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Can anyone enter Hong Kong without a visa?

Discuss international visas, immigration and citizenship issues.

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Can anyone enter Hong Kong without a visa?

Postby Winston » April 4th, 2013, 9:07 pm

Dianne told me that her mom just went to Hong Kong for vacation without a visa. So apparently, you don't need a visa there. She suggested that I take her to Hong Kong too. Is that true? Can anyone, including Filipinos, just visit Hong Kong without a visa? If so, why?
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Postby Cornfed » April 4th, 2013, 9:48 pm

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Postby smallcheese » April 5th, 2013, 8:37 pm

Anyone from the Philippines can visit Hong Kong on a tourist visa. You are automatically given 14 days to stay and visit. Once the 14 days are up, you have to leave Hong Kong. Some Filipino tourists extend their stay by going to Macau and then come back into Hong Kong, which can be done within a few hours. This gives you another 14 days. But if the Immigration Department sees you doing this too often, they may stop it and bar you from visiting again.
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Postby Winston » April 9th, 2013, 8:13 pm

I don't understand something. If anyone can get a visa to Hong Kong, then how come millions of people from third world countries aren't flooding there to live and work? Isn't that what the US government is afraid of if it allows everyone from any country to get a tourist visa? How does Hong Kong get away with it?
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Postby momopi » April 9th, 2013, 10:04 pm

Winston wrote:I don't understand something. If anyone can get a visa to Hong Kong, then how come millions of people from third world countries aren't flooding there to live and work? Isn't that what the US government is afraid of if it allows everyone from any country to get a tourist visa? How does Hong Kong get away with it?


Being able to visit HK as a tourist/visitor, VISA-free for couple weeks is not the same as "anyone can get a VISA", or "anyone can get a work permit / work VISA".
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Postby Rock » April 10th, 2013, 2:12 am

Winston wrote:I don't understand something. If anyone can get a visa to Hong Kong, then how come millions of people from third world countries aren't flooding there to live and work? Isn't that what the US government is afraid of if it allows everyone from any country to get a tourist visa? How does Hong Kong get away with it?


Well, certain areas and buildings on lower Nathan Rd. in Tsim Tsa Tsui are literally full of sub-saharan Africans and people from the Indian sub-continent.
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Postby smallcheese » April 10th, 2013, 7:28 am

If people are coming on tourist visas that are 14 days or less, it's very difficult to find a job that quickly in Hong Kong. To work in Hong Kong, you need a work visa which means your employer has to sponsor you with the Immigration Dept. As you can imagine, finding a job and then convincing an employer to sponsor you in less than 2 weeks is not an easy thing to do. In addition, the cost to rent or buy a place to live is astronomical compared to other cities around the world. So one would need a high paying job to have any chance of finding a decent place to live in Hong Kong.

Not that people don't try doing this. Filipinas try this all the time but the only jobs they usually find are as domestic helpers, which pays minimum wage. But it's not easy to find something in less than 2 weeks. If you're lucky enough to find something, you have to sign an employment contract for 2 years that basically makes you an indentured servant, usually working 6 days a week, 12-14 hours a day and maybe one day off every 2 weeks.

Hong Kong still consists of over 95% people of Chinese descent. So if you don't look Chinese, it's very easy to pick you out from a crowd. I can tell you that the Hong Kong police force conducts identity checks throughout Hong Kong on anyone who looks like they aren't there legally. The police can pull anyone off the street, no questions asked. Racial profiling? Of course, the police do that! It's a great way to screen people out. They also use that technique to catch Mainland Chinese from staying in Hong Kong illegally. I always see the police stopping people on the street near MTR stations who look or talk like a mainland Chinese person. It's actually very easy to separate mainland Chinese people from the native Cantonese people.
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Postby Winston » April 10th, 2013, 8:45 pm

momopi wrote:
Winston wrote:I don't understand something. If anyone can get a visa to Hong Kong, then how come millions of people from third world countries aren't flooding there to live and work? Isn't that what the US government is afraid of if it allows everyone from any country to get a tourist visa? How does Hong Kong get away with it?


Being able to visit HK as a tourist/visitor, VISA-free for couple weeks is not the same as "anyone can get a VISA", or "anyone can get a work permit / work VISA".


Then why doesn't the US grant tourist visas to everyone too, including Filipinos? What's the difference here? Isn't it because many poor immigrants would end up staying illegally, treating the tourist visa as an immigrant visa? This is why the US won't allow most Filipinos to get a tourist visa.

So why the difference?

And since Hong Kong is part of China, why does it have different visa laws?
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Postby momopi » April 10th, 2013, 11:50 pm

Winston wrote:
momopi wrote:
Winston wrote:I don't understand something. If anyone can get a visa to Hong Kong, then how come millions of people from third world countries aren't flooding there to live and work? Isn't that what the US government is afraid of if it allows everyone from any country to get a tourist visa? How does Hong Kong get away with it?

Being able to visit HK as a tourist/visitor, VISA-free for couple weeks is not the same as "anyone can get a VISA", or "anyone can get a work permit / work VISA".


Then why doesn't the US grant tourist visas to everyone too, including Filipinos? What's the difference here? Isn't it because many poor immigrants would end up staying illegally, treating the tourist visa as an immigrant visa? This is why the US won't allow most Filipinos to get a tourist visa.
So why the difference?
And since Hong Kong is part of China, why does it have different visa laws?


1. Again, being able to visit a country VISA-free is not the same as "anyone can get a VISA" or "granting tourist VISA's to everyone". If you're on the VISA waiver list, then you don't need a tourist VISA.
https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/WebHelp/E ... Help_1.htm

2. The US Department of Homeland Security is responsible for reviewing countries for the VISA waiver program and such. If you have questions, feel free to ask them directly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_Waiver_Program
http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/witho ... ml#joinvwp

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Briti ... eclaration
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