The Pilot Scheme on Facilitation for Persons Participating in Arbitral Proceedings in Hong Kong (the Pilot Scheme) is extended for two years from 1 March 2023 to 28 February 2025; and is expanded to cover all visitors, including those who require a visit visa or entry permit to enter Hong Kong (Visa-required Nationals) and residents of the Mainland, Macao and Taiwan.

First launched on 29 June 2020, the Pilot Scheme provides immigration facilitation for eligible nationals of countries who may visit Hong Kong visa-free (Visa-free Nationals) and possess a Letter of Proof (the Letter) to participate in arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong as visitors without the need to obtain an employment visa. It covered four categories of Visa-free Nationals, namely: (i) arbitrators; (ii) expert and factual witnesses; (iii) counsel in the arbitration; and (iv) parties to the arbitration (Eligible Persons). The duration that they may stay in Hong Kong for participating in arbitral proceedings shall not exceed the current visa-free period for visit. It was to be reviewed in two years' time.

Upon review, the scope of the Pilot Scheme is now expanded to also cover Eligible Persons who are Visa-required Nationals and residents of the Mainland, Macao and Taiwan. For the avoidance of doubt, such persons are still required to apply for the requisite visit visa or entry permit in order to enter Hong Kong. Eligible Persons are permitted to stay in Hong Kong for participating in arbitral proceedings for a period not exceeding the period for which they are permitted to remain in Hong Kong as a visitor.

Persons who seek to benefit from the Pilot Scheme shall, prior to their entry into Hong Kong, obtain the Letter confirming that they are Eligible Persons participating in arbitral proceedings in Hong Kong:

The exit endorsement for talents (EET) travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao is implemented in the Mainland cities of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) on a pilot basis starting from 20 February 2023. Under the EET, GBA legal talents (including arbitrators) with a valid Exit-entry Permit will be able to travel to Hong Kong with unlimited entries within a year for a maximum of 30 days per visit. The EET which gives outbound facilitation for GBA arbitrators will complement the Pilot Scheme which gives inbound facilitation for all visitors, including Mainland residents in the GBA. For details of the EET, please visit the National Immigration Administration website (available in Chinese only).