The ministry of external affairs of India has raised with Hong Kong the pre-arrival registration concern for issuing visas to Indian travellers.
In 2016, more than 400,000 Indians visited Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Most of them were said to be businessmen and tourists.
Until 23 January 2017, the HKSAR’s immigration rules required nationals of India who intended to visit Hong Kong for a period of more than 14 days the need to secure a visa. In addition, Indian nationals wanting to visit Hong Kong for fewer than 14 days for tourism and other such reasons were granted free visas on arrival.
After the aforementioned date, the Hong Kong authorities introduced for Indian nationals an additional level of scrutiny to visit it visa-free for fewer than 14 days.
This extra layer of scrutiny is compulsory pre-arrival registration. Only Indians who manage to complete online pre-arrival registration successfully are allowed to enter Hong Kong and are granted a visa on arrival now. On the other hand, other travellers need to apply for visas before visiting Hong Kong.
Online pre-registration for the security clearance can be availed by Indians who hold passports with a minimum validity of six months. Validity period for this pre-arrival registration is six months.
This pre-registration is, however, waived for the diplomatic and official passport holders and those who have been enrolled as frequent visitors.
Hindustan Times quotes Indian officials of having already conveyed to Hong Kong authorities that in the backdrop of increasing business and cultural relations, it is advisable that visa and immigration system assist people-to-people exchanges instead of putting in place additional barriers.
Indian officials have also indicated via diplomatic channels that it has a convenient visa system for passport holders of HKSAR through online visa service. An Indian official said that travellers from India were inconvenienced with the inclusion of this additional hurdle and this concern has been expressed to the authorities.
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