Hong Kong Entry: Got Stopped by an Immigration Officer

At NAIA, leaving for Hong Kong, we got through immigration without a hitch. It was a breeze, even. The Immigration Officer (IO) only asked for my passport and boarding pass. After getting off the plane though, we got stopped by an IO at Hong Kong International Airport.

She was a nice lady, probably in her late 30s or early 40s, but she was also giving off an authoritative, don’t-mess-with-me vibe.

I was only recently aware (after this HK trip) that IO’s at HK could deny you entry even if you were already there. So when we got asked to step aside, my first reaction was “what’s this about?”.

Not being aware that sh*t could easily hit the fan in a few seconds, I put on a my confident, excited-tourist, personna. But even though I was unaware of what horrors might happen, I still felt slightly anxious. This is an immigration officer, tons of passengers walked by but a lot of them were not asked to step aside, did I do anything wrong?

Here are the questions the IO asked:

– Is this your first time?

– What’s the purpose of your travel?

– How long will you be staying?

– Are you employed?

– How will you fund this trip?

– Where will you stay during your stay?

I guess we were lucky ‘cause she also interjected friendly questions in between like:

– Are you excited?

– What would you like to visit the most?

*and when she saw my certificate of employment and recognized the company* oh, will you be using *company’s product* here?

We answered this confidently cause we had nothing to hide.

The documents we had to show before they let us pass were:

– Passport

– Boarding pass

– Proof of Accomodation

– Certificate of Employment/Proof of Income

This was not asked of me but I also had this ready:

– Bank statements for the past 3 months

Tip: If you could get a certificate of employment where it says you (passport number included) are approved for vacation leave on your trip dates, that would be solid.

If your company does not have that, make a letter resembling a COE and add the leave and passport details, then make your boss or company rep sign it with your company’s official logo or seal.

After this, the IO wished us a great stay. So it isn’t always a horror story.

If this happens to you, I know it’s hard but try not to panic or overreact. Or worse, question or antagonize the IO – DO NOT DO THAT. They can make your trip end before it even starts. But they are also reasonable professionals who are simply doing their jobs.

Be prepared and lessen the risk of being sent home so you’d have no regrets later on.

I hope our little story helped to those going to HK. Has this ever happened to you? What was it like?

May the odds be ever in your favor,

N