10

I have a Nepali passport and am traveling SFO-SIN (from San Francisco to Singapore). I see on the ticket it says 1 HR stop in Hong Kong. When I called my travel agency they said it's for a technical stop and no passengers will be getting off. On visa website for Hong Kong, it clearly says Nepal passport holders need a transit visa, including for airside transit.

What does it mean?

Edit: I did call Singapore airlines and they said I won't need a transit visa since there will be no boarding pass issued for HKG. I asked her to check with her supervisor too and she confirmed the same. My flight is next Saturday and there is no time for me to get a transit visa now. Is there a consular office for Hong Kong in US where I can call and confirm? On internet I only found Chinese Embassy number to contact and they never pick up the phone.

Update: I got a call from Singapore Airlines today asking what passport I have and if I can have transit in Hong Kong (a little too late to call of course). Later they left a voicemail saying if you are from so or so country you can't have transit in HKG without a visa and of course Nepal passport was one of them. So I had to call back and fight with the operator for over an hour that THEY had told me it was ok for me to travel just a week ago. They blamed my ticketing agent for booking it in the first place. After couple of hours of back and forth, and a long long wait on hold they agreed to get me direct flight from SFO to SIN provided that I pay the flight change cost. Such a hassle !!

  • In 2012 I flew through HK with Air New Zealand, on a single flight code (NZ38 LHR-AKL). We definitely had to leave the plane for an hour or two and there was some form of showing-passports formality, but there doesn't seem to have been a passport stamp as a result - it may have been for ID purposes or to check that we did indeed have an outbound boarding pass and weren't meant to get off in HK. Hard to say for sure at this distance... – Andrew Jan 6 '17 at 20:31
  • Your travel agent is wrong - it's possible to book SQ1 for SFO-HKG only, so passengers can get off there. It's not a pure tech stop in the usual sense of the word. – Nate Eldredge Jan 7 '17 at 0:20
  • 3
    @pnuts: Hong Kong has a completely different visa policy from the rest of China, so it wouldn't be surprising if HKG were an exception to a blanket statement about tech stops in China. – Nate Eldredge Jan 7 '17 at 0:23
  • Don't loose hope, keep on pressing and eventually you will be succeeded. Wish you a good time at Hong Kong airport. Liang Shi :) From (Hong Kong Airport Security) – Liang Shi Jan 7 '17 at 6:13
  • 1
    It is true that SQ1 Singapore-bound passengers are issued only a single boarding pass at SFO. If Singapore Airlines thinks this makes your stop a "technical stop" (they will know what is allowed at HKG) and is willing to let you board the plane on that basis I don't think you'll be seeing anyone in Hong Kong that will contradict them. It sounds like you are good to go. – Dennis Jan 7 '17 at 22:58
6

I suspect that you do need a transit visa. First of all, your travel agent is incorrect that "no passengers will be getting off"; it is possible to book travel on flight SQ1 from SFO to HKG only, with HKG as your final destination. You can try it out on the Singapore Airlines website. So this isn't a true technical stop.

There will likely be people getting off at HKG. And unless the airline has some very special procedures, it would probably be possible for you to get off too, whether or not you are supposed to. As such, it makes sense that you would have to have an airside transit visa.

To be certain, you should call the airline and ask.

  • 1
    Agree on "call the airline", they're more likely to know than the travel agent. – Andrew Jan 7 '17 at 13:24
  • 6
    SQ1 was my regular flight to HK. When I was taking it everyone got off at HKG, with the Singapore passengers passing a security check to get back to the departure level and reboard but not seeing immigration. Any visa enforcement for transit would need to be done by the airline (Timatic says a visa is required) so calling the airline to confirm is good advice. – Dennis Jan 7 '17 at 16:46
0

According to Timatic, the database used by airlines:

  • Visa required, except for Passengers with a Hong Kong (SAR China) Permanent Identity Card.

and

  • Visa required, except for Passengers with a travel document issued by Hong Kong (SAR China) with "Holder's eligibility for Hong Kong (SAR China) Permanent Identity Card verified .

None of the exceptions apply to you, as such you need a visa.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.