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Hong Kong executives predict easier family travel with new mainland permit



Hong Kong executives predict easier family travel with new mainland permit

“Immigration procedures going to China, despite ‘one country, two systems’, can be time-consuming,” Lalvani said, referring to the principle governing ties between the city and the central government.

“This new multi-entry permit will make that much quicker, and therefore trips, especially to Guangdong province, become much easier to do without too much planning.”

The businessman said he hoped to take day trips and weekend getaways to the southern mainland once the permit was issued, anticipating spending less time at border checkpoints.

Singaporean Lim Bee Seng, senior executive director at brokerage firm UOB KayHian, is an Apec business travel card holder, which he said allowed him to skip the line while passing through immigration checkpoints.

Lim said he uses the Apec card for business travel to the mainland at least once a month, but the benefits did not extend to his loved ones.

Businesspeople who have been granted pre-clearance under the Apec card can enter the mainland without a visa and stay for up to 60 days, according to the National Immigration Administration.

“I will make sure that my wife and my children apply [for the mainland travel permit] so that everyone can go through the immigration faster and we don’t have to wait for each other,” Lim said.

“I remember queuing for more than an hour when we went to Shenzhen for the weekends.”

Residents line up at the CTS service centre in Mong Kok. Photo: Sam Tsang

The Immigration Department said it has received about 10,000 applications for the “Notice of Application for Access to Information”, a special certificate needed when applying for the permit.

The department said it had allocated additional staff to work overtime to help ensure it could issue residents with the notice within 10 days.

The notice is one of several documents applicants need to obtain the travel permit issued by China Travel Service (Hong Kong).

The Immigration Department received about 10,000 requests for the notice between July 1, when the new permits were announced, and Wednesday.

The permits allow non-Chinese permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macau to visit the mainland for short-term purposes such as investment, family trips, tourism, business, seminars and exchanges, multiple times over a period of up to five years.

Permit holders can stay for up to 90 days on each trip and use self-service machines at border crossings once they have their fingerprints taken at a port of entry.

As of June, there were about 270,000 non-Chinese Hong Kong permanent residents.

The notice of application for access to information proves permanent residency status and nationality information. It is valid for six months.

Candidates must also fill out an application form for the permit and include a photo of themselves taken within the past six months.

Applicants are required to present their Hong Kong permanent resident identity card, a passport valid for at least six months and a nationality certificate.

Additional reporting by Jess Ma

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