Do I need to apply for an employment visa in order to shoot in Hong Kong?
Overseas film crews who are non-visa nationals visiting Hong Kong for location scouting or meetings, etc, for a limited time within their visa or permit-free period, may not require a visa or permit to enter Hong Kong.
Whether employment visas are required depends mainly on the nature of activities in Hong Kong. It is best to check with the Immigration Department before coming to Hong Kong since each case is considered on individual basis. In case an employment visa is required, each member of a filming crew should apply for an individual visa, though applications may be submitted in a batch.
Visa /entry permit applications should be submitted to the Immigration Department by post or through a local sponsor. It may also be submitted through the Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Relevant supporting documents such as contract or letter of employment are required. A local sponsor, usually the prospective employer, will be required to vouch for an applicant. The usual processing time is 4 to 6 weeks. For further information, please visit the Immigration Department's website at www.immd.gov.hk.
What should I do if I want to shoot in the Mainland of China?
Most people require a visa to visit the Mainland of China. Other conditions are likely to apply if you are entering the Mainland for filming purposes. It is best to check with the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country before departing. For addresses of the Chinese Embassies in the US and the UK, visit http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/ and www.chinese-embassy.org.uk respectively.
Apart from applying directly to the Chinese Consulates, application for single or multiple-entry visas to the Mainland can also be submitted through travel agencies, or through the China Travel Service, which has several branch offices in Hong Kong.
What customs procedure will the crew go through when I enter Hong Kong?
Film crews entering Hong Kong are not subject to any special customs requirements, such as duties on the importation of equipment. However, if the equipment is covered by ATA Carnet, film crews should approach the Customs Duty Officer for endorsement upon arriving Hong Kong and prior to departing. Baggage and equipment are subject to normal customs checking. The website of the Customs and Excise Department is at www.customs.gov.hk/and its enquiry e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I have to apply for a filming permit in order to shoot in Hong Kong?
No, a general-purpose filming permit is not required.
Do I have to apply for a permit to shoot in public places?
While location filming in public places does not require a general-purpose filming permit, permission from the respective government departments is needed for filming on government land and premises, and within Hong Kong waters. They include country parks, marine parks, public housing estates, reservoirs, and venues or facilities operated by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, e.g. Tsim Sha Tsui East Waterfront Promenade, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, parks, gardens, swimming pools, bathing beaches, public sporting facilities, etc.
It is highly advisable for you to inform the TV and Films Liaison Section of the Hong Kong Police by telephone at (852) 2860 6186, or by fax at (852) 2200 4303, of your intention to shoot in public places. You should provide information on the place, date, time of shooting and a brief description of the plot. The information will be passed on to the police station concerned for appropriate arrangements.
I wish to use modified firearms and blank ammunition for filming purpose. Do I need to apply for a permit?
Yes, you must apply to the Commissioner of Police for an Exemption Permit. In addition, the transit of these firearms to a filming location must be covered by a Limited Licence for Possession issued by the Commissioner. Applications for the said Permit or Licence should be made to the Police Licensing Office, at a prescribed fee, at least 10 working days in advance. The telephone no. of the Police Licensing Office is (852) 2860 6536 / 6538, and its fax no. is (852) 2200 4323.
Furthermore, the holder of an Exemption Permit should apply in writing to the Police Public Relations Branch for the specific use of modified firearms and blank ammunition. The application should be submitted at least 3 working days prior to the intended date of shooting. It should include a written consent issued by the owner of the property where the shooting is going to take place.
Where can I find local production people and equipment to help me with the shooting?
You may refer to the production directory on the website . It provides a comprehensive list of contacts relating to Hong Kong film and video production companies.
I have so many questions. I need someone to talk to. Who should I approach?
The Facilitation Services Unit of the Film Services Office is a one-stop shop for crews filming in Hong Kong. It gives suggestions on filming locations, assists in location scouting, liaison and applications for permits/locations and problem shooting. Its website is www.fso-createhk.gov.hk and its contact telephone number is （852） 2594 5758 / 5759 / 5712 / 5800.