Chinese New Year dragon, Hong Kong
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Chinese New Year dragon, Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Travel Guide

Key Facts

1,104 sq km (426 sq miles).


7,346,248 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

6,468.4 per sq km.


Hong Kong.


Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Head of state

President of China Xi Jinping since 2013.

Head of government

Chief Executive John Lee since 2022.


220 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are used.

Steamy and gargantuan, Hong Kong has evolved into one of Asia’s most lovable cities. Its incredible skyline – part neon, part steel-and-glass, part towering hills – is one of the most majestic in the world, but it’s a mere backdrop to the 24-hour flurry of activity that makes Hong Kong what it is.

From its boat-buzzed waterfront to its packed dim sum restaurants, its incense-smoked temples to its clattering teahouses, its street markets to its old-world hotels, Hong Kong is a destination teeming with energy. For travellers, the best advice is to go with the flow.

Situated at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta on China’s southwestern coast, Hong Kong is a city that has a remarkable mix of Eastern and Western influences. The handover of this territory from Britain to China was back in 1997, but the centuries of British rule still have a lasting legacy, tangible in everything from the grand period architecture to the local passion for horse-racing.

Even the name of Hong Kong’s centrepiece – the iconic Victoria Harbour – harks back to another era, and today there’s an international flavour to the destination that sets it apart from other Chinese cities. The gastronomy, nightlife and shopping are all world-class.

Hong Kong Island, with its glistening skyscrapers and high-end shopping malls, is in many ways the heartbeat of the city. Get down to street level, however, and the laneways, wet markets and traditional Chinese haunts are a reminder that beyond the city lies a working class populace still making ends meet the old fashioned way – and often the hard way.

It’s also worth remembering, of course, that there’s far more to Hong Kong than the city itself. Its natural attractions include hiker-friendly ranges, volcanic landscapes, pristine woodlands, sleepy islands, protected marine parks and miles of golden beaches.

Travel Advice

This travel advice covers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). For mainland China, see travel advice for China and for Macao SAR, see Macao travel advice.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice

Dual Chinese-British nationality

Hong Kong does not recognise dual nationality. If you have both British and Chinese nationality, you may be treated as a Chinese citizen by local authorities, even if you enter Hong Kong on your British passport. If this is the case, the British Consulate-General may not be able to offer you consular help.    

If you have formally renounced Chinese citizenship, carry evidence that you have done so.

See guidance on nationality in China

Before you travel 

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

Travel insurance 

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in Hong Kong set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact Hong Kong’s Economic and Trade Office in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Hong Kong.

You may have to pass a temperature check when you arrive.

Passport validity requirements

Your passport must be valid for at least one month after the date you plan to leave Hong Kong.

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen.

Visa requirements

Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, but it is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) with its own immigration controls.

You can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa. For information on entry requirements see the Hong Kong SAR government website.

To stay longer (to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons) you must get a visa. For further information contact the nearest Chinese mission with visa issuing facilities or the Hong Kong Immigration Department.   

Vaccination requirements

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s Hong Kong guide.

Depending on your circumstances, this may include a yellow fever certificate.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of Hong Kong.  

You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. Children aged 3 and over must follow the same rules as adult travellers unless otherwise stated.

Bringing restricted items into Hong Kong

It’s illegal for visitors arriving in Hong Kong International Airport to carry items including:

  • stun guns
  • objects with sharp points or edges (for example, samurai swords)
  • martial arts equipment (for example, knuckledusters)

You could be fined or given a prison sentence. See further information from the Hong Kong Police Force.

Electronic cigarettes

It’s illegal to bring electronic cigarettes or other smoking products, such as heated tobacco products and herbal cigarettes, into Hong Kong. If you are travelling through Hong Kong and do not pass immigration control, you’re exempt. See further information from the Hong Kong Police Force.

Powdered baby formula

There are restrictions on the amount of powdered baby formula allowed to be taken out of Hong Kong. If you do not follow the rules, you could face a fine or imprisonment for up to 2 years.

See more information, including exemptions, from the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad

Terrorism in Hong Kong

Terrorist attacks in Hong Kong cannot be ruled out.

Political situation

Protests and civil unrest

Between 2019 and 2020, large-scale political demonstrations took place in Hong Kong, including popular tourist areas. There were some violent clashes between police and protesters.

Protests are rare but could take place at any time. If you are near a demonstration, follow the advice of local authorities and move away to a safe place.


Protecting your belongings

Violent crime is low but pickpocketing and other street crime can happen. Take extra care of passports, credit cards and money in crowded areas and when checking in and out of hotels.

If you plan to hike in Hong Kong’s country parks, stay on the marked trails and do not carry valuables.

Sexual assault

Personal attacks, including sexual assaults, are rare but do happen, including by drink spiking. Do not leave drinks unattended and do not accept drinks from strangers. Women travelling alone, or with other females, could be at greater risk. See advice for women travelling abroad.

Laws and cultural differences

National security laws

The 2020 National Security Law (NSL) includes offences, such as:

  • secession
  • subversion
  • organisation and perpetration of terrorist activities
  • collusion with a foreign country

The 2024 Safeguarding National Security Ordinance includes offences, such as:

  • treason
  • sedition
  • unlawful disclosure of state secrets
  • external interference endangering national security

The law can be interpreted broadly and some offences can lead to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Individuals and organisations can be prosecuted.

The national security laws apply to activities taking place inside and outside Hong Kong, including in the UK. The national security laws apply to all individuals regardless of nationality or residency.

Hong Kong’s National Security Police have issued arrest warrants and financial rewards against individuals living outside Hong Kong, including in the UK under the 2020 National Security Law.

You could be detained or removed to mainland China for some offences under the 2020 National Security Law.

Criticising the government

Some people have been prosecuted for publishing or supporting statements that are critical of the Hong Kong or Chinese authorities, including online. You could also be prosecuted for supporting individuals who are considered to be breaking the national security laws.

Immigration Ordinance

The Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance came in force in 2021. Under this law, people could be stopped from leaving the Hong Kong SAR. However, the Hong Kong SAR Government has said that these powers will only be used to stop certain asylum seekers from entering Hong Kong.

Public offences

You can be fined on the spot for littering and spitting.

Wildlife, animal products and souvenirs

The import and re-export of all elephant ivory and its products, including tourist souvenirs, is illegal. You could be fined or given a prison sentence.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Do not become involved with illegal drugs of any kind. This includes cannabidiol (CBD). Possession of drugs can lead to a prison sentence.

Using cameras in secure areas

Do not take photographs of military installations.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are visiting, you can drive in Hong Kong with a valid UK driving licence for up to 12 months.

If you are living in Hong Kong, see the Hong Kong SAR Transport Department for information on applying for a full or temporary driving licence.

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience, a higher minimum age and holding an international driving permit. Check requirements with the car hire company before you travel.

Extreme weather and natural disasters


See extreme weather and natural hazards for information about how to prepare, and how to react if there is a warning.

Typhoon season runs from April to October in Hong Kong and may cause flooding and landslides. Follow any local warnings issued in advance. Public offices will shut down when there is ‘Typhoon 8’ storm signal.

Monitor local news and check the World Meteorological Organization and Hong Kong Observatory.

Before you travel check that: 

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need 
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation 

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant. 

Emergency medical number 

Call 999 and ask for an ambulance. 

Contact your insurance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Vaccinations and health risks 

At least 8 weeks before your trip check: 


The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. 

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad

Healthcare facilities in Hong Kong

FCDO has a list of English-speaking doctors in Hong Kong.

There is also guidance on healthcare if you’re living in Hong Kong.

Medical treatment is expensive in Hong Kong. You can only get prescribed medication through a doctor, unless your UK prescription specifically says the medication will be required in Hong Kong.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Hong Kong

Telephone: 999 (ambulance, fire, police)

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you’re in Hong Kong and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Consulate-General.

You can also contact FCDO online.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.