With Hong Kong being the nearest and most importantly cheapest place to renew your visa from the Philippines and Southern China, it’s worth knowing the rules around the e-channel service for expedited travel through immigration.
When you travel through Hong Kong, there are three different ways to go through immigration. There’s the standard way, where you fill out an entry form, line up, talk to an immigration office and go through. Secondly, there’s being a resident, where you swipe an electronic card and go through. Thirdly, there’s e-channel, which involves doing things electronically without having to line up, or speak to an immigration officer. Did someone say heaven?
Getting e-channel in Hong Kong, or rather applying for e-channel in Hong Kong involves going through immigration normally and then heading to the e-channel desk to the right-hand side just after you get through. The requirements are that you need to pass through Hong Kong at least four times per year, which actually makes it an extremely small threshold (but they will check), you fill out a form, have your photo taken, and then have a barcode sticker added to the back of your passport, as well as having your fingerprints scanned. Then you’re done!
Using it is not only simple but makes the time-consuming world of flying, even in a fabulous airport like HKIA, a lot more satisfying. You simply head to the e-channel part (where there is never a line), swipe your barcode, or the picture page of your passport, give them your thumbprint, and that is it, job done.
Getting Chinese e-channel, officially at least, is much harder. Although with China being China, simply going and trying your luck is often enough. Technically at least, you should be leaving the country at least 4 times per year. Again, a small threshold, but also you should have a working visa, although they seem not to enforce that part.
When I initially went to get my Chinese e-channel, I was at first refused (I continued to just sit there until she got so bored she simply did it for me), but originally, I thought it was only applicable in Shenzhen, where in actual fact it is available throughout China, making it somewhat gold dust like, with so few people having it (imagine no line at Beijing immigration).
Get yours before they change the rules and make it harder!