From the authentic street markets to the dynamic urban landscapes, Hong Kong is a vibrant metropolis located on the south-eastern coast of China. Well-known as the global financial hub and a region of diverse cultures, it seamlessly blends its heritage between the Chinese and the British. And with a total population of over 7.5 million people, Hong Kong is also renowned for its delicious food and beautiful attractions, including Disneyland, Ocean Park, and Victoria Peak.

Hong Kong’s well-developed economy owes its roots to the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department since it forms a major source of revenue for the government. The city’s customs agency not only protects the region from smuggling outbreaks but also deters drug trafficking and the abuse of controlled chemicals. Featuring a workforce of more than 7,000 individuals, the customs department also enforces intellectual property rights and consumer protection laws, ultimately keeping the region safe and secure.

Having said that, if you are arriving in Hong Kong and possess certain goods that are required to be declared with the Hong Kong customs authorities, then this comprehensive guide should be of help.

How to Pay Customs Clearance Fee?

According to the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department, incoming passengers are advised to choose between two different channels for customs clearance, namely the “Red Channel” and the “Green Channel”. The red channel is for passengers who have goods to declare, while the green channel is for passengers who have nothing to declare to the customs authorities.

The definition of “goods” for passengers passing through the red channel involves the following set of terms and conditions: carrying any controlled or prohibited items; carrying any dutiable commodities that exceed their exempted quantities; and/or carrying a massive quantity of Currency or Bearer Negotiable Instruments (CBNIs) having a value of more than 120,000 Hong Kong Dollars (or an equivalent amount in foreign currencies).

Similarly, the definition of “goods” for passengers passing through the green channel involves the following set of rules and regulations: not carrying any controlled or prohibited items; having dutiable goods that comply with the exempted quantities; and having CBNIs having a total value of 120,000 Hong Kong Dollars or less (or an equivalent amount in foreign currencies).

Currently, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department only allows payment of the customs clearance fee when passing through the above-mentioned channels (primarily the red channel) in person. In addition to that, passengers are required to submit a written declaration form when carrying CBNIs, which can be easily found at the red channel of the Customs Arrival Hall. Alternatively, the declaration form can also be found online here. To ensure that the clearance process goes smoothly, follow the below-mentioned steps judiciously.

  1. Start by downloading the online form (as mentioned above) first.
  2. Once downloaded, proceed to print it, and then fill it out with all the required details.
  3. After that, carry the completed form with you during the customs clearance process and submit the same to the customs authorities along with the requisite amount of payment/duty on the spot.

Payment modes can be any electronic form of fund transfer, such as debit or credit cards.

Documents Required and Other Related Information

If you are passing through the red channel of the customs clearance process for the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department – carrying high-value CBNIs, importing controlled or prohibited goods, and/or dutiable goods that exceed the exemption amount (or goods that are not entitled to duty-free concessions) – will have to produce a valid license or permit. Apart from a valid license or permit, the passenger’s travel document details must also be shared with the authorities. Failing to do so can lead to prosecution, and the controlled/prohibited goods may be seized.

Additionally, it should be noted that if the information provided in the declaration process (for CBNIs) is found to be materially defective or false, then the individual will also be liable to prosecution, and the total amount of CBNIs will be confiscated. Also, keep in mind that breaching the declaration or disclosure requirement will lead to a fine of 2,000 Hong Kong Dollars for first-time violators, provided that the person has not been previously convicted of any terrorist funding or money laundering offenses. Lastly, for other cases, the maximum fine or penalty is 500,000 Hong Kong Dollars with a jail time of two years.

Talking about “dutiable goods or commodities,” the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department has levied excise duties on the following items: tobacco, liquor, methyl alcohol, and hydrocarbon oil. However, effective August 1, 2010, there are certain exempt limits for alcoholic liquor and tobacco for incoming passengers.

How Much Time Does the Clearance Take?

Since the customs declaration and clearance process happens in real-time on the spot, any time delay is nonexistent. As a result, passengers will be able to complete the customs clearance process in just a matter of minutes.

For more information or assistance, you can contact the customs authorities via phone at 852-2815-7711 (operational 24 hours) or via email at [email protected].

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Travel Guide,

Last Update: September 21, 2023