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India Raises Irksome Issue of New Visa Regulations with Hong Kong

September 2017, 13
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The External Affairs Ministry of India has come strongly regarding the visa and immigration policies and said that countries must facilitate exchanges among people, and desist from creating extra hurdles.

It took up the issue with Hong Kong authorities, regarding the additional layer requirements, as a security measure, where pre-arrival registration, has been made compulsory for grant of visas to travelers from India. This was a surprise and unknown feature to many of them.

Hong Kong is a hub and attracts several tourists and businessmen from India. 4 lakh people traveled to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region during 2016. 

In the recent past, the immigration rules of HKSAR stipulated that Indian nationals, who desire to stay in Hong Kong, for a period of 14 days, had to obtain the visa. Indians who visited Hong Kong for a period less than 14 days, on tours and similar purposes, were given free visa-on-arrival.

The New rules were promulgated on January 23rd, 2017 when Hong Kong introduced, an additional layer of scrutiny for Indians, who wished to benefit from the visa-free entry, for a period below 14 days.

This extra layer of scrutiny is compulsory pre-arrival registration. This, calls for Indians who wish to enter Hong Kong to complete an On-Line Pre-Arrival Registration and obtain visa-on-arrival now. Others are required to obtain prior visas, before their arrival in Hong Kong.

Indians having a passport with minimum validity of six months are in a position to pre-register online for the security clearance. This registration has a validity of six-month. There are exemptions for valid diplomatic/official passport holders, and also the persons who are on the roll for being frequent visitors.

India has conveyed to Hong Kong that there were increased people and business ties, and hence it was important, that visa and immigration authorities, came forward to help the exchanges, and remove any additional hurdles.

An official explained through the diplomatic channels that, on the contrary, India had a liberalized visa system, for the citizens of HKSAR, and there was an online visa process in place. The additional hurdles were bothering and troublesome for Indian travelers he added. 

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