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Thursday, March 02, 2000, updated at 09:09(GMT+8)


New Rule on Mainland Residents Visiting HK, Macao Relatives

A new rule aimed at standardizing the approval procedures for residents in the Chinese mainland visiting their relatives in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) will go into effect in March.

A notice released Wednesday by the Ministry of Public Security says the rule pledges to increase transparency during the approval process, so as to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.

Mainland residents with immediate family studying, permanently residing or working in the HKSAR and the MSAR are all entitled to apply for visits to their relatives in the two regions, and the applicants may get a permit with a one-month validity period, according to the rule.

Applicants who plan to visit their spouses, seriously sick or terminal patients may get three-month permits, and the same preferential policy will apply to people under 16 or older than 60. The new rule says the final tallies of mainland residents who make the visits each month will be published. According to the notice, mainland residents who apply for two or more times can be exempted from providing documentation to verify the family relationship, and those applicants under 16 or older than 60 can receive assistance from their guardians or theiragents. The new rule also demands that the entry and exit departments across the country handle the applications within 20 working days, or 40 working days in remote areas, but urgent applications should be handled more promptly.

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