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Can an entry visa for Hong Kong be used to enter mainland China or vice versa?

Hong Kong maintains a separate set of entry requirements from mainland China. Therefore, it is not possible to use the same entry visa for both Hong Kong and China. Hong Kong's entry policy is significantly more relaxed than that of mainland China. Nationals of many countries can visit Hong Kong without a visa for 14 to 90 days, whereas all foreign nationals holding non-diplomatic passports must enter China on a visa they obtain from a Chinese Embassy or Consulate prior to arrival. A restrictive entry permit is available at the Lo Wu crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. However, the permit is only valid for a few days and limits your travel to within the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. In recent years, not all foreigners were able to obtain the permit and U.S. citizens do not qualify at all. The issuance of the permits was even halted temporarily during the Olympics. Subsequently, we urge you to make visa arrangements prior to visiting mainland China. If you fail to obtain a visa in your home country, as a last resort most nationals can obtain a visa from the Chinese government-run China Travel Service in Hong Kong or Macau. You should be aware, though, that re-entering China after visiting Hong Kong requires a multiple-entry visa. You should also be aware that American citizens are charged more for a Chinese visa than other nationalities.

last updated 2008.09.02
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