Message to the American Community from Consul General Hanscom Smith
All of us at the Consulate General understand that this is a particularly difficult time for the American community in Hong Kong. Our top priority is always the safety and security of Americans in Hong Kong and Macao.
The current situation in Hong Kong is very different from what we saw earlier in the pandemic. As always, our US Citizen Services staff is available to assist you in any way possible, including issuing emergency passports and answering questions about travel to the United States.
We always stand up for the interests of American citizens and will do everything in our power to help alleviate or resolve issues related to family separation, quarantine, and other aspects of Hong Kong’s COVID policies. We encourage any US citizen facing such issues to immediately contact our American Citizen Services team at [email protected] For a summary of how current Hong Kong policies may affect you or your family, see our COVID-19 information page.
The U.S. Citizen Services Unit continues to provide a U.S. Passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, and Notarized Appointments, but we are experiencing a long wait time for these services as many staff at our consulate necessarily work remotely. Our priority is to provide emergency services, including issuing passports to US citizens with immediate travel needs. If you are a US citizen with a trip planned within the next two weeks and need to renew your US passport, please contact us immediately at [email protected] We plan to open more routine passport and notarial appointments as soon as the situation allows. As a reminder, if your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you can use your expired passport to return to the United States until March 31, 2022. More information can be found here. The consulate has informed the airlines and the Hong Kong immigration department of this policy.
Regulations on testing, quarantine, hospitalization and social distancing requirements are changing. We maintain an up-to-date list of these regulations on our website as a resource for US citizens in Hong Kong. We also encourage all U.S. citizens currently in Hong Kong, or planning to travel to Hong Kong, to review the Department of State’s public travel advisory, which can be found on the Department of State’s website. As the ban on passenger flights and passengers arriving from the United States and eight other countries has been extended through April 20, 2022, we are working to promote sufficient flight capacity for U.S. citizens who wish leave Hong Kong. Currently, there are indirect flight options to the US via Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Singapore and elsewhere.
Travelers to the United States must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test one calendar day before entering the United States, and we know this policy is of concern to many of you. This policy is global and applies to US citizens leaving Hong Kong. If you urgently need to return to the United States and are unable to obtain a COVID test prior to departure, we will forward your request for a test waiver to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please note, however, that the CDC will only approve waivers of the pre-departure testing requirement if there is a clear medical emergency and the U.S. citizen has urgent travel. For more information on the policy, please see the CDC’s website. In addition to community testing centers, which sometimes have longer wait times to receive COVID test results, private hospitals and testing facilities also offer COVID testing. We encourage people traveling to the United States to book testing appointments as soon as travel dates are known, and ensuring results are available in time for departure.
Due to the current increase in COVID-19 cases, unfortunately we can only accept emergency visa appointments. Our Nonimmigrant Visa Unit has canceled scheduled visa appointments from February 25 to March 21, 2022. We understand that many US citizens temporarily leaving Hong Kong are interested in a nonimmigrant visa appointment for their aides. servants. If your helper had an appointment scheduled, they should have received a cancellation email from us and can use the receipt to reschedule the appointment to a later date. For more information on nonimmigrant visas, including qualifications for an emergency appointment, please visit our website.
Although we do our best to provide service to the American community in Macau, Americans can also visit our Consulate General in Guangzhou for consular services. Americans in Macau should contact our ACS team at [email protected] with any difficulties you encounter.
Once again, the well-being and safety of American citizens remains our top priority. We will continue to do everything we can to support you and share all official updates and information as soon as possible.
On behalf of our team, thank you and I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.
February 28, 2022