Hong Kong travel advice

Latest updates: Health – editorial update

Last updated: ET

On this page

Risk level

Hong Kong - Exercise a high degree of caution

Exercise a high degree of caution in Hong Kong due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.

Back to top

Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs, particularly:

  • at the airport
  • on public transportation
  • in main shopping areas and markets
  • in hotel lobbies
  • on crowded streets
  • at tourist attractions

Violent crime

Serious crime against foreigners is relatively rare, but incidents may occur.

While in Hong Kong:

  • be vigilant in crowded locations
  • don’t carry large sums of money
  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times

Spiked food and drinks

Foreigners have been targeted in incidents of drink spiking, particularly in the Wan Chai area. Items containing drugs could put you at risk of sexual assault, robbery or credit card fraud.

  • Be cautious of unsolicited requests from strangers
  • Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
  • Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
  • use ATMs located inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overseas fraud

Demonstrations

Demonstrations are illegal without prior approval from the local government. However, unauthorized and spontaneous demonstrations could still occur.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

If you participate in or are witness to a demonstration, you may be subject to scrutiny and severe legal action.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Don’t film or take pictures of demonstrations
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Cyber security

You shouldn’t expect internet privacy. Your communications may be monitored at any time, and authorities may review the content stored or consulted on your electronic devices.

Authorities will be on the lookout for material appearing to be seditious or that is critical of mainland China and local authorities

Cyber security while travelling

Journalism and research

Journalists and other media workers in Hong Kong are now facing certain restrictions in the context of their work.

You should be particularly vigilant if researching or reporting on subjects critical of or sensitive to the government. You may face censorship.

Road safety

Traffic is congested in urban areas. Roads are narrow and frequently unmarked.

Public transportation

Public transportation in Hong Kong is safe and reliable.

Public transportation in Hong Kong - Transport Department of Hong Kong

Taxis

Taxis are widely available. Ride-sharing services are also available.

Most taxi drivers don’t speak English or French. If you don’t speak Chinese, you should arrange for a person to write out your destination in Chinese characters before you go.

  • Use only officially marked taxis or a trusted ride-sharing app
  • Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter, as you may be overcharged

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Back to top

Entry and exit requirements

Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China.

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 the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid at least 1 month beyond the date you expect to leave Hong Kong.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

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

If you plan to visit or transit through mainland China, make sure you obtain a Chinese visa before your trip.

If you plan to travel between Hong Kong, Macao and mainland China, make sure you apply for a visa allowing multiple entries.

Useful links

Screening of digital devices

Border officials may review the content stored or consulted on your electronic devices, particularly at border crossings between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Temperature screening

All travellers are subject to body temperature screening upon entry into Hong Kong.

Latest information for inbound travellers – Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children.

Back to top

Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccinations, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

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.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • 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.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

 

Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Rabies

In this destination, rabies may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain.  It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.

Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:

  • travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
  • making multiple trips to endemic areas
  • staying for extended periods in rural areas
  • visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
  • engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)
Hepatitis B

 Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

Chikungunya

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is a viral disease that can cause fever, pain and bleeding under the skin.  In some cases, it can be fatal.  It spreads to humans through contact with infected animal blood or tissues, or from the bite of an infected tick.  Risk is generally low for most travellers.  Protect yourself from tick bites and avoid animals, particularly livestock.  There is no vaccine available for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

Dengue
  • In this country, risk of dengue is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •  washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis

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 professional.

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.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

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.

Back to top

Laws and 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.

National Security Law

The National Security Law for Hong Kong came into effect in 2020. Activities considered as national security violations are broadly and vaguely defined and include the offences of secession, subversion, organisation and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements that endanger national security. They could include activities that are not considered illegal in Canada and that occurred outside of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong SAR Government has issued arrest warrants for individuals outside of Hong Kong they identified as criminals who committed acts endangering national security. If you are suspected of endangering national security, you may be subject to questioning.

You risk being arbitrarily detained on national security grounds, even while you are transiting through Hong Kong. You could be subject to transfer to mainland China for prosecution. Penalties are severe and include life imprisonment.

Bans and sanctions

The Chinese government may ban or sanction entities or individuals for actions, including oral or written statements, and associations with entities that are critical of:

  • the Communist Party of China
  • the Chinese government
  • Chinese leaders and policies

The Government of the People’s Republic of China does not publicize a list of banned or sanctioned entities or individuals, and the implementation of bans or sanctions remains vague. The effect on individuals associated with banned or sanctioned entities is unknown.

It could include:

  • a ban on travel to mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao
  • freezing of assets
  • prohibition of business or association with Chinese citizens and organizations

If you believe you may be subject of a ban or sanctions, consult a lawyer and contact the closest office of the Government of Canada.

Movement restrictions

On August 1, 2021, the Immigration (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 came into force. Hong Kong authorities may prevent specific individuals from leaving the territory. In the absence of clarifying legislation, these new powers may relate to investigations into an individual, their family or an employer, and criminal and civil matters.

You may not be aware that you are the subject of movement restrictions until you try to leave Hong Kong. It may be difficult to obtain information on movement restrictions from local authorities.

If you’re unable to leave Hong Kong because of restrictions on your movement, consult a lawyer and inform the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong.

Facial recognition and use of video surveillance (CCTV)

Law enforcement agencies may rely on facial recognition technology and video surveillance to police, monitor and control illegal or restricted activities, including participation in demonstrations.

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Prohibited or controlled items

Hong Kong has strict laws regarding the use, importation or exportation of different items, including:

  • firearms and live ammunition
  • items that may be used as weapons, such as knuckledusters, extendable batons or stunning devices
  • e-cigarettes
  • powdered baby formula
  • plant or animal products that could carry disease or pests

Your luggage will be scanned upon entry. You could face legal issues if you carry or try to travel with prohibited items.

Confirm the restrictions with the local authorities before travelling.

Useful links

Photography

Photography of military installations or government buildings may be restricted. Seek permission from local authorities before taking photographs.

Dual citizenship

The Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China applies in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Under this law, dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Hong Kong.

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.

If you are a Canadian dual citizen born in Hong Kong or with current or previous Hong Kong residency, you need to complete a declaration of nationality in order to be treated as a Canadian citizen. Consult the Hong Kong Immigration Department regarding this process.

Useful links

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Hong Kong.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Hong Kong, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Hong Kong court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Hong Kong to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Driving

Traffic drives on the left.

As a tourist, you can use your valid Canadian driver’s licence for up to 12 months. You should carry an international driving permit.

If you are a resident of Hong Kong, you can exchange your Canadian licence for a local one under certain conditions.

Useful links

Money

The currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HKD).

Upon entering or leaving Hong Kong, you must make a declaration to customs if you travel with more than HKD 120,000 or the equivalent in other currencies. The sum can be in cash, cheques, money orders, traveller’s cheques or any other convertible assets.

Declaration of currency and bearer negotiable instruments - Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong

Back to top

Natural disasters and climate

Typhoons and monsoon

The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from May to October. Typhoons usually occur between April and October.

During this period, even small storm can quickly develop into typhoons. These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.

Severe rainstorms have occasionally caused flooding and landslides, resulting in loss of life and damage to infrastructure.

The Hong Kong observatory issues alerts before a significant storm or other meteorological risk.

If you decide to travel to Hong Kong during the rainy season:

  • know that you may expose yourself to safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities

Useful links

Heat and humidity

Humidity and heat are most severe during the hot season, from May to October.

Know the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, both of which can be fatal.

Air pollution

Air pollution can be severe in Hong Kong.

During periods of high pollution:

  • limit outdoor activities
  • monitor local media and air pollution levels
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Air pollution in Hong Kong - World Air Quality Index

Back to top

Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial 999 for emergency assistance.

 Consular assistance

Hong Kong - Consulate General of Canada
Street Address9th Floor, Berkshire House, 25 Westlands Road, Quarry Bay, Hong KongPostal Address9th Floor, Berkshire House, 25 Westlands Road, Quarry Bay, Hong KongTelephone(852) 2867 7348 (this line is not for immigration/visa; ce numéro n'est pas pour l'immigration/visa)Fax(852) 2847 7561Emailhkongcanadaconsul@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-Hong-KongFacebookConsulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and MacaoTwitter@CanCGHongKongOther social mediaCanada in Hong Kong
Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong & Macao
Consular district

Macao

Appointment Book your appointment online

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.

Disclaimer

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, expressed 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.

Date modified: