Press Release

Two million residents hold HKSAR passports

The number of Hong Kong SAR passports issued to residents topped the two million mark today (July 12).

The Director of Immigration, Mr Lai Tung Kwok, said the government attached great importance to facilitating travel for Hong Kong residents.

"This factor is essential if Hong Kong is to maintain its status as a world class trading and financial centre. In fact, Hong Kong residents love to travel and their foot prints have been left around the globe," he said.

"The aim of the department is to achieve the target of 'one passport in hand, worldwide acceptable'".

Coinciding with the presentation of the two-millionth Hong Kong SAR passport to Ms To Oi-yan today, the government announced that another territory had granted visa-free access for holders of Hong Kong passports.

The latest is the Caribbean island state of Aruba. The Consulate-General of the Netherlands confirmed that Aruba had granted visa-free access for Hong Kong passport holders for a maximum stay of up to three months with immediate effect.

This brings to 114 the number of countries/territories agreeing to give this status to Hong Kong.

In receiving her passport, Ms To said she was thrilled to become the holder of the two millionth HKSAR passport. "I never imagined I would be so lucky. I will be able to enjoy visa-free facilities for my coming trip to Europe."

Mr Lai said the passport was becoming more convenient for its holders to travel abroad for pleasure or business; and the government would continue lobbying to get more countries to grant Hong Kong visa-free facilities.

End/Friday, July 12, 2002

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