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Hong Kong - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Demonstrations occasionally occur in Hong Kong, sometimes on short notice. Though they are usually conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner, some have occasionally turned violent. Monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities. Avoid areas where demonstrations or large gatherings are being held and exercise caution at all times.
The crime rate in Hong Kong is relatively low. Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs, especially at the airport, on public transportation and in main tourist shopping areas, hotel lobbies and crowded streets. Bags left unattended are likely to be stolen. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Robberies, some targeting foreigners, have occurred in the shopping and entertainment districts in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, located across the border from Hong Kong in mainland China’s Guangdong province. Be extremely vigilant while in Shenzhen, and travel with a friend or in a group. Carry copies of passports and other identification and a small supply of cash separate from your other personal belongings.
Foreigners have been targeted in incidents of drink spiking, which is often combined with theft or credit card fraud. Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers, and pay careful attention when drinks are being prepared and served.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula
Tensions on the neighbouring Korean Peninsula could escalate with little notice and the security situation could deteriorate suddenly. Tensions may increase before, during and after North Korean nuclear and missile tests, military exercises or as the result of incidents or military activities at or near the inter-Korean border. Monitor developments, remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities. We strongly recommend that Canadians register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive latest updates.
Traffic is congested in urban areas. Roads are narrow and frequently unmarked. Public transportation is widely available. Taxi drivers speak little or no English; you should therefore have your destination written in Chinese.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Learn more about foreign domestic airlines.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Chinese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Hong Kong, which must be valid for at least one month beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Tourist visa: Not required (for stays of up to 90 days)
Business visa: Not required (for stays of up to 90 days)
Student visa: Required
Canadians travelling to mainland China via Hong Kong must obtain a Chinese visa before arrival. Canadian travellers who are not Hong Kong residents should seek information from the nearest Chinese embassy or consulate and apply for entry visas before leaving Canada. Canadian residents in Hong Kong are encouraged to seek detailed information from the Office of the Commissioner of China’s foreign ministry in Hong Kong. Travellers entering Hong Kong from mainland China and then leaving Hong Kong via the mainland should have a visa for that re-entry. Consult Travel Advice and Advisories for China for more information regarding travel to mainland China.
All travellers are subject to body temperature screening upon entry into Hong Kong.
An airport departure tax of HKD120 and a ferry embarkation tax of HKD19 are normally included in the price of a plane ticket to or from Hong Kong. Confirm these taxes are included with your air carrier.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Middle East - August 1, 2017 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Eastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that mainly affects infants and children. Travellers are at increased risk if visiting or living in overcrowded conditions. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against this disease.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Good medical care is widely available. Private hospitals may require confirmation of insurance coverage, guarantee of payment or an up-front deposit before admitting patients.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
Hong Kong has strict laws regarding weapons and items that may be used as weapons. You are liable for prosecution when transiting through Hong Kong International Airport if you have items such as knuckledusters, extendable batons, live ammunition or stunning devices in your carry-on or checked bags.
Taking photographs of military installations is strongly discouraged. Cameras may be confiscated.
Traffic drives on the left.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
Drivers involved in an accident are tested for alcohol consumption and may face prosecution if they exceed the legal limit (blood alcohol concentration of 0.05).
The use of a cellular phone while driving is strictly prohibited unless the phone is fitted with a hands-free device.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in China.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of China, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
Learn more about travel as a dual citizen.
While dual citizenship is not legally recognized in mainland China, Hong Kong authorities recognize dual citizenship under the “one country, two systems” framework. In accordance with the bilateral agreement between Canada and Hong Kong SAR, local authorities advise Canadian consular officials in Hong Kong when Canadian citizens are arrested or detained, and also provide them with consular access to these Canadian citizens. You are encouraged to advise local authorities of your Canadian citizenship if you are detained or arrested.
Canadians who were born in Hong Kong must declare their Canadian citizenship to the Hong Kong Immigration Department for their Canadian citizenship to be recognized by local authorities. If this declaration is not made, local authorities may consider such individuals to be Chinese. For further information, contact the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
The currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD). Foreign currency and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at banks and hotels. U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques are recommended. Credit cards are widely accepted. Automated banking machines are widely available.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Typhoons and monsoon
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from May to October. Typhoons usually occur between April and October. Local authorities are very effective at disseminating information about upcoming storms to the public, in order to reduce the risks to both citizens and tourists. Severe rainstorms have occasionally caused flooding and landslides, resulting in loss of life and damage to infrastructure. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and follow the advice of local authorities.
Dial 999 for emergency assistance.
Hong Kong - Consulate General of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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