Hong Kong has relaxed most of its Covid-19 regulations, including dropping the vaccination requirement to enter restaurants and other venues, and mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for international arrivals.

Hong Kong International Airport plane flight travel
Hong Kong International Airport. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

But the mask mandate remains in place as the city seeks to resume quarantine-free travel with China next month, and unvaccinated non-residents are still denied entry.

Here is what you need to know about Hong Kong’s latest boarding arrangements if you are visiting from overseas. Last update: 29/12/2022

Do I need to do a PCR test before my flight?

No. Instead, you need to obtain a negative result from any over-the-counter rapid antigen test (RAT) conducted within 24 hours before your scheduled flight to Hong Kong. Take a photo of the test with your full name and the date and time it was taken written on the test cartridge. Some airlines will ask to see this when you check in.

Hong Kong authorities advise travellers to keep the photo of their test result for 90 days in case government personnel request proof.

Hong Kong International Airport Covid-19 arrival travel
Hong Kong International Airport. File photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

The pre-departure PCR test requirement was scrapped in September, when the Hong Kong government also axed its controversial Covid-19 hotel quarantine requirement for inbound travellers, more than two years after the policy was first put in place.

The measure has been blamed for undermining the city’s international status and contributing to an exodus of talent.

What is the vaccination requirement for boarding a flight to Hong Kong?

Non-Hong Kong residents aged 12 or above are still required to have been “fully vaccinated” to enter the city, or they must obtain a medical exemption certificate before flying to Hong Kong.

Details of how many doses qualifies as full vaccination for each brand of Covid-19 vaccine can be found here.

covid-19 coronavirus vaccine
Coronavirus vaccination in Hong Kong. Photo: GovHK.

This requirement does not apply to Hong Kong residents.

Do I have to do PCR tests after arriving in Hong Kong?

No. The Hong Kong government lifted all PCR testing requirements on inbound persons, including an on-arrival test at the airport – considered day zero – and a subsequent test on day two.

People are advised to test themselves everyday with self-arranged RAT kits from the day of their arrival until the fifth day after arriving in the city. However, the results of these tests do not need to be reported to the government, as was previously required.

Do I still need to obtain a provisional Vaccine Pass?

No. The Vaccine Pass scheme, which had required people to provide proof of vaccination before entering premises such as restaurants and bars in city, was dropped on Thursday. As a result, the authorities also ceased the arrangement for inbound travellers to obtain a Provisional Vaccine Pass.

RAT rapid test covid-19
A Covid-19 rapid antigen test. File photo: Brett Jordan, via Flickr.

What about the LeaveHomeSafe app?

The mandatory use of the government-developed LeaveHomeSafe contact-tracing app ended on December 15, meaning members of the public may access venues without the app.

What happens if I test positive for Covid-19 after arrival?

Inbound travellers who test positive for Covid-19 upon arrival will be handled the same way as local cases. Subject to your living environment, you could be sent to a government isolation facility or undergo quarantine at home.

If you tested positive on a RAT, you should report your case to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) via the Declaration System for individuals tested positive for Covid-19 using Rapid Antigen Test.

If you tested positive on a PCR test, you should report your case to the CHP via the Online Submission of Information to Centre for Health Protection for Covid-19 Patients.

Are there still other Covid restrictions in Hong Kong?

Mask-wearing remains mandatory in Hong Kong, although you may remove your mask in country parks or when you are exercising in outdoor public areas.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.