With my frequent travels, I’m always looking to save time spent at the airport. In the U.S., I take part in the TSA Pre-Check program and the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Network. They have saved me countless hours from very long lines; getting quickly through security on my way to board my flights and coming back in to the country when I’ve been abroad. So this week I was happy to see, and sign-up for, Hong Kong’s e-Channel.
e-Channel, also known as The Automated Passenger Clearance System, is Hong Kong’s version of the U.S.’s Global Entry. Its purpose is to speed up the immigration process for residents of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as frequent visitors. The requirements to qualify are:
- Aged 18 or above;
- Holding a valid travel document and where appropriate, valid multiple visit visa;
- Holding one of the following documents:
- HKSAR Travel Pass;
- APEC Business Travel Card with “HKG” printed on the reverse side;
- Hong Kong International Airport Frequent Visitor Card;
- Frequent Flyer Programme membership card issued by airlines which have joined this scheme.
- For passengers not holding the documents in item 3:
- Holding valid travel document which is not required to have entry visa/permit for entering HKSAR;
- Have made visits to the HKSAR by air via Hong Kong International Airport for no less than 3 times in the past 12 months immediately before enrollment for the e-Channel service.
- No adverse record in the HKSAR
My United Star Alliance Gold Card helped me meet these requirements. I saw the signs and brochures for e-Channel on my entry into Hong Kong and decided to sign up (this decision was reinforced when I saw the long line to get through Passport Control). My husband arrived into Hong Kong the week before I did and it was his Delta Diamond card that qualified him.
To apply, I unfortunately had to go through the long Passport Control line one last time. But once through, I found the enrollment office. There was a bit of a queue of people waiting to sign up, but the process moved fairly quickly (about 5 minutes per person). The enrollment officer photocopied my United frequent flyer card, took my photo, did scans of my index fingers, attached a barcode sticker to the back of my passport, and I was done! My next trips into Hong Kong will be much quicker.
For more information, see these websites:
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