Over 900,000 HKSAR Passports Left to Expire During COVID-19 Pandemic
by: The Beat Asia
July 14, 2022
The Immigration Department has tallied up over 900,000 HKSAR passports that have expired without renewal since 2020. As talks of loosening quarantine requirements and lifting flight bans continue in the city, Immigration Department assistant director Fan Hiu-sing encourages citizens to pay attention to the validity of their passports and schedule a renewal if they are planning to travel.
Fan believes that the unusually high number is due to limited opportunities for travel outside of Hong Kong during the pandemic. It is estimated that compared to pre-pandemic statistics, the total amount of expired passports recorded has roughly doubled.
Anticipating large waves of passport renewal appointments, the Immigration Department has launched two mobile application stations that are due to process a total of up to 4,000 applications a day. Applicants will only need to bring along their identity cards and can use the in-station devices to file a virtual application before taking a new passport photo on site. The entire procedure only takes around 10 minutes to perform, and applicants will be able to collect their renewed documents five working days later.
Noting that most countries require inbound visitors to show passports that are still valid for at least six months, Fan urges eager travellers to schedule a renewal early stating that “There may be swarms of applications later on and their trip may be affected.” The stations will be active until September, whereupon they will be evaluated for their efficiency.
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