Testing and self-isolation arrangement for air crew, sea crew and other exempted persons - Frequently Asked Questions

Arrival at Hong Kong International Airport

  1. Why is there exemption arrangement?

Air crew

  1. What is the testing and self-isolation arrangement of air crew who arrive at Hong Kong via Airport?
  2. What are the documents required from the airlines?
  3. Regarding self-isolation, when does it start to count?
  4. During the period of self-isolation, do the air crew members need to put on electronic wristband for location tracking?
  5. Can somebody visit the crew members while they are having self-isolation?
  6. Crew members of aircraft who need to commute to and from foreign places for performance of necessary duties are designated by the Chief Secretary for Administration for exemption of compulsory quarantine. How do the officers at border know that I am an exempted person?

Sea crew (crew members for crew change for goods vessels for cargo operation)

  1. What is the testing arrangement of sea crew who are arriving at Hong Kong via Airport?

Other exempted persons (all exempted persons other than air crew and sea crew)

  1. What is the testing arrangement of other exempted persons who arrive at Hong Kong via Airport?

Arrival at Land Boundary Control Points

  1. What is the testing arrangement for exempted persons arriving at land boundary control points?
  2. What are the medical institutions mutually recognised by the governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong / Hong Kong and Macao?

Miscellaneous

  1. Per the enactment of ‘Specified conditions imposed on inbound travellers who have visited specified high risk places (Cap.599H)’, will air crew, sea crew or other exempted persons being affected?
  2. What will be the legal consequences if the exempted persons breach the exemption conditions?

  1. Why is there exemption arrangement?
    The exemption arrangement was essential for maintaining the necessary operation of society and the economy, and for ensuring an uninterrupted supply of all daily necessities to the public.
    Upon the introduction of the tightened measures with effective from 20 February 2021, all exempted persons must be subject to 'test-and-hold' arrangement.
    In general, during the 21-day medical surveillance period (or 14 days medical surveillance period for exempted persons arriving from the Mainland, Macao or Taiwan), the scope of activity of the exempted person in Hong Kong is limited to the purpose as designated in the exemption, and they may only take point-to-point transportation. The use of public transport is prohibited. Exempted persons must also avoid unnecessary social contact during the period they are exempted from quarantine. These measures are introduced with a view to minimising the chance of transmission of virus from imported cases into the community.

Air crew

Effective from 23 January 2021, until further notice, all air crew who have visited extremely high risk places specified in Group A under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) during the 21-day prior to arrival in Hong Kong, must subject to self-isolation at a designated quarantine hotel for 21 days upon arrival.

  1. What is the testing and self-isolation arrangement of air crew who arrive at Hong Kong via Airport?

    All air crew members who have stayed in any places outside China during the 21 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong
    • All air crew members must self-isolate at the hotel until their next duty flight and travel by point-to-point transportation arranged by airlines whilst laying over in any places outside China;
    • All air crew members who have stayed in extremely high risk places and very high risk places (i.e. Group A and Group B specified places under Cap. 599H), they must possess a negative result of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test done at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognised by the Government where the laboratory is located with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong for duty (except local based air crew members and freight crew members);
    • All air crew members must take a post-arrival SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at the Department of Health's (DH) Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) and wait for the results there or any other location as designated by DH upon arrival at HKIA;
    • After undergoing testing and immigration procedures, air crew members must use the designated channel to arrive the pick-up point and travel to their accommodation (or designated location to wait for the test result) by point-to-point transportation;
    • All air crew members who have stayed in Group A specified places during the 21 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong, they must subject to self-isolation at designated quarantine hotel for 21 days and undergo testing on the 12th and 19th or 20th day following their arrival in Hong Kong;
    • All air crew members who have stayed in any places outside China (but have not stayed in Group A specified places) must self-isolate at the airport hotel arranged by airlines after undergoing testing until next departure flight; and
    • If the aforementioned air crew members are local based crew who wish to leave the airport, they must self-isolate at designated quarantine hotel for 14 days (including undergoing testing on the 12th day following their arrival) before entering the local community. They must also subject to 7-day medical surveillance afterwards (including undergoing testing on the 15th and 19th or 20th day following their arrival) before operating again.


    Remarks: For freight crew, who have laid over in Anchorage in Alaska of the United States of America and subject to closedloop management in segregation from the local community during the layover, will be exempted and they will not be subject to self-isolation at designated quarantine hotel. They will still be subject to 21-day medical surveillance.
    During their stay in Anchorage, Alaska of the United States of America, air crew members can only travel between the airport and dedicated hotels by point-to-point transportation arranged by the airline. Airlines are required to arrange a specific floor/room for its crew members in the dedicated hotel and provide pre-check-in and check-out arrangements. During their stay in Anchorage, air crew members are not allowed to leave the room until they return to the airport for next cargo duty flight to Hong Kong. Air crew members shall not contact with local residents during their stay in Anchorage and airlines shall arrange designated group of air crew members to operate cargo flights between Hong Kong and Anchorage if practicable.

    All air crew members who have stayed in China during the 21 days (and have not stayed in any places outside China) prior to arrival in Hong Kong
    • All air crew members must take a post-arrival SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at the DH’s TSCC and wait for the results there or any other location as designated by DH upon arrival at HKIA;
    • After undergoing testing and immigration procedures, air crew members must use the designated channel to arrive the pick-up point and travel to their accommodation (or designated location to wait for the test result) by point-to-point transportation;
    • All air crew members must self-isolate and wait for the test result at the airport hotel arranged by airlines until departure for their next duty flight; and
    • If the aforementioned air crew members are local based crew who wish to leave the airport, they must undergo testing on the 7th and 12th (if applicable) following their arrival in Hong Kong during their 14-day medical surveillance period (or before their next duty flight).

  2. What are the documents required from the airlines?
    Before the crew members arriving Hong Kong, airlines should provide each air crew member letter(s) certifying:
    • whether he/she is a local or non-local based crew;
    • whether he/she is a passenger crew or freighter/cargo crew; and
    • the crew member concerned has been tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognised by the Government where the laboratory is located with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong for duty.
    Crew members who do not possess airline certification declaring on the three items will be regarded as non-local based passenger crews who do not possess pre-departure test.

  3. Regarding self-isolation, when does it start to count?
    It starts with the time when the crew members arrive at the hotel room or accommodation as agreed by the airline.

  4. During the period of self-isolation, do the air crew members need to put on electronic wristband for location tracking?
    No wristband will be applied to air crew.

  5. Can somebody visit the crew members while they are having self-isolation?
    Friends or relatives are advised not to enter the place of self-isolation so as to reduce the risk of being exposed to infection.

  6. Crew members of aircraft who need to commute to and from foreign places for performance of necessary duties are designated by the Chief Secretary for Administration for exemption of compulsory quarantine. How do the officers at border know that I am an exempted person?
    Only air crew members who are able to be identified as crew members on-duty will be exempted from quarantine. Below are means of identification:
    1. Operating crew members who are in uniform AND are able to present the General Declaration (GD) issued by airlines with name/staff ID; or
    2. Positioning crew members who are able to present:
      1. the General Declaration (GD) issued by airlines with name/staff ID; or
      2. a verification document issued by the airline for proof of positioning crew status.

Sea crew (crew members for crew change for goods vessels for cargo operation)

  1. What is the testing arrangement of sea crew who are arriving at Hong Kong via Airport?
    With effect on 29 July 2020, crew change arrangement for all passenger vessels and goods vessels without cargo operation will be suspended.
    With effect on 20 February 2021, all signing-off sea crew members for crew change must possess a negative result of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test done at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognised by the Government where the laboratory is located within 72 hours prior to the vessel’s scheduled time of arrival at Hong Kong or the shipping companies/agents should arrange the signing-off sea crew to take a SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test by one of the recognised testing institutions in Hong Kong, and these crew members will need to stay on board until negative result is available;
    If the aforementioned signing-off sea crew members for crew change for goods vessels are Hong Kong residents and will stay in Hong Kong after signing off, in addition to complying the above conditions, they must use the point-to-point transportation to travel to the designated quarantine hotels from designated pickup point to undergo 21-day compulsory quarantine as with other inbound travelers; and
    Signing-on crew members arriving at the airport by flights from other places should possess a negative result of COVID-19 nucleic acid test with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time for duty and must take a post-arrival SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at the DH’s TSCC and wait for the results there. After testing and immigration procedures, they must use the designated channel to arrive the pick-up point and travel to their vessels by point-to-point transportation.

Other exempted persons

Effective from 23 January 2021, until further notice, all other exempted persons (all exempted persons other than air crew and sea crew) who have visited extremely high risk places specified in Group A under Cap. 599H during the 21-day prior to arrival in Hong Kong, must subject to self-isolation at a designated quarantine hotel for 21 days upon arrival.

  1. What is the testing arrangement of other exempted persons who arrive at Hong Kong via Airport?

    Other exempted persons (all exempted persons other than air crew and sea crew) who have stayed in any places outside China during the 21 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong
    • All other exempted persons who have stayed in Group A and Group B specified places must possess a negative result of SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test done at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory or a laboratory recognised by the Government where the laboratory is located with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong;
    • They must take a post-arrival SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at the DH’s TSCC and wait for the results there or any other location as designated by DH upon arrival at HKIA;
    • After undergoing testing and immigration procedures, they must use the designated channel to arrive the pick-up point and take point-to-point transportation;
    • For exempted persons who have stayed in Group A specified places during the 21 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong, they must subject to self-isolation at designated quarantine hotel for 21 days and undergo testing on the 12th and 19th or 20th day following their arrival in Hong Kong;
    • Except Consul Generals or representatives in Hong Kong and government officials at equivalent/higher level, all other government officials carrying out governmental duties who have stayed in Group B specified places must be subject to self-isolation for 21 days at an accommodation arranged by respective organisations;
    • Exempted persons must undergo testing on the 7th, 12th, 15th and 19th or 20th day following their arrival in Hong Kong; and
    • Respective organisations must arrange point-to-point transportation for the exempted persons. The use of public transport is prohibited.


    Other exempted persons (all exempted persons other than air crew and sea crew) who have stayed in China (and have not stayed in any places outside China) during the 21 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong
    • They must take a post-arrival SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at the DH’s TSCC and wait for the results there or any other location as designated by DH upon arrival at HKIA;
    • After undergoing testing and immigration procedures, they must use the designated channel to arrive the pick-up point and take point-to-point transportation;
    • Exempted persons must undergo testing on the 12th day following their arrival in Hong Kong; and
    • Respective organisations must arrange point-to-point transportation for the exempted persons. The use of public transport is prohibited.

Arrival at Land Boundary Control Points

  1. What is the testing arrangement for exempted persons arriving at land boundary control points?
    To accord with the implementation of the Return2hk Scheme, the following additional conditions are imposed to the exempted persons arriving Hong Kong from the Mainland and Macao via land boundary control points with effect from 23 November 2020 –
    Exempted persons (except those under regular testing arrangement) must produce documentary proof (in an electronic form specified by the Director of Health or physical form) to show that –
    1. The person underwent a test for the coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) the sample for which was taken on the day of arrival or within the three days before the day of arrival;
    2. the test conducted on the sample is a polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19;
    3. the result of the test is the person was tested negative for COVID-19; and
    4. the test was conducted by a laboratory that, at the time of the person's arrival, is included in a list of recognised laboratories published for this purpose in the Department of Health's official website .(please also refer to Question 11 of this page).

  2. What are the medical institutions mutually recognised by the governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong / Hong Kong and Macao?
    Exempted persons should allow sufficient time for taking a COVID-19 (RT-PCR) nucleic acid test in one of the medical institutions mutually recognised by the governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong / Hong Kong and Macao. The sample should be taken from the person concerned within 3 days prior to, or on the day of his/her entry into Hong Kong so that he/she can present the proof of a valid negative nucleic acid test result upon arrival in Hong Kong.
    The lists of medical institutions that are mutually recognised by the governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong / Hong Kong and Macao are as follows:
    1. Medical or testing institutions in the Guangdong Province
      https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/List_of_recognised_laboratories_GD.pdf
    2. Medical or testing institutions in Macao
      https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/List_of_recognised_laboratories_MO.pdf
    3. Medical or testing institutions in Hong Kong
      https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/List_of_recognised_laboratories.pdf

Miscellaneous

  1. Per the enactment of ‘Specified conditions imposed on inbound travellers who have visited specified high risk places (Cap.599H)’, will air crew, sea crew or other exempted persons being affected?
    A person who is in transit in Hong Kong, and a person exempted by the Chief Secretary for Administration from compulsory quarantine under section 4(1) of either the Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong Regulation (Cap. 599C) or Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) will not be affected.

  2. What will be the legal consequences if the exempted persons breach the exemption conditions?
    Persons who are found to be in breach of the above exemption conditions would risk their exemption status being revoked. They are also subject to a maximum fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for six months.