Uber.

For holders of an Irish driving licence who wish to drive in Hong Kong, you may do so on the strength of your valid Irish driving licence or international driving permit if you are a visitor to Hong Kong (visitors mean that you arrive in Hong Kong other than to take up residence for a period not exceeding 12 months).

For holders of an Irish driving licence who wish to drive in Macao and who are staying for less than a year – you must go to the police station to obtain an official paper to legalise your Irish licence.

Lost or stolen passport

If your passport is lost or stolen while in Hong Kong or Macau the Consulate in Hong Kong can - in emergency situations, issue an emergency travel document or temporary passport. You’ll need to submit a completed application, duly witnessed and with all supporting documents and the appropriate fee. Proof of identity and citizenship will be required, including an original or certified long-form birth certificate in all cases.

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local Laws and Customs

Hong Kong Local Laws

Hong Kong law, like Ireland, is a common law system with criminal and civil law codes.

Some of the city’s public hygiene rules and laws include:

  • Prohibition of eating and drinking on most public transport in Hong Kong;
  • Strict laws about maintaining environmental hygiene, including fixed penalty fines for littering or spitting.

There is also a zero tolerance for ticketless travel on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).

The import and re-export of all elephant ivory and its products, including tourist souvenirs, is banned. Offenders could face a fine and/or imprisonment.

Photographing of military installations is prohibited.

The Hong Kong SAR Government has restrictions in place on the quantity of powdered baby formula allowed for persons departing the territory. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

Macao Local Laws

Macao is a civil law system, in that legislation is the main source of law and case law, while clearly relevant, is not a major source of law. Macau has the five 'classic' codifications: the Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the Civil Procedure Code, the Penal Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code. Proceedings will be conducted in Portugese.

Security restricted articles

Hong Kong and Macao have strict laws regarding the import and/or possession of any type of weapon and items that may resemble weapons, including replicas, antiques, toys and fashion accessories.

The laws apply to individuals in Hong Kong and Macao and those transiting Hong Kong and Macao airports, and apply to hand luggage, checked luggage and luggage in transit. For further information, please see the websites of:

Illegal drugs

The Hong Kong and Macao administrations have a zero tolerance policy against illegal drug use. Possession of illegal drugs can lead to heavy fines and imprisonment.

Penalties also exist for being in possession of sleeping tablets or prescription medication without a prescription.

Smoking restrictions, including e-cigarettes

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is prohibited in all indoor public places in Hong Kong and Macao, including restaurants, bars and malls. The smoking ban is also implemented on public transport carriers, within public transport facilities, and in both the indoor and outdoor areas of some premises, including public beaches and swimming pools and escalators.

Any person smoking or carrying a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe in a designated no-smoking area will be liable to a fixed penalty.

If you’re entering Hong Kong with e-cigarettes containing nicotine, you’ll need a medical prescription indicating that they’re for personal use. If the e-cigarette is nicotine-free and for personal use, no medical prescription is needed.

For more information, visit the

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural Disasters and Climate

Hong Kong and Macao have a sub-tropical climate with distinct seasons. The only predictable weather events that could have a significant impact on your travel plans are typhoons and rainstorms. Typhoon season begins in May and ends in November.

When a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcast on television and radio and many buildings display the typhoon warning signal. Public offices shut down when the ‘Typhoon 8’ signal is hoisted and people are required to be indoors until the Typhoon passes.

Please see the following links in relation to the various weather signals and warnings:

Additional Information

Additional Information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

To enter Hong Kong and Macau you must possess a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the date of your intended stay, adequate funds to cover your stay and evidence of onward/return transportation. Many neighboring areas require that your passport is valid for at least six months before they will allow you to enter, so if you plan on regional travel beyond Hong Kong, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date you plan to enter such areas.  You do not need a visa for tourist visits of up to 90 days but a visa may be required if travel is other than for tourism purposes. Details on general visa requirements can be found for:

Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and mainland China maintain separate customs and immigration boundaries under the “One Country, Two Systems” governance arrangements. Passports and appropriate visas are required for travelling between the territories. Travelling between Hong Kong, Macao or China and returning to one of the territories constitutes a multiple journey.

Health

Health services in Hong Kong and Macau are of a high standard. Before you travel, you should, however, visit a doctor or the Tropical Medical Bureau to check what vaccinations are required.

You should also have comprehensive medical insurance before you travel to Hong Kong, as treatment and medication can be extremely expensive.

For up-to-date information in relation to public health alerts please visit the website of the Macao Health Bureau on http://www.ssm.gov.mo/ and Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/

Dengue fever

Dengue fever is an acute mosquito-borne infection caused by the dengue viruses. This is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world and dengue fever is an endemic illness in many countries in South East Asia. Hong Kong and Macao are liable to Dengue outbreaks.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Novel Coronavirus Guidelines

During previous outbreaks of other coronavirus (e.g. MERS and SARS), human-to-human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of COVID-19 can be similar.

According to the WHO, standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include:

  • regular hand washing,
  • covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing,
  • avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as cough or sneezing
  • avoid visiting wet or live markets and contact with animals, excretions and droppings
  • thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.

If you are unwell on return from travel to an affected area, contact your healthcare provider and tell them of recent travel.

If medical masks are worn, appropriate use and disposal is essential to ensure they are effective and to avoid any increase in risk of transmission associated with the incorrect use and disposal of masks. The following WHO information on correct use of medical masks derives from the practices in health-care settings:

  • Place mask carefully to cover mouth and nose and tie securely to minimise any gaps between the face and the mask;
  • While in use, avoid touching the mask;
  • Remove the mask by using appropriate technique (i.e. do not touch the front but remove the lace from behind);
  • After removal or whenever you inadvertently touch a used mask, clean hands by using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water if visibly soiled
  • Replace masks with a new clean, dry mask as soon as they become damp/humid;
  • Do not re-use single-use masks;
  • Discard single-use masks after each use and dispose of them immediately upon removal.

Cloth (e.g. cotton or gauze) masks are not recommended under any circumstance.

The WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider.

Further information is available on the website of the WHO (www.who.int).

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is not in a position to provide expert medical advice. If travellers are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 they should seek professional medical advice.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is Ireland's specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. The HPSC comes under the Health Service Executive (HSE) and works in partnership with health service providers and sister organisations in Ireland and around the world to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. For Irish-related information on COVID-19 please visit: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/

Air quality

 

Hong Kong and Macao can experience periodic episodes of high levels of air pollution. We advise all Irish visitors and residents to monitor the updates and advisories from:

 

Embassy contact

Consulate Contact

Consulate General of Ireland Hong Kong
20/F, 33 Des Voeux Road,
Central,
Hong Kong

Tel: +(852) 2535 0700
Fax: +(852) 2528 9330

Public Office hours of the Consulate are curtailed for the duration of the 2019-nCoV outbreak

For customer service access and consistent with best practice, the Consulate will operate an appointments-only service for Irish citizens in order to limit the numbers in the waiting area at any given time. If you need an appointment, please email us on hongkong@dfa.ie.

The Consulate continues to provide its normal out-of-hours consular service for genuine emergencies which cannot wait until normal working hours. Contact details can be found on: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-consulate/hong-kong/contact-us/.


Contact us