Reciprocal deal gives business travelers faster border clearance

17 Oct 14

HONG KONG, SINGAPORE

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? In a reciprocal agreement, Singapore and Hong Kong will allow eligible travelers to enroll in each other’s automated border clearance systems.

What does the change mean? The arrangement will streamline border procedures for eligible travelers.

  • Implementation timeframe: Thepolicy took effect Sept. 22.
  • Visas/permits affected: Potentially all visas.
  • Who is affected: The automated systems are available to Singapore passport holders and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport holders who meet other criteria.
  • Impact on processing times: Automated systems will significantly shorten border clearance procedures.
  • Business impact: Theagreement will ease business travel and reduce the waiting time upon arrival.

Background: Hong Kong SAR passport holders age 11 and older can enroll in Singapore’s enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System as long as they have visited Singapore at least three times in the preceding 12 months, are in good standing with Singaporean authorities and their passport is valid for at least six months. Parents must accompany applicants 17 years old and younger when applying.

Hong Kong SAR has imposed similar criteria for Singapore passport holders to enroll in Hong Kong’s e-Channel service, except that applicants who have not visited Hong Kong SAR three or more times in the past 12 months may still be eligible for e-Channel if they hold a SAR Travel Pass, APEC Business Travel Card with “HKG” printed on the back, a Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) Frequent Visitor Card, or a frequent-flyer program membership card issued by airlines that have joined the Frequent Visitor scheme.

BAL Analysis: Frequent business travelers will benefit from automated clearance at the airports and removal of long waits upon arrival and departure.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact singapore@balglobal.com.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.