Hong Kong ends movement restrictions for international arrivals

Travellers to Hong Kong will enjoy a simplified arrivals process from 14 December, although on-arrival and post-arrival PCR tests remain.

While most of the world has all but done away with COVID restrictions, Hong Kong remains a rare hold out.

Despite a “reopening” of sorts in September, would-be visitors have been subject to an onerous testing regime featuring multiple ART and PCR tests, plus movement restrictions for the first three days. This barred them from restaurants and entertainment venues– you know, the kinds of places tourists might be interested in visiting.

Hong Kong has scrapped movement restrictions for inbound travellers

But now there’s some good news: Hong Kong has announced a further easing in its COVID restrictions, which takes effect from 14 December 2022 onwards.

The main headline is that all post-arrival movement restrictions have been scrapped. Tourists will be free to visit any venue they please as soon as their on-arrival PCR test comes back negative. The LeaveHomeSafe app will no longer be used, but post-arrival testing will continue for now, as will mandatory isolation for confirmed cases.

Hong Kong’s revised entry measures

🇭🇰 Summary: Travel to Hong Kong
From 14 Dec 22
  • Fully vaccinated with a recognised vaccine
    • Not required for Hong Kong residents
    • Children aged below 12 exempt
  • Take pre-departure ART within 24 hours of departure (can be self-administered)
  • Complete Health & Quarantine Information Declaration
  • Take PCR test upon arrival at Hong Kong Airport
    • Can leave airport by any means of transport as soon as sample is taken
    • No isolation necessary
    • Free of charge
  • Take self-administered ART on Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (day of arrival is Day 0)
    • Submit results via the ECMSS
  • Take PCR test on Day 2
  • No mandatory travel insurance requirement

Here’s a brief rundown of Hong Kong’s revised entry measures, which take effect from 14 December 2022. 


As before, Hong Kong continues to require all travellers to be fully vaccinated, unless they are Hong Kong residents. The following vaccinations are recognised:

VaccineDoses Required
Bharat Biotech Covaxin2
Gamaleya Sputnik V2

Children under the age of 12 are currently exempt from the vaccination requirement.

Pre-departure test

Hong Kong requires all travellers to take a pre-departure ART within 24 hours of departure. This can be self-administered, so you basically buy a kit from a pharmacy and swab yourself. 

Health Declaration

Within 96 hours of departure, travellers must complete the online Health & Quarantine Information Declaration. Here’s where they submit information on their vaccination status, pre-departure ART result as well as recent infections, if any. 

On-arrival testing

All arrivals in Hong Kong must take a throat-swabbed PCR test at the airport. This is free of charge. After providing the sample, they can proceed to claim their luggage and head to their accommodation by any mode of transport (i.e. it’s not necessary to wait for a negative result).

Once a negative result is received, they are free to head anywhere they wish in Hong Kong.

Post-arrival testing

All arrivals in Hong Kong must take self-administered ARTs on Days 1-5 (the day of arrival is Day 0). Photographs of results are to be submitted via the ECMSS.

On Day 2, in addition to the self-administered ART, arrivals must take another PCR test. Like the on-arrival test, this is also free of charge. Tests can be booked via this link. 

Masking rules

Hong Kong is not making any changes to its masking rules. Masks will continue to be required both indoors and outdoors, as well as on flights. 

What happens if you test positive?

Novotel Citygate, a designated CIF

Visitors who test positive will be issued a 5-day isolation order. 

Isolation can be carried out at a hotel, but it’s important to check beforehand that your hotel allows in-room isolation. Do note that most hotels will impose a cleaning fee for rooms occupied by a positive case. 

If your hotel does not permit this and you test positive, you will be relocated to a Community Isolation Facility (CIF). The current list of CIFs features:

  • Kai Tak Community Isolation Facility
  • Novotel Citygate Hong Kong
  • Penny’s Bay

You do not have a choice of where you are sent to. 

How does this compare to before?

 Till 13 Dec 2022From 14 Dec 2022
e-Health declarationComplete within 96h of departure
Pre-departure testSelf-ART within 24h of departure
On-arrival testDay 0 PCR (at airport)
Medical SurveillanceAmber Code for 3 daysNone
Post-arrival testsDay 1-7: Self-ART
Day 2: PCR
Day 1-5: Self-ART
Day 2: PCR
*Exceptions for Hong Kong residents, and children aged below 12

Apart from the removal of Day 6 and 7 self-ARTs, the main difference compared to before is the scrapping of Amber Code restrictions for the first three days. Once you receive a negative result from the test done at the airport, you may head anywhere you wish. 

In fact, I do wonder whether this will have any implications for transit passenger lounge access, seeing as how Cathay Pacific currently operates a two-tier system:

  • Passengers originating from Hong Kong or Mainland China use The Wing First Class section
  • All other passengers use The Pier Business Class section

Hopefully the restrictions on comingling at the airport will be removed going forward. 


With movement restrictions gone, will PCR testing be next?

Hong Kong has ended movement restrictions for international arrivals, which removes the need to wait three days before your trip can start in earnest. 

Despite this, the travel process is still a good distance away from pre-COVID norms, with on-arrival and Day 2 PCR testing remaining. It’s a far cry from what tourists going to Taiwan or Japan can expect, even though all three announced their reopening around the same time. 

But hopefully this will be the impetus for Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific to ramp up flights between Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as the Cathay Pacific lounge in Terminal 4. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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James Quek

The on arrival PCR test is still a show-stopper, will not go till all testing requirements lifted.


So “only” 8 tests and masking everywhere including outdoors? Sure it’s simpler than before but c’mon – this is still crazy, nowhere else in the world is doing this!!! Still a hard pass for me until they go back to a real normal.


Rather than saying Hong Kong arrivals will enjoy a simplified arrivals process from 14 December, I think it would be more accurate to say that Hong Kong arrivals will enjoy a marginally less complex process from 14 December.


Lol! Pathetic.

Hong kong zzzzz

Not going until they get rid of PCR tests. If really necessary, pre departure PCR makes more sense than on arrival PCR. I guess the HKG government doesn’t trust anyone.


Lol @ PCR


This is no longer Hong Kong. It is Pooh’s Kong.


“Once a negative result is received, they are free to head anywhere they wish in Hong Kong.” – a bit inaccurate, you are free to head to anywhere BEFORE any test result is received

“All arrivals in Hong Kong must take self-administered ARTs on Days 1-5 (the day of arrival is Day 0). Photographs of results are to be submitted via the ECMSS.” – there is no legal requirement to submit the test result



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