Do Chinese citizens require a visa to go to Hong Kong for less than 7 days?
I and my girlfriend (a mainland Chinese citizen) are planning to visit Hong Kong from Malaysia (where we both have MSC working visas), and will also be returning to Malaysia. I have been surprised at all of the restrictions placed on mainland Chinese citizens; it seems that there is a lot of bureaucracy required before a mainland Chinese citizen can enter Hong Kong.
I am trying to find out if there is some way that she can enter Hong Kong for 3-4 days with me (a British citizen) without having to go through the hassle of trying to get a visa.
After a little while reading, I found this exemption clause:
Chinese passport holders who are in transit through Hong Kong from another country, region or territory may be granted a stay of 7 days without the prior need to obtain an entry permit, with the condition of possession of valid Chinese passport and confirmed onward air tickets for the overseas journey. If Chinese passport holders will go for mainland China or Macau via Hong Kong, onward air tickets are not compulsory.
It seems that this could be used to allow her visaless entry to Hong Kong, as we only plan to go for 3-4 days.
So here are my questions based on that 7-day exemption clause:
- Does the "onward air tickets" stipulation apply when flying from and returning to Malaysia, or would it only apply if we were flying on to another country entirely?
- If "onwards air tickets" may not apply in that situation, does flying back to Malaysia via Macao or mainland China permit her to enter without a visa?
- Does simply entering mainland China without flying (for example, using the Hong Kong–Shenzhen Western Corridor to drive there) also entitle her to this entry?
I have contacted the Chinese embassy in Malaysia about these questions, but they advised me that they do not know the answer to them (which I find a little surprising).
Non expert opinion only: I'd expect that provided that she can with certainty enter mainland China from HK and leave again into HK then she should not need and ongoing air ticket. Making the actual trip into shenzhen and back again can be quick and low cost, provided that there is no risk of not being allowed back. Going by road is usually the easiest (sit in van, people look at you through window and compare wuth passport photo) but involves cost of two van rides. (Small compared to air fare). A trip by train to Shenzhen is not much slower and very low cost. You could cross the border ...
... and then cross back immediately BUT that could attract suspicion. A few hours in Shenzhen looking in the shops would probably be enough to legitimatise the journey. **BUT** all the above may be wrong. | The failure of the embassy to provide an answer would be at least a minor red flag to me (maybe a pink flag). I think the HK restrictions are mainly to limit the MLC to HK flow, but as soon as you enter the area people will examine your motives. [[FYI only: I've crossed that border numerous times but my situation is entirely different]].
HK-Macau-HK by ferry is a pleasant day trip. Again, "can she get back OK" needs to be certain.
My reading of that -- and I'm obviously not a Chinese immigration bureaucrat -- is that she's probably OK without the visa, as long as you can make the trip out to be Malaysia->China->Malaysia via Hong Kong on both legs.
- From Malaysia to Hong Kong, as long as she claims to be going to Shenzhen or wherever, she is "in transit through Hong Kong" and "will go for mainland China", so the onward air ticket from HK should not be necessary.
- From Hong Kong back to Malaysia, she fulfills the conditions of "possession of valid visa for the destination and confirmed onward air tickets for the overseas journey".
However, I would have at least three concerns:
- This scheme is meant for transiting via HK to/from mainland China, but she's not transiting, she's staying in HK. Even a day-trip over the border to (say) Shenzhen would allow her to fulfill the letter of the law and also sort out her HK immigration records.
- She may be asked for some sort of proof that she's actually going to China, not just Hong Kong. A hotel booking or something in Shenzhen wouldn't hurt, and if you're not joining her in China for visa reasons etc, you'll probably want to go through immigration separately so your presence doesn't raise questions.
- The airline has to buy into this plan as well, so I would strongly recommend calling the airline and confirming, ideally in writing, that they will let her on board without a visa.
Is your suggestion that you don't consider Malaysia -> HK -> Malaysia to be consistent with the "onward air travel" stipulation? I'm not sure of the legal meaning of "onward" here.