On December 14th, the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region launched "Smart Departure," a self-service departure channel for visitors to Hong Kong, at Shenzhen Bay Port and various other border crossings to Shenzhen.


"Smart Departure" allows almost all visitors to leave Hong Kong without having to go through the manned immigration lanes. Visitors can instead use biometric-enabled e-gates, similar to the e-Channel gates, to clear immigration much more quickly. Facial recognition technology compares the passenger's face with the photo taken when they arrived to Hong Kong, and with the photo on their passport, in order to verify their identity.


Hong Kong Smart Departure e-Channel Gate


The "Smart Departure" system was first put into operation at the Hong Kong International Airport on October 10th, 2017. It is now in place at 12 exit points across Hong Kong; including:

  • Hong Kong International Airport
  • Lo Wu
  • Lok Ma Chau Spur Line
  • Hung Hom
  • Shenzhen Bay
  • Sha Tau Kok
  • Man Kam To
  • Lok Ma Chau
  • Macau Ferry Terminal
  • China Ferry Terminal
  • Kai Tak Cruise Terminal
  • Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal


How does it work?


Upon approaching the "Smart Departure" gate, visitors place the bio-data page of their electronic travel document onto the document reader for scanning. Once scanned, the front gate doors open for the visitor to enter. Once inside, the visitor should stand on the foot-marked position and look at the camera for facial verification. Once verification is complete, the rear gate doors will open allowing the visitor to exit.


Who can use "Smart Departure"?

Pretty much anyone can use "Smart Departure" when leaving Hong Kong, without the need to enroll in any program, IF... they meet the following criteria:


(1) aged 11 or above;

(2) holding a valid electronic travel document compliant with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); and

(3) holding a valid electronic travel document of countries / regions as designated by the Immigration Department of the HKSAR.*


* Here's a list of the countries/regions currently eligible for "Smart Departure." The Immigration Department plans to regularly review the list of designated countries / regions eligible for the service, and its eligibility criteria as well as terms and conditions.


If you are eligible to use "Smart Departure," the landing slip given to you upon arrival clearance at immigration counters will have the Smart Departure logo on it; as seen in the example below.


Hong Kong Smart Departure Landing Slip


NOTE: Holders of electronic travel documents may continue to use traditional counters for departure clearance. For visitors who have enrolled for e-Channel service, their immigration arrangements remain unchanged.


RELATED ARTICLE: How to Get Hong Kong & Mainland China e-Channel Passes

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