Hong Kong Smart Departure – Foreign Visitors Self-Service Departure

Hong Kong Smart Departure – Foreign Visitors Self-Service Departure

The Immigration Department (ImmD) has launched at Hong Kong International Airport on October 10 a self-service departure for foreign visitors to Hong Kong (Smart Departure), and photos of visitors will be taken at arrival clearance counters to assist in authenticating their identities through face recognition technology. Smart Departure aims to provide greater travel convenience for visitors while enhancing the effectiveness of immigration control.


Smart Departure employs face recognition technology for identity verification, which facilitates self-service departure for visitors. Foreign visitors aged 11 or above who hold valid electronic travel documents compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s requirements, and issued by designated countries or regions as announced by the ImmD (over 70 countries and regions, excluding Mainland China), may perform self-service departure clearance through Smart Departure e-Channels without prior enrolment.


According to the existing arrangement, all arriving visitors will be issued with landing slips. Upon completion of arrival clearance at immigration counters, the landing slips of eligible visitors will additionally bear the Smart Departure logo (a specimen is provided below). In addition, the ImmD will also install cameras at arrival clearance counters to take real-time photos of visitors, which will be compared with the photos in their travel documents through face recognition technology for the purpose of identity verification.


When using “Smart Departure”, a departing eligible visitor should place the bio-data page of his/her electronic travel document onto the document reader for scanning. When the scanning process has been completed, the front gate doors of the e-Channel will open and the visitor can enter the e-Channel. Inside the e-Channel, he/she should stand on the foot-marked position and look at the camera for facial verification. Upon successful verification, the rear gate doors will open and the visitor can leave the e-Channel. The new arrangement effectively reduce the time required for department clearance procedure by 30 seconds.



  1. After entering an e-Channel, visitors should remove any headgear that obscure their facial features, such as hats, sunglasses and masks, etc.
  2.  Holders of electronic travel documents may continue to use traditional counters for departure clearance.
  3.  The Immigration Department will regularly review the list of designated countries / regions eligible for the service.
  4.  For visitors who have enrolled for e-Channel service, their immigration arrangements remain unchanged.
  5.  The measures will be first implemented at Hong Kong International Airport and will be extended in phases to other control points by the end of the year.