What is the change? Hong Kong has introduced Smart Departure, an automated departure gate system for travelers leaving Hong Kong International Airport.

What does the change mean? The automated gates use facial recognition to verify the traveler’s identity by matching the photo taken upon arrival with the photo taken at departure.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The system went into effect Tuesday.
  • Who is affected: Travelers 11 or older traveling to Hong Kong with electronic passports.
  • Impact on processing times: The automated service saves time at departure.
  • Business impact: Business travelers will benefit from the convenience of the automated departure gates.

Background: Upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, travelers will be given landing slips bearing the Smart Departure logo and indicating that the traveler is eligible to use self-service departure. The Hong Kong Immigration Department is expected to expand the service to other airports and checkpoints.

BAL Analysis: The self-service departure gates will streamline immigration controls for travelers. Travelers who are enrolled in the e-Channel service are not affected and they should continue to use those services to clear immigration.