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By ExpatBriefing.com Editorial
22 May, 2014
Germany has become the first western country to enter into a reciprocal agreement on mutual automated border clearances with Hong Kong.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Immigration Department said that the move will enhance trade, business and tourism links, and facilitate travel by holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) passports within the European Schengen area via Germany.
Erick Tsang, Hong Kong's Deputy Director of Immigration, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue in Berlin with Andreas Reisen, who is in charge of biometrics, passports, and identity documents at Germany's Federal Ministry of the Interior. The immigration spokesman added that further details will be announced in due course.
This is the second mutual arrangement on border clearances that Hong Kong has entered into, following an agreement with South Korea in December 2013. Under the terms of the South Korean deal, HKSAR passport holders who are aged 17 or above can pre-enroll via the internet, and then attend an enrollment center in South Korea. Meanwhile, South Korean passport holders aged 17 or above who are members of Korea's Smart Entry Service can pre-enroll on the GovHK website and enroll at Hong Kong International Airport for Hong Kong's e-Channel service.
In both cases, enrollment procedures include taking photos and fingerprints, a requirement that passports must be valid for at least another six months, and applicants must have a clean record. Enrollment is voluntary and free.
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