The Immigration Department (ImmD) estimates that around 7.32 million passengers (including Hong Kong residents and visitors) will pass through Hong Kong's sea, land and air control points during the upcoming Lunar New Year festive period (from February 4 to 10). Among them, about 75 per cent, or around 5.47 million passengers, will pass through land boundary control points. The number of outbound passengers will be at its highest on February 6 (Wednesday) with over 454 000 passengers departing Hong Kong, while the number of inbound passengers using land boundary control points will reach its peak on February 7 (Thursday), with around 506 000 passengers arriving in Hong Kong.
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Lo Wu will be the busiest control point, and it is estimated that there will be around 1.69 million passengers, with a daily average of about 242 000 passengers, travelling via this control point during the festive period. The passenger traffic at the Shenzhen Bay and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line control points will also be heavy, with daily average forecasts of about 141 000 and 132 000 passengers respectively.
To cope with the anticipated heavy traffic during the festive period, the ImmD has redeployed additional staff to reinforce various control points and has minimised leave for frontline officers for flexible deployment and operation of extra clearance counters and kiosks. Additional security guards will also be deployed to provide crowd management support.
Furthermore, the ImmD, the Police, the Customs and Excise Department and the MTR Corporation Limited will set up a joint command centre at Lo Wu Control Point to make necessary arrangements. The ImmD will also establish close communication with the Mainland frontier inspection authorities. To ensure smooth passenger traffic flow, passenger conditions will be closely monitored and appropriate traffic diversion plans will be adopted when necessary.
To avoid congestion and a longer than usual waiting time for immigration clearance, the ImmD advises all land boundary passengers to plan in advance and avoid making their journeys during busy periods, and to keep track of radio and TV broadcasts on traffic conditions at the various control points. The expected busy times at boundary control points are available on the website of the ImmD at www.immd.gov.hk. Furthermore, passengers may also check the estimated waiting times of all land boundary control points at any time or place via the Immigration Mobile Application (ImmD Mobile App). They can then plan their trips effectively and save time queuing up at control points. The ImmD Mobile App can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store (supports iOS version 9.0 or above) and Google Play (supports Android version 5.0 or above). The links for downloading can also be found on the ImmD website, www.immd.gov.hk. In addition, information on public transport services to and from various control points is available on the Transport Department website at www.td.gov.hk.
The ImmD will upload daily passenger statistics for the above festive period to its website at www.immd.gov.hk for public reference.
For travellers making journeys to the Mainland, the ImmD reminds them to carry their proof of identity and valid travel documents for crossing the boundary. Hong Kong residents should also check the validity of their Home Visit Permits. Non-permanent residents must carry their valid smart identity card as well as their Document of Identity for Visa Purposes or valid travel document.
Holders of the acknowledgement receipt issued due to reported loss or replacement of their Hong Kong identity cards, or children under 11 years old who hold Hong Kong identity cards, should carry a valid travel document or Re-entry Permit.
About 700 e-Channels have been installed at various control points. Hong Kong residents enrolled for the Express e-Channel should re-enrol if they have been issued with a new identity card. Furthermore, re-enrolment is required for enrolled Mainland visitors holding a booklet-type Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao who have changed their enrolment information, e.g. having renewed their exit endorsement. Eligible Mainland holders of the electronic Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao (e-EEP) can enrol for the e-Channel service by using their e-EEP and undergoing the enrolment process at a traditional entry counter on their first visit to Hong Kong. Eligible Mainland visitors who have renewed their e-EEP have to go through the aforesaid enrolment process again before they can use the e-Channel.
In addition, all control points have introduced self-service departure for visitors to Hong Kong (Smart Departure) which provides greater travel convenience for visitors. The service employs facial recognition technology for identity verification, which allows eligible visitors holding electronic travel documents to perform self-service departure clearance through Smart Departure e-Channels without prior enrolment.