Part of the requirements to be considered a legal citizen of Hong Kong is having a smart ID card among others. It’s also a good thing that the government has decided to upgrade the citizen’s smart card to become imbued with a special electronic chip to offer special features, such as access to public facilities such as libraries, among others on top of its common identification usage.
A few months ago, the government has announced that it will conduct a city-wide identity card replacement exercise which will apply to all of its residents, domestic helpers included. With this, the government urged all residents to participate in the initiative; otherwise, they will be charged with a fine of HKD 5,000.
Smart ID Cards can now be Replaced in Newly Opened Centres
In line with this development, nine new smart card identity replacement centres have been opened to assist the public for the project as of December 27 (Thursday), as shared in a report by news.gov.hk.
Among the first batch of residents to be assisted for the card replacement are the Chief Executive, Principal Officials, lawmakers, Executive Councillors, immigration staff, police officers and labour inspectors.
Also, the immigration department has tapped into new technologies to boost service convenience and efficiency of the process, which would take around 30 minutes to complete.
According to the Assistant Director of Immigration, Chan Tin-chee, the department has introduced a number of facilitation measures, which include the Self-service Tag Issuing Kiosks, Self-service Registration Kiosks as well as the Self-service Collection Kiosks.
Additionally, Mr. Chan offered some basic identity card photo-taking tips for applicants such as:
- Do not let your hair down or have anything cover your face.
- Do not wear coloured glasses or contact lens.
These reminders are to be taken into consideration for the facial recognition feature of the smart ID.
Upon completing the procedure, applicants may return to collect their new smart identity cards within 10 working days. The nine centres will be open from 8 am up to 10 pm on Mondays to Saturdays.
Of note, all nine replacement centres will be using a quota system. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to make prior appointments, which can be done 24 working days in advance using the department’s mobile application.
Hong Kong residents who are based overseas can replace their identity cards within 30 days of returning, even if they did not make it to their designated cycle period.