China Offers 5-Year Mainland Travel Permit to Non-Chinese Hong Kong and Macao Permanent Residents

Posted by Written by Giulia Interesse Reading Time: 5 minutes

China’s National Immigration Administration announced the introduction of a five-year multi-entry travel permit for foreign permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macao, aiming to streamline travel to the Chinese mainland, fostering economic integration and enhancing global connectivity within the Greater Bay Area. Such travel permits can be applied starting from July 10, 2024.

On July 1, 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) announced a new measure aimed at enhancing travel convenience for foreign permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macao. Starting July 10, 2024, these residents will be able to apply for a five-year Mainland Travel Permit (hereinafter, the “permit”), allowing them to visit the Chinese mainland for short-term purposes.

The initiative is part of China’s ongoing efforts to streamline immigration processes and foster greater integration of Hong Kong and Macao with the mainland, particularly within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).

In this article, we will explore the details of the permit, including the application process, eligibility criteria, and the specific benefits and restrictions associated with it.

Key features of the permit


To be eligible for the permit, applicants must:

  • Be foreign citizens; and
  • Hold permanent residency in either the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) or the Macao SAR.


The new travel permit covers the following scope:

  • Investment: Foreign permanent residents can use the permit to travel to the Chinese mainland for investment opportunities, facilitating smoother and more frequent business transactions and ventures.
  • Visiting relatives: The permit allows for multiple entries to visit family members residing in the Chinese mainland, fostering stronger familial connections.
  • Tourism: Permit holders can explore various tourist destinations in the Chinese mainland, enhancing cultural exchange and understanding.
  • Business: The permit supports business activities, including attending meetings, signing contracts, and other business-related tasks, thereby promoting economic ties.
  • Seminars: It provides access to attend seminars, workshops, and conferences in the Chinese mainland, contributing to professional development and networking.
  • Exchanges: The permit facilitates academic, cultural, and professional exchanges, promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing between regions.

Duration and conditions

The permit is valid for five years. During this period, holders can travel to the Chinese mainland multiple times, with each stay not exceeding 90 days.

Permit holders are not allowed to work, study, or engage in news coverage activities while in the Chinese mainland.

Application process

Authorized application channels

To apply for the permit, applicants must utilize the following designated channels:

  • China Travel Service (Holdings) Hong Kong Limited, for residents of Hong Kong; and
  • China Travel Service (Macao) Ltd., for residents of Macao.

These entities are authorized by China’s Exit and Entry Administration to handle applications, ensuring streamlined processing and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Required documents

Applicants are required to compile the following documents:

  1. Application form: This form must be completed accurately and include a recent photograph of the applicant.
  2. Identity proof: For adults, a valid Hong Kong or Macao permanent identity card suffices to establish identity and residency. However, for applicants under 18 who lack a permanent identity card, the Notice of Application for Access to Information issued by the Hong Kong Immigration Department is required. In cases where minors are applying, their guardians must accompany them and provide original identity certificates along with proof of guardianship.
  3. Passport: An ordinary passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay, excluding passports not recognized by the Chinese government.
  4. Nationality certificates: For Hong Kong residents, this involves obtaining a Notice of Application for Access to Information from the Hong Kong Immigration Department. This document serves as proof of their permanent resident status. Similarly, Macao residents must present a Certificate of Personal Data issued by the Macao Identification Services Bureau. Both these certificates must be issued within six months prior to the application date, ensuring that the information provided is current and valid.
  5. Additional documents: Any other documents specified by the application processing authority to support the application.

Application submission

Applications must be submitted in person at the authorized application offices. This personal submission ensures that all required documents are properly reviewed and verified to meet the criteria for issuing the permit.

Processing and collection

Upon submission, the processing of the application takes up to 20 working days from the official acceptance date. Applicants will receive notification to collect their permit from the designated application office.

For minors under 18 years old, their legal guardians are authorized to collect the Permit on their behalf.

Permit renewal and replacement

Applicants are required to submit their renewal or replacement applications to designated offices, such as China Travel Service (Holdings) Hong Kong Limited, China Travel Service (Macao) Ltd., or the local exit-entry administration in the Chinese mainland, depending on their current location.

When preparing the application, it is essential to gather the following documentation:

  • A completed application form for renewal or replacement;
  • A valid passport with a minimum validity period of 6 months;
  • Original and copies of the current permit (if available); and
  • Updated nationality certificates or other relevant documents reflecting any changes.

Once the application has been submitted and accepted, the processing time typically spans up to 20 working days. During this period, applicants may receive an application receipt to assist with any necessary travel arrangements.

Upon completion of processing, applicants are then able to collect their renewed or replaced permit from the designated office where the initial application was submitted.

Emergency exit travel documents

In urgent situations such as expired, damaged, or lost permits necessitating immediate return to Hong Kong or Macao, travelers can apply for a one-time emergency exit travel document. This document facilitates temporary departure from the Chinese mainland while arranging for permit renewal or replacement, ensuring continuity of travel plans despite unforeseen circumstances.

Extension of stay

In scenarios involving force majeure or other valid reasons that require an extended stay in the Chinese mainland, individuals may request an extension of stay for up to an additional 90 days.

This extension is processed by the local exit-entry administration of the public security department at or above the municipal level, allowing flexibility for prolonged stays due to unforeseen circumstances or legitimate reasons.

Fee structure

The fee structure for obtaining the travel permit for Hong Kong and Macao residents is designed to support administrative processes and ensure smooth travel arrangements across regions, and is divided as it follows:

  • First application fee:Foreign residents applying for the permit for the first time in Hong Kong or Macao are required to pay a fee of HK$260 (US$33.28). This initial fee covers the processing of applications and issuance of the permit.
  • Renewal or replacement fee: In the Chinese mainland, the fee for renewing or replacing the permit is set at RMB 230 (US$31.63). This fee is applicable in cases where the Permit needs to be renewed due to expiration, damage, loss, or updates in personal information.

Compliance and enforcement

The NIA reserves the right to cancel the permit if the holder no longer meets the eligibility criteria as a non-Chinese citizen permanent resident of Hong Kong or Macao. Additionally, fraudulent activities or other offenses related to the permit’s application or usage can result in its cancellation.

Permit holders must promptly report any changes in their passport number, contact information, or other relevant details within 30 days. This ensures that authorities have up-to-date information, facilitating effective communication and adherence to regulatory standards.

Impact on foreign investors

The introduction of five-year multi-entry travel permits for non-Chinese permanent residents of Hong Kong and Macao has generated widespread enthusiasm among expatriates and foreign chambers. This initiative is poised to benefit hundreds of thousands of adult permanent residents, irrespective of their nationality or occupation, marking a significant step towards bolstering Hong Kong and Macao’s stature as pivotal financial hubs and international gateways.

Previously, non-Chinese residents encountered cumbersome visa procedures and manual entry processes when visiting the Chinese mainland. The introduction of the new travel permit aims to streamline these processes, enabling holders to enter the Chinese mainland for short-term purposes such as business, tourism, and family visits without the hassle of repeated visa applications.

Foreign chambers, including the American Chamber of Commerce and the European Chamber of Commerce, have praised the initiative for its potential to enhance cross-border connectivity and facilitate business operations within the GBA. This measure is expected to attract global talent to Hong Kong, thereby strengthening its position as a preferred destination for international investment and enterprise.

Looking forward, as China continues its path of liberalizing visa policies and optimizing administrative procedures, stakeholders anticipate further measures aimed at solidifying Hong Kong’s role as a global financial and business hub. These efforts include ongoing enhancements in visa flexibility and support for diverse economic sectors, highlighting Hong Kong’s resilience and dynamism in the global economic landscape.

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