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Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) since July 1, 1997, has a high degree of autonomy, except in the areas of defense and foreign policy, and retains its own currency, laws, and border controls.  It is composed of three geographic areas: the New Territories, Kowloon Peninsula, and Hong Kong Island.  Hong Kong SAR is cosmopolitan and highly developed.  Tourist facilities and services are widely available.  The Hong Kong SAR Government web site provides Hong Kong Fact Sheets on a comprehensive range of subjects.  Read the Department of State Background Notes on Hong Kong  for additional information.

Hong Kong

   
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Image of Hong Kong
 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Hong Kong SAR
Continent: Asia
Capital City: Hong Kong
Boundary Countries: China
Recommended Hospitals in Capital:
Main Cities:
Country Size: 1,104.3 sq km
Population: 7.0 million

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Cantonese and English

Currency: Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
Predominant Religions:
National Holidays:
Economic Status:

Hong Kong is one of the world's most open and dynamic economies. Hong Kong per capita GDP is comparable to other developed countries. In 2008 Hong Kong’s real economic growth slipped to 2.5% as a result of the global financial turmoil. External trade, a significant part of Hong Kong’s economy, was severely hit as Hong Kong’s major trading partners fell into recession in the second half of the year. Domestic demand also slackened amidst declining asset prices and increasing unemployment. The unemployment rate surged to 4.6% in November 2008-January 2009, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2006. The Hong Kong Government announced it would tap its significant fiscal reserves to fund an economic stimulus package to reinvigorate the economy. The surplus for fiscal year 2008-2009 was estimated at $620.3 million or 0.3% of GDP.

Security:
US Presence:

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Hong Kong SAR are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate at the Department of State travel registration page , so that they can obtain updated information on local travel and security.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.  Registration is important; it allows the State Department to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency. 

Local consulate information is available below and at the Department of State list of embassies and consulates .

U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong & Macau
26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong
Telephone: 852-2841-2211, 852-2841-2225, 852-2841-2323 (Direct lines to American Citizen Services during regular business hours)
Emergency after-hours telephone: 852-2841-9011
Facsimile: 852-2845-4845

Document Requirements:

A passport with a minimum of one-month validity after the period of intended stay, adequate funds to cover stay without working and evidence of onward/return transportation are required.  Because many neighboring areas require six months validity remaining on the passport, U.S. citizens planning travel beyond Hong Kong should ensure that their passports are valid for at least six months from the date of their proposed entry into such areas.  A visa is not required for tourist visits of up to 90 days by U.S. citizens.  An extension of stay may be granted upon application to the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department.  Visas are required to work or study in Hong Kong.  Visit the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department or the Embassy of the People's Republic of China website  for the most current visa information.

Hong Kong has instituted procedures for border authorities to screen for the possibility of influenza among passengers on arriving international flights.  Arriving travelers will be required to submit a health declaration form and pass through a thermal-scanning checkpoint.  Temperature readings are then taken from fixed-position infrared monitors that do not make any contact with the traveler.  Travelers to Hong Kong found to have a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher or who exhibit mild flu symptoms will be briefly assessed and advised to seek medical consultation from public clinics or hospitals if symptoms become severe.  Only seriously ill patients will be admitted to hospitals.

U.S. citizens should obtain all required visas prior to departing the United States.  Specifically, U.S. citizens wishing to travel to the PRC from Hong Kong require a PRC visa and should apply at the PRC embassy or consulate where they reside.  Parents whose children hold U.S. passports should be aware that the PRC Visa Office may require certified birth certificates or other documentation for these children.  Persons applying in Hong Kong for PRC visas for U.S.-born children have been unable to obtain PRC visas without the certified U.S. birth certificate.  Parents should consider bringing their children’s certified birth certificates if applying for a PRC visa in Hong Kong.  Further information on travel to and around the PRC is available in our China Country Specific Sheet .

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Hong Kong SAR.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Major Airports:
Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Hong Kong has a low crime rate.  Even so, travelers should exercise caution when in congested areas and pay particular attention to personal belongings while in crowded markets and while traveling on public transportation.  Violent crime, though rare, does occur.

Typhoons:  During the storm season (July through September), the Hong Kong Observatory issues typhoon warnings on an average of six times and heavy rainstorm alerts more frequently.  The Hong Kong Observatory has a good notification and monitoring system in place.  General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Please be advised that if Typhoon Signal 8 or above or Black Rainstorm Warning is announced by the Hong Kong Government, the Consulate General will be closed.  Additional information on typhoon and storm preparedness may be found in the Hurricane Season-Know Before You Go pamphlet, and on the Natural Disasters page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website.

Mortality Statistics:
Immunization Indicators:

Required:  None
Recommended:  Hep A & B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis
Boosters:  MMR, DPT, as needed

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Dengue, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, leishmaniasis, and plague are diseases carried by insects that also occur in East Asia. Tickborne encephalitis occurs in forested regions in northeastern China and in South Korea. Protecting yourself against insect bites (see below) will help to prevent these diseases.

Respiratory infections (origins often undefined) are common in travelers to East Asia.

Measles remains endemic in the region, and infection has occurred in adopted children from China and in travelers to the region.  Influenza may occur during all months of the year.

Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in East Asian countries. Schistosomiasis (Schistosoma japonicum) is present in focal areas in China, especially in the Yangtze River basin. Leptospirosis is a risk, especially in tropical areas of China and South Korea.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Good medical facilities are available, and there are many Western-trained physicians in Hong Kong.  Prescription drugs are widely available, although they may have different names than those in the U.S.  Hong Kong emergency service response times for police, fire and ambulances are good.  Doctors and hospitals require immediate cash payment for health services and generally do not accept credit cards.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 15
Referrals: 37
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Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Hong Kong authorities continue to deal with the H1N1 Outbreak.  In Hong Kong, individuals who are experiencing flu symptoms may go to one of the Hong Kong government's designated flu clinics to be tested for the H1N1 virus.  Only high risk groups (pregnant women, elderly, etc.) will receive Tamiflu and only seriously ill patients will be admitted to hospitals.

The H5N1 virus (“avian flu”) has been found in poultry and wild birds in Hong Kong, including most recently in December 2008 when the Hong Kong SAR Government responded by setting the alert level for Avian Influenza (AI) to “serious.”  While rare, human infection and death from H5N1 infection have been reported.  Most reported cases of human infection with H5N1 viruses have occurred after contact with H5N1-infected poultry or birds, but a small number of cases may have occurred following close and prolonged contact with another person who is visibly ill from H5N1 infection.  Further information about avian influenza is available from our Avian Flu Fact Sheet, from the U.S. avian/pandemic flu website and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +852
Internet Country Code:  .hk

 



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