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

  1. Why is there exemption arrangement?

Arrival at Hong Kong International Airport

Air crew

  1. What is the testing and self-isolation arrangement of air crew who arrive at Hong Kong via HKIA?
  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. What is meant by “fully vaccinated”?
  2. What is serology antibody test?
  3. 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?
  4. What will be the legal consequences if the exempted persons breach the exemption conditions?

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

  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.

    In general, during the specified period, 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.

    Upon introduction of the tightened measures with effective from 9 August 2021, all exempted persons arriving at Hong Kong via Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) must possess a valid negative result of polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test and subject to 'test-and-hold' arrangement. In addition, they must only use the designated channels and designated pick-up points for point-to-point transportation while leaving the HKIA. They should wear masks during the entire transportation journey.

Arrival at Hong Kong International Airport

Air crew

  1. What is the testing and self-isolation arrangement of air crew who arrive at Hong Kong via HKIA?
    Depending on the risk levels of places where the air crew members arriving at Hong Kong have stayed, they will be subject to various sets of self-isolation and testing arrangements. Factors taken into consideration also include their COVID-19 vaccination status, operational nature, etc.

    In general, air crew who are not going to enter Hong Kong’s local community after arrival will be required to undergo self-isolation at an airport hotel room until next duty flight.

    For local based air crew who plan to enter local community after arrival in Hong Kong, the self-isolation period at designated quarantine hotels will vary according to their vaccination status and places of visited before arrival. Those who have completed a vaccination course will generally have their self-isolation period shortened.

    For details about the arrangement, please approach respective airline or the Airline Operators’ Committee.

    1. Requirements during layover in foreign ports
      For all air crew who have stayed in any countries outside China during the 21 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong, whilst laying over in foreign ports:

      1. they must self-isolate at the hotel room arranged by the airline for the duration of their stay; and
      2. point-to-point transportation must be arranged by airlines between airports and the place of accommodation. Crew members should wear masks during the entire journey to and from the airports.

    2. Testing requirement
      Pre-departure Test
      All non-local based passenger crew members must possess a negative result of polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test done at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory/healthcare institution; or a laboratory/healthcare institution recognised or approved by the relevant authority of the Government of the place in which the laboratory/healthcare institution is located with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong for duty. The crew is required to present the test report and the letter of certification issued by the airline to staff of the Department of Health (DH) when he/she enters Hong Kong.

      Arrival Test
      All air crew arriving in Hong Kong must take a SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at the DH’s Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) upon arrival at HKIA and wait for the results there or any other location as designated by DH (‘test and hold’).

      Post-arrival Test
      All air crew entering the local community upon arrival in Hong Kong must be subject to the respective regular post-arrival testing following their arrival in Hong Kong (or until departure from Hong Kong on their next duty flight, whichever is earlier). They must report to airlines after submitting the specimen on respective days.

    3. Point-to-point transportation requirement in Hong Kong
      Point-to-point transportation must be arranged by airlines between the HKIA and their holding location as designated by DH, hotels or accommodation during the respective specified period. Use of public transport including MTR, airport shuttle train and taxi for crew transfer is prohibited. Air crew must only use the designated channel for air crew within the HKIA to arrive at the designated pick-up point. Crew members should wear masks during the entire journey to and from the HKIA.

  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) stating the following information:

    1. particulars of the air crew e.g. name, HKID or passport number;
    2. whether he/she is a Hong Kong based crew or non-Hong Kong based crew;
    3. the category of flight: passenger flight or freighter;
    4. flight no. and the scheduled date of arrival at Hong Kong;
    5. (if applicable) the crew member concerned has been tested negative for polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory/healthcare institution; or a laboratory/healthcare institution recognised or approved by the relevant authority of the Government of the place in which 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.
    6. (if applicable) the crew member concerned has completed a COVID-19 vaccination course 14 days before their duty flight and that the COVID-19 vaccine used is included on the list of vaccines recognised for this purpose as published on the Government’s COVID-19 thematic website;
    7. (if applicable) the crew member belongs to turnaround crew of a freighter or a passenger flight with no inbound passenger; or local based freighter aircrew with laid over in certain places, etc.


  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 not allowed 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?
    No crew change (including sign-on and sign-off crew) is permitted for goods vessels which have called the ports of high risk places specified in Group A under Cap. 599H during the 21 days prior to arrival in Hong Kong.

    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 polymerase chain reaction-based 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.

    The details of exemption conditions for crew members of goods vessels have been delivered to relevant shipping agents or companies. For details of the arrangement, please approach respective shipping agents or companies.

Other exempted persons

  1. What is the testing and self-isolation arrangement of other exempted persons who arrive at Hong Kong via Airport?
    The arrangement largely depends on the COVID-19 vaccination status, serology antibody test result and the places that the exempted persons (who are not air crew or sea crew) have stayed prior to arrival in Hong Kong. If self-isolation is applicable, those who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course or completed a COVID-19 vaccination course with positive antibody test result will generally have their self-isolation period shortened.

    They must comply with the exemption conditions as specified in their exemption letter issued by their respective Government department/bureau.

    1. Testing requirement
      Pre-departure Test
      All exempted persons arriving Hong Kong must possess a negative result of polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test done at an ISO15189-accredited laboratory/healthcare institution; or a laboratory/healthcare institution recognised or approved by the relevant authority of the Government of the place in which the laboratory/healthcare institution is located with the specimen collected within 48 hours prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong.

      Arrival Test
      All exempted persons arriving Hong Kong must take a SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid test at the DH’s Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) and wait for the results there or any other location as designated by DH (test and hold) upon arrival at HKIA.

      Post-arrival Test
      All exempted persons must be subject to the respective regular post-arrival testing following their arrival in Hong Kong (or until departure from Hong Kong, whichever is earlier). They must report to their respective organisation after submitting the specimen on respective days.

    2. Point-to-point transportation requirement in Hong Kong
      Point-to-point transportation must be arranged between the HKIA and their accommodation; and between their accommodation and the venue of their designated activities specified in the exemption application during period specified in the exemption letter issued by their respective Government department/bureau. Use of public transport including MTR, airport shuttle train and taxi for transfer is prohibited. Exempted persons must only use the designated channel for exempted persons other than air crew within the HKIA to arrive at the designated pick-up point. They should wear masks during the entire transportation journey.

Arrival at Land Boundary Control Points

  1. What is the testing arrangement for exempted persons arriving at 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 one of the medical testing institutions mutually recognised by the governments of Hong Kong and Guangdong / Hong Kong and Macao, at the time of the person's arrival. (please also refer to Question 11 of this page).
    With effect from 9 August 2021, exempted persons must also be subject to testing on the 3rd, 7th, 12th, 16th and 19th day following their arrival at Hong Kong during their medical surveillance period.

  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
      1. All medical testing institutions in Guangdong Province that can upload negative RT-PCR nucleic acid test results to “Yuekang code”(粵康碼) system; or
      2. The medical testing institutions in Guangdong Province that are recognised by the National Health Commission and can be accessed on nucleic acid testing organisation enquiry(「核酸檢測機構查詢」)function via State Council Mini Portal(「國務院客戶端」小程序), or that are listed on its official website (http://bmfw.www.gov.cn/hsjcjgcx/index.html)
    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. What is meant by “fully vaccinated”?
    Fully vaccinated persons means persons who have received the recommended dose(s) as stipulated in guidelines of a COVID-19 vaccination course 14 days prior to their arrival at Hong Kong. The 14 days are counted from the day after receiving the last dose of the recommended course. For example, if the last dose was administered on 1 May, the 14th day would be on 15 May.

    For persons arriving at Hong Kong whose vaccines were administered outside Hong Kong, apart from the COVID-19 vaccines already recognised for use in Hong Kong, other vaccines included on this list are also accepted:
    https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/list_of_recognised_covid19_vaccines.pdf

    For those who arrive at Hong Kong after they have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course, they must provide the vaccination record or a written confirmation in English or Chinese issued by a healthcare institution or a relevant authority of the government of the place where the vaccine was administered, bearing the name of the relevant vaccinated person identical to that in his/her valid travel document to show that (i) the relevant vaccinated person received the dose(s) of vaccination(s) against COVID-19 and the date(s) on which the dose(s) was/were administered; and (ii) the name of the vaccine administered which must be included on the list of vaccines recognised for this purpose as published on the Government’s COVID-19 thematic website.

  2. What is serology antibody test?
    A recognised serology antibody test means a serology antibody test conducted after the person completed a COVID-19 vaccination course by a laboratory that, at the time of the person’s arrival, is included on the “List of Recognised Private Medical Laboratories for Conducting Recognised Antibody Test” and conducted in accordance with the relevant criteria, as published on the Government’s COVID-19 thematic website.

    The validity of the result of a recognised serology antibody test is 91 days, counting from the day of specimen collection. For example, if the specimen for the serology antibody test was taken from the person on 30 June 2021, the positive test result would be valid until 29 September 2021. The relevant person should provide documentary proof of the recognised serology antibody test in accordance with the relevant criteria.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.