Travelling to Hong Kong? This new visa rule will make it difficult for you
Los Angeles : Hong Kong is a popular destination for Indian travelers but the new visa rule is set to disappoint many tourists. The special administrative region of China, has now withdrawn the visa-free facility for Indians thus initiating a pre-arrival registration from January onwards.
The Hong Kong immigration department said in an announcement on its official website: "Indian nationals must apply for and successfully complete pre-arrival registration online before they can visit or transit the HKSAR visa-free (if seeking to enter the HKSAR during transit). Pre-arrival registration is not required for Indian nationals in direct transit by air and not leaving the airport transit area."
The order comes as a major setback for over half a million Indians who often visit the country for business, trade and holidays.
Till now Indians were permitted to enter with valid passport for a period up to 14 days without a visa.
But now the new rule will create a tough stand for Indian citizens and is often seen as a concern citing China’s interference in the visa row. China is yet to react to the new rule by Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s Immigration department assistant director Ma Chi-ming said the measure would be reviewed soon after its launch and considered a pilot scheme.
"We picked India as a testing point as it was one of the major source countries," he said. "We do not rule out extending the scheme to other countries in the future."
Among the current backlog of 10,335 refugee applications in the city, 80 per cent are claimants from India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia, he said.