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E-Channel and Passport 6 Month Window Before Expiration

E-Channel and Passport 6 Month Window Before Expiration

Old May 25, 17, 5:14 pm
  #1  
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E-Channel and Passport 6 Month Window Before Expiration

Most countries -- China/Hong Kong among them -- expect you to have 6 months remaining on your passport in order to enter the country.

How does that work with e-Channel? The eChannel arrival ticket only permits you to stay for 90 days, so maybe it is OK?

I MAY have an urgent trip to China. I would arrive Hong Kong, travel to Shenzhen, and both entries would occur before the T-minus-6-months window. I would be in Shenzhen for about a week, then head home via Hong Kong.

But to catch my flight in Hong Kong, I would need to enter Hong Kong, and by then my American passport would only be valid for LESS THAN 6 MONTHS. Only by a few days... but still less than 6 months.

I have eChannel. Does it check for that?

If it does block entry... then what? China presumably wouldn't let me back in. Would I be doomed to spend the rest of my life in the nether regions of Futian checkpoint? :-D

I'm sure it would cause an issue going through normal immigration. But maybe eChannel doesn't check?

Of course, I know some of the FT crew is going to suggest I just fly home out of SZ, and I know that is an option, but is complicated for reasons not relevant to the topic of this post. Same with the "Expedited Passport Renewal" option in the USA.

Again, the question is if anyone knows how eChannel would work if your passport is still valid, but not valid for the full six months.

Alternatively, what about the ferry at Shekou? I've never taken it, but I'm told you exit China, but don't officially enter Hong Kong because you are restricted to going directly to the airport.
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Old May 25, 17, 5:57 pm
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Assuming you have a US passport, Timatic says of entry requirements into Hong Kong:

"Passports and other documents accepted for entry must be valid for a minimum of 1 month beyond the period of intended stay."

I take that as meaning that at the most, you need 4 months validity on a US passport to enter Hong Kong (that is, 90 day landing permission granted upon arrival, plus one month).

What I don't know is what if you have less than 4 months. If your "period of intended stay" is 5 days, then do you need 5 days plus one month passport validity to enter? One possibility is that if you have less than 4 months, you can't use e-channel for entry as an immigration officer must ask you to declare your intended length of stay in order to determine if your entry request is permitted.
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Old May 25, 17, 7:43 pm
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To answer your question in another way, it would not surprise me if passports valid less than 6 months won't work in e-Channel. What I would NOT expect is a situation where e-Channel would let you through in the same situation where you'd be blocked if you dealt with an immigration officer.

Then there's another point:

But to catch my flight in Hong Kong, I would need to enter Hong Kong
That's not true. You can take a ferry from Shenzhen to HKG airport. You can do so ONLY if you are departing from HKG on a flight, and also you never enter Hong Kong by doing so. Your outbound flight from HKG will be checked at the ferry terminal in Shenzhen, where you will exit China. Upon arrival at HKG, they will re-check your onward flight, and assuming all is well, admit you to the airside departure section of the airport, without ever having entered or departed Hong Kong as far as Immigration is concerned.
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Old May 26, 17, 12:39 am
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AFAIK - the 6-month validity does not apply to both Mainland China (because almost everyone needs a visa) and Hong Kong SAR (it does not explicitly mentioned by the Immigration Department).

So you should be fine.

If you are so worry, make a booking a Detroit Passport Agency. A passport can be issued quickly with additional fees.
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