Published: 16:10, February 23, 2024 | Updated: 20:36, February 23, 2024
Xi'an, Qingdao to join HK, Macao individual visit scheme
By Oasis Hu

Travelers depart for Hong Kong at Luohu Port in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, on May 3, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

People from Xi’an in Shaanxi province and Qingdao city of Shandong province will soon be eligible to visit Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions independently, as the State Council on Friday added the two cities to the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) with effect from March 6. 

According to the National Immigration Administration, starting from March 6, eligible people from Xi’an and Qingdao can apply for individual visit endorsements for Hong Kong and Macao. Holders of these endorsements will be permitted to stay in the two cities for a maximum of seven days per visit.

The Hong Kong SAR government had previously asked the central government to increase the number of eligible IVS cities, particularly from second- and third-tier cities

Currently, residents from 49 designated cities in the Chinese mainland, primarily first-tier cities and also including 21 cities in Guangdong province, are eligible to visit Hong Kong and Macao under the IVS.

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The Hong Kong SAR government had previously asked the central government to increase the number of eligible IVS cities, particularly from second- and third-tier cities.

Peter Shiu Ka-fai, lawmaker representing the wholesale and retail functional constituency, said that the increasing of number of cities will have a positive impact on various sectors in Hong Kong, ranging from retail to tourism. He said he hopes Hong Kong can enhance cooperation with existing mainland cities under the scheme, also further expand the scheme to include more cities.

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Tourism sector legislator Perry Yiu Pak-leung said that expanding the number of IVS cities would provide more opportunities for Hong Kong residents to explore and visit the corresponding cities in the mainland, fostering greater exchanges.