In 2017, a pre-arrival registration process was introduced for Indians visiting Hong Kong, which requires Indian passport holders to fill up an online form before visiting Hong Kong, get an automatically approved pre-clearance before arriving in Hong Kong. The pre-clearance allows them to stay visa-free for a maximum of 14 days. While this is a hassle-free process, it still means that one has to queue up in immigration lines that sometimes take up to 30-40 minutes.
During my last few trips to Hong Kong, I figured out a quicker process to get through. The e-Channel service allowed me to skip the immigration queues and walk through the e-channel gates by just swiping the passport. A benefit of being a JetPrivilege elite is that Jet Airways has joined the e-channel service for frequent visitors. This means that all JetPrivilege Platinum members are eligible for e-Channel. Here is the complete list of everyone eligible via JetPrivilege.
The smartest way I’ve used my airline status is to get #HongKong pre-arrival registration. No more standing in long immigration queues. Took me 5 mins on arrival to swipe my passport and walk through and now departures was a breeze too. #traveltips
— Shipra Baranwal (@ShipraAtALounge) August 30, 2018
How does the e-Channel enrollment work?
To enrol for this service, immediately after clearing my immigration there are two enrollment centres, one to the extreme right and another one to the left. The enrollment centre to the left of the immigration checkpoint is usually open during India flight arrival times from 7:30 am until 11 pm, while the other enrollment centre opens later at 10 am.
I filled out the e-Channel application form and submitted it to the officer. The officer reviewed my form, asked for a physical copy of the JetPrivilege membership card and then asked how often do I plan to visit Hong Kong. I told him that I am currently on a project which will require me to travel frequently to the region. He then filled out a register at his end, pasted a sticker at the back of my passport and gave me an acknowledgement form. All it took was 15 minutes to register for this service. It does not cost anything to enrol in e-Channel service.
Here is the complete sequence of how to register for the e-Channel once you are in Hong Kong.
I travelled to Hong Kong multiple times after enrolling in the e-Channel service. I no longer need to do any pre-arrival registrations. On arrival into Hong Kong, all I have to do is go to the e-channel kiosks, scan the sticker at the back of my passport and verify my fingerprint. A slip is generated, just like the normal channel, that serves as the immigration stamp and allows me to stay in Hong Kong for up to 14 days. On departing from Hong Kong, the process is similar. I use the e-Channel immigration instead of lining up for regular immigration. This is an automated process that takes less than five minutes. Once you are enrolled for the e-Channel, it remains valid until the validity of the passport, and after that, when you arrive in Hong Kong, you can get it transferred to your new passport.
So if you are planning to visit Hong Kong and are an elite member of an airline, it’s worth checking if you are eligible to enrol for the e-Channel service. Apart from this, all flyers who have visited the HKSAR region via the Hong Kong International Airport at least three times in 12 months are eligible for the e-Channel service. You can get more information about it here.
Have you enrolled in Hong Kong’s Frequent Visitor E-Channel? What has been your experience?