- Bí an-chúramach
- Seachain taisteal neamhriachtanach
- Ná taistil
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
Latest Travel Alert
While Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR are generally stable societies with low crime rates and underpinned by the rule of law, in recent months Hong Kong has been significantly impacted by periodic outbreaks of social unrest. In addition, both Hong Kong and Macao are currently being impacted by the Wuhan-originated Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Irish citizens travelling to Hong Kong and Macao, therefore, are advised to exercise a high degree of caution, note the following advice and take appropriate precautions.
Social Unrest in Hong Kong
Since June 2019, there has been sustained demonstrations in Hong Kong in pursuit of certain political objectives. While most demonstrations have been peaceful in nature, there has also been incidences of protest-related violence, leading to well-documented violent clashes between protestors and the police. Further details are in the Safety and Security Tab.
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel strand of coronavirus (an influenza/pneumonia-type virus, currently named COVID-19) that first originated in December 2019 in the Chinese Province of Hubei and its Capital City, Wuhan, and has spread to most Chinese provinces. COVID-19 has also spread to a number other countries in the Asia Pacific Region, Europe and North America.
Daily situation reports are published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and are available on https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/. Additional information on the extent of the outbreak is also available on https://pandemic.internationalsos.com/2019-ncov/ncov-locations-with-cases.
The first cases of COVID-19 in both Hong Kong and Macao were confirmed on 22 January 2020. In response to the outbreak in Hong Kong, the Government announced on 25 January 2020 that the response level under the "Preparedness and Response Plan for Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance" would be raised to Emergency Response Level with immediate effect.
The Consulate has met with the Hong Kong Government, are monitoring the updates from the Hong Kong and Macao authorities. Given the impact of SARS in the region, it is not surprising that the authorities in Hong Kong and Macao have moved swiftly to put in place prudent measures to contain the potential spread of COVID-19, including travel restrictions and the closure of schools and public amenities.
As this is an emerging and rapidly evolving situation, we advise that travellers to Hong Kong, Macao and other affected regions follow the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website for more information.
For local information in relation to containment measures for COVID-19, travellers are encourage to consult:
- Macao Health Bureau on http://www.ssm.gov.mo/Portal/csr/en/main.aspx; and
- Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection on https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/102624.html.
We have provided more specific information on good personal health practices in relation to COVID-19 in the Additional Information Tab.
Temporary Travel Restrictions to and between Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and mainland China
Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and mainland China maintain separate customs and immigration boundaries under the “One Country, Two Systems” governance arrangements. Upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, or at a boundary control point, automatic sensors will take your temperature. If it is considered high, you may be required to participate in a health check.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, travel between the three jurisdictions has become increasingly restricted. On 3 February, Hong Kong closed most of the 14 border crossings with mainland China, leaving just the Shenzhen Bay border crossing and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge open, as well as, the Hong Kong International Airport. The Government also announced the suspension of immigration services at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and the Ocean Terminal with effect from 5 February.
The Macao Government is not considering closing any of the eight border checkpoints and considers that border control measures currently being enforced are sufficient, reiterating that citizens should be calm and confident, reassured that there would be no lack of food or any other essential products. The operating hours of the Gongbei Port border crossing, however, have been restricted. The Government, have also encouraged residents to voluntarily restrict their travel within Macao and between Macao and neighbouring Zhuhai in the coming weeks.
Travellers to Hong Kong and Macao are reminded that Ireland’s advice is to avoid all non-essential travel to and within mainland China (more detailed information available on: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/china/).
Airline Restrictions / Reduced Capacity / Regional Travel Bans
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, over 60 airlines have announced a cut in service or a reduction in capacity to mainland China. In a very small number of cases, airlines have extended these restrictions and/or capacity reductions to Hong Kong and/or Macao.
A number of countries and territories have also implemented restrictions on travellers – both Chinese and other nationals – that have visited mainland China in the preceding 14 days, including blocked entry and transit. Some countries are also rescinding previously approved visas for travellers. In a small number of cases, such restrictions are being extended to travellers arriving from Hong Kong and/or Macao.
Accordingly, travellers to Hong Kong and Macao are urged to reconfirm their travel plans and visa arrangements, as appropriate, with their travel provider prior to departure to ensure that connecting/return flights are still operating and permissions to enter third countries are still valid.
Mandatory Quarantine on entering Hong Kong from mainland China
The Hong Kong Government announced that, with effect from 8 February, anyone entering Hong Kong from mainland China, irrespective of nationality or residency would be subject to a mandatory quarantine of 14 days. The measure is intended to further reduce cross-boundary flow of people between Hong Kong and the Mainland, thus reducing the risk of transmission and spread of the disease in the community.
Mandatory quarantine on arrival will also apply to all visitors if they have visited the Mainland in the 14 days prior to arrival, irrespective of the point of entry to Hong Kong.
People whose visas allow them to stay for less than 14 days will be denied entry.
Anyone who breaks the quarantine order faces up to six months in jail and a fine of up to HK$25,000.
Certain groups will not be subject to the order. They include delivery drivers, coach and shuttle bus drivers, air and airfreight crew, government officials on duty, government agents and contractors at the border and crew members of goods and fishing vessels.
Transit passengers are exempt from mandatory quarantine but will be required to have their temperature checked before boarding a connecting flight.
Temporary Suspension/Reduction of Public Services, Events and Amenities
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Governments of Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR have encouraged precautionary measures to reduce public gatherings and curtail the potential spread of the virus, including:
- Closure of primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong and Macao;
- Closure of Universities;
- Suspension of many public services; and
- Working from home protocols.
The Macao government announced that, from midnight on 4 February, Macao's 41 casinos along with bars, theatres, Internet cafes, discotheques, night clubs and similar businesses would be closed for 15 days. The Macao Jockey Club will also close for two weeks and cinemas stopped their screenings late in January. Hotels and some restaurants remain open.
Many of Hong Kong’s big tourist attractions, including the two big theme parks, Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland, have been closed to prevent the spread of the virus. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department has announced the temporary closure of all museums and sports facilities, including public swimming pools and beaches. The Lantau Island cable-car service between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping Village, Ngong Ping 360 and Noah’s Ark Hong Kong is also closed. Racing under the auspices of the Hong Kong Jockey Club continues on a “closed door” basis with no public access permitted to the Shatin and Happy Valley racecourses.
Use of Facemasks
The WHO advises that a medical mask is not required for persons not displaying symptoms of illness, as there is no evidence available on its usefulness to protect non-sick persons.
Nonetheless, the use of facemasks in Hong Kong and Macao tends to be prominent during the winter flu season. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, visitors to Hong Kong and Macao visitors will find that the use of facemasks is pervasive and they will feel out of place without facemasks. While the wearing of facemasks is not compulsory, the Consulate has heard of anecdotal incidences where people without facemasks were denied access to public amenities (shops, etc.) and on public transport.
Living in Hong Kong or Macao
If you have recently moved to Hong Kong, you may wish to meet with other Irish people who are part of a local organisation or business network who can provide you with general advice, information and guidance. Please see the following for further information: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-consulate/hong-kong/our-services/new-to-hong-kong/
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Ensure you have sufficient money to support yourself, and the capacity to access emergency funds if needed
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Hong Kong & Macau are generally stable societies and are underpinned by the rule of law.
Since June 2019, however, there has been sustained demonstrations in Hong Kong in pursuit of certain political objectives. Most demonstrations have been moderate in size but there have been notably large scale protests involving many hundreds of thousands of people usually in response to certain trigger events and anniversaries. While most demonstrations have been peaceful in nature, over this time there has also been a pattern of protest-related violence, leading to well-documented violent clashes between protestors and the police.
While demonstrations are well signalled on social media, flashpoints are often unpredictable and can emerge in districts previously unaffected by the violence. Indeed, 'Flash mob' demonstrations can also take place with minimal warning, with related instances of arson, violence and vandalism. During episodes of social unrest, expect road closures, transport disruptions (including, the closure of stations on the Mass Transit Rail (MTR) Network) and crowd control responses from the police, including the use of tear gas.
Low key demonstrations, and with it the possibility of protest-related violence, are continuing in Hong Kong. Irish citizens and members of the public are urged to be vigilant and are strongly advised to avoid areas where protests and unplanned public gatherings are taking place and to follow the advice of the local authorities.
Since October 2019, there have been a number of police seizures of homemade bombs and materials as well as other weapons in Hong Kong. On 29 January 2020, police reported that three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were discovered within a 48-hour period, including a homemade bomb that had exploded in a toilet at a medical centre. While IED detonations have not resulted in any causalities, visitors to Hong Kong are urged to be extra-vigilant to this threat.
Macao has not been affected by the social unrest.
There is an underlying global threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. The Hong Kong and Macau governments have put in place extensive measures to combat terrorism including upgraded police capability, improved air travel security, improved border controls and upgraded emergency services response.
Additional Security Measures at Hong Kong International Airport
Following the protest-related closure of Hong Kong International Airport in August 2019, the Hong Kong Airport Authority has obtained a High Court order which restrains persons from unlawfully and wilfully obstructing or interfering with the proper use of Hong Kong International Airport. The order also applies to the blocking of roads connecting to the Airport and persons are also restrained by the Order from attending or participating in any demonstration or protest or public order event in the Airport.
The order permits the Airport Authority to extend the Access Control Area to the Terminal Buildings, and new security measure have applied since 14 August 2019. Until further notice, only bona fide passengers with a valid air ticket or boarding pass for a flight within 24 hours of arrival at the airport and a valid travel document (e.g. passport) will be allowed to enter the terminal buildings.
Passengers are recommended to arrive at the airport three hours before their departure time for relevant checks at the designated access control checkpoints equipped with 24-hour security cameras. Please note that passengers must possess a ticket or boarding pass to gain access to the terminal building.
Other members of the public, including those who may want to accompany departing passengers or receiving passengers arriving at the airport are advised not travel to the airport unless absolutely necessary. In any event, only passengers will be granted access to the airport terminal.
The incidence of violent crime is very low but some street crime and pick pocketing can occur as in any large urban area. Extra care should be taken in crowded areas in respect of passports, money and credit cards – stay vigilant in train stations and markets.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Hong Kong or Macao report it to the local police immediately. The Crime Report numbers are as follows:
- 999 for Hong Kong
- 993 for Macao
Hong Kong Police operate an 'e-Report Centre' which is designed for non-emergency report or enquiry. Instant response to the report or enquiry will not be available. In case of emergency, please call 999 or contact the nearest police station. [See https://www.erc.police.gov.hk/cmiserc/CCC/PolicePublicPage?language=en]
The Tourism Crisis Management Office (+853) 2833 3000 (24-hour hotline) are able to provide general assistance in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Portuguese to tourists in Macao. In case of emergency, please call 993 or contact the nearest police station. A leaflet to assist with understanding the crime reporting procedures can be found on http://www.pj.gov.mo/Web/u/cms/www/pdf/Publish/EN/RC03.pdf
You can also contact us at the Consulate General of Ireland if you require assistance.
Hong Kong is renowned for its safe, affordable and reliable public transport system, including ferry, rail, bus and tram.
The Octopus Card is a stored-value electronic card that can be used for most public transport, as well as purchases in convenience stores, fast food shops, supermarkets, cake shops, vending machines and more. Details on https://www.octopus.com.hk/en/consumer/index.html
The high-speed Airport Express takes approximately 24 minutes to reach Hong Kong Island and is the fastest way to get between the city and the airport. Airport Express passengers are able to take a free shuttle bus from Kowloon and Hong Kong stations to major hotels. Both these stations also provide free in-town check-in services for major airlines, when departing Hong Kong, which can be very convenient for passengers with a late departure flight.
The Macao authorities consider the taxi service Uber to be illegal, and the Macao Police has recently been taking enforcement action against both the drivers and passengers of unlicensed taxi services, including Uber.
For holders of an Irish driving licence who wish to drive in Hong Kong, you may do so on the strength of your valid Irish driving licence or international driving permit if you are a visitor to Hong Kong (visitors mean that you arrive in Hong Kong other than to take up residence for a period not exceeding 12 months).
For holders of an Irish driving licence who wish to drive in Macao and who are staying for less than a year – you must go to the police station to obtain an official paper to legalise your Irish licence.
Lost or stolen passport
If your passport is lost or stolen while in Hong Kong or Macau the Consulate in Hong Kong can - in emergency situations, issue an emergency travel document or temporary passport. You’ll need to submit a completed application, duly witnessed and with all supporting documents and the appropriate fee. Proof of identity and citizenship will be required, including an original or certified long-form birth certificate in all cases.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Hong Kong Local Laws
Hong Kong law, like Ireland, is a common law system with criminal and civil law codes.
Some of the city’s public hygiene rules and laws include:
- Prohibition of eating and drinking on most public transport in Hong Kong;
- Strict laws about maintaining environmental hygiene, including fixed penalty fines for littering or spitting.
There is also a zero tolerance for ticketless travel on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR).
The import and re-export of all elephant ivory and its products, including tourist souvenirs, is banned. Offenders could face a fine and/or imprisonment.
Photographing of military installations is prohibited.
The Hong Kong SAR Government has restrictions in place on the quantity of powdered baby formula allowed for persons departing the territory. Penalties apply for non-compliance.
Macao Local Laws
Macao is a civil law system, in that legislation is the main source of law and case law, while clearly relevant, is not a major source of law. Macau has the five 'classic' codifications: the Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the Civil Procedure Code, the Penal Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code. Proceedings will be conducted in Portugese.
Security restricted articles
Hong Kong and Macao have strict laws regarding the import and/or possession of any type of weapon and items that may resemble weapons, including replicas, antiques, toys and fashion accessories.
The laws apply to individuals in Hong Kong and Macao and those transiting Hong Kong and Macao airports, and apply to hand luggage, checked luggage and luggage in transit. For further information, please see the websites of:
- Macao Civil Aviation Department on https://www.aacm.gov.mo/guide.php?con=1&pageid=119;
- Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department on http://www.cad.gov.hk/english/for_travellers.html; and
- Hong Kong Police on https://www.police.gov.hk/ppp_en/04_crime_matters/cpa/cpa_at_01.html
The Hong Kong and Macao administrations have a zero tolerance policy against illegal drug use. Possession of illegal drugs can lead to heavy fines and imprisonment.
Penalties also exist for being in possession of sleeping tablets or prescription medication without a prescription.
Smoking restrictions, including e-cigarettes
Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is prohibited in all indoor public places in Hong Kong and Macao, including restaurants, bars and malls. The smoking ban is also implemented on public transport carriers, within public transport facilities, and in both the indoor and outdoor areas of some premises, including public beaches and swimming pools and escalators.
Any person smoking or carrying a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe in a designated no-smoking area will be liable to a fixed penalty.
If you’re entering Hong Kong with e-cigarettes containing nicotine, you’ll need a medical prescription indicating that they’re for personal use. If the e-cigarette is nicotine-free and for personal use, no medical prescription is needed.
For more information, visit the
- Hong Kong Tobacco and Control Office on https://www.taco.gov.hk/english/level.html; and
- Macao Tobacco Prevention and Control Office on https://www.gov.mo/en/news/87214/
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Hong Kong and Macao have a sub-tropical climate with distinct seasons. The only predictable weather events that could have a significant impact on your travel plans are typhoons and rainstorms. Typhoon season begins in May and ends in November.
When a typhoon is approaching, warnings are broadcast on television and radio and many buildings display the typhoon warning signal. Public offices shut down when the ‘Typhoon 8’ signal is hoisted and people are required to be indoors until the Typhoon passes.
Please see the following links in relation to the various weather signals and warnings:
- Hong Kong Observatory http://www.hko.gov.hk/textonly/v2/explain/intro.htm; and
- Macao Observatory https://www.smg.gov.mo/en.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
To enter Hong Kong and Macau you must possess a passport that is valid for at least one month beyond the date of your intended stay, adequate funds to cover your stay and evidence of onward/return transportation. Many neighboring areas require that your passport is valid for at least six months before they will allow you to enter, so if you plan on regional travel beyond Hong Kong, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the date you plan to enter such areas. You do not need a visa for tourist visits of up to 90 days but a visa may be required if travel is other than for tourism purposes. Details on general visa requirements can be found for:
- Hong Kong on https://www.gov.hk/en/nonresidents/visarequire/general/index.htm
- Macao on http://www.fsm.gov.mo/psp/eng/EDoN.html
Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and mainland China maintain separate customs and immigration boundaries under the “One Country, Two Systems” governance arrangements. Passports and appropriate visas are required for travelling between the territories. Travelling between Hong Kong, Macao or China and returning to one of the territories constitutes a multiple journey.
Health services in Hong Kong and Macau are of a high standard. Before you travel, you should, however, visit a doctor or the Tropical Medical Bureau to check what vaccinations are required.
You should also have comprehensive medical insurance before you travel to Hong Kong, as treatment and medication can be extremely expensive.
For up-to-date information in relation to public health alerts please visit the website of the Macao Health Bureau on http://www.ssm.gov.mo/ and Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/
Dengue fever is an acute mosquito-borne infection caused by the dengue viruses. This is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world and dengue fever is an endemic illness in many countries in South East Asia. Hong Kong and Macao are liable to Dengue outbreaks.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Novel Coronavirus Guidelines
During previous outbreaks of other coronavirus (e.g. MERS and SARS), human-to-human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of COVID-19 can be similar.
According to the WHO, standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include:
- regular hand washing,
- covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing,
- avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as cough or sneezing
- avoid visiting wet or live markets and contact with animals, excretions and droppings
- thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
If you are unwell on return from travel to an affected area, contact your healthcare provider and tell them of recent travel.
If medical masks are worn, appropriate use and disposal is essential to ensure they are effective and to avoid any increase in risk of transmission associated with the incorrect use and disposal of masks. The following WHO information on correct use of medical masks derives from the practices in health-care settings:
- Place mask carefully to cover mouth and nose and tie securely to minimise any gaps between the face and the mask;
- While in use, avoid touching the mask;
- Remove the mask by using appropriate technique (i.e. do not touch the front but remove the lace from behind);
- After removal or whenever you inadvertently touch a used mask, clean hands by using an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water if visibly soiled
- Replace masks with a new clean, dry mask as soon as they become damp/humid;
- Do not re-use single-use masks;
- Discard single-use masks after each use and dispose of them immediately upon removal.
Cloth (e.g. cotton or gauze) masks are not recommended under any circumstance.
The WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their healthcare provider.
Further information is available on the website of the WHO (www.who.int).
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is not in a position to provide expert medical advice. If travellers are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19 they should seek professional medical advice.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is Ireland's specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. The HPSC comes under the Health Service Executive (HSE) and works in partnership with health service providers and sister organisations in Ireland and around the world to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. For Irish-related information on COVID-19 please visit: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/
Hong Kong and Macao can experience periodic episodes of high levels of air pollution. We advise all Irish visitors and residents to monitor the updates and advisories from:
- Hong Kong Air Quality Health Index on http://www.aqhi.gov.hk/en.html; and
- Macao Observatory https://www.smg.gov.mo/en.
Consulate General of Ireland Hong Kong
20/F, 33 Des Voeux Road,
Public Office hours of the Consulate are curtailed for the duration of the 2019-nCoV outbreak
For customer service access and consistent with best practice, the Consulate will operate an appointments-only service for Irish citizens in order to limit the numbers in the waiting area at any given time. If you need an appointment, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Consulate continues to provide its normal out-of-hours consular service for genuine emergencies which cannot wait until normal working hours. Contact details can be found on: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-consulate/hong-kong/contact-us/.
Faigh árachas taistil agus liachta
Faigh árachas taistil cuimsitheach i gcónaí a chlúdóidh gach costas liachta thar lear, aslonnú liachta san áireamh, sula dtéann tú ag taisteal. Ní féidir linn íoc as aon chostais éigeandála a d’fhéadfadh a bheith ort ar do thuras. Mar sin, d’fhéadfadh árachas taistil go leor leor airgid a shábháil duit, má bhíonn fadhbanna agat. Ná déan dearmad na coinníollacha i do pholasaí a léamh agus a chinntiú go gclúdaíonn sé gach rud atá beartaithe agat a dhéanamh.