The Immigration Department on Thursday launched a free mobile application to help travellers choose the least congested route in or out of the city.
The Hong Kong Immigration app gives approximate waiting times for the city’s six control points bordering the mainland: Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, Lok Ma Chau, Man Kam To, Sha Tau Kok and Shenzhen Bay.
Principal immigration officer for information systems production Lok Wai-man said: “This mobile application enables Hong Kong residents and visitors to check the estimated waiting time of all land boundary control points at any time or place."
"Then they can plan their trips effectively and save time queuing at control points,” Lok said.
The app is updated every 15 minutes and a traffic light code signals waiting times. It has two profiles to give different estimates for residents and visitors because visitors usually spent longer times in border checks.
A green status in the app means a waiting time of less than 15 minutes for a resident and less than 30 minutes for a traveller.
The department has pledged to clear 95 per cent of visitor arrivals within 30 minutes and 98 per cent of residents within 15 minutes.
The app is available in English as well as traditional and simplified Chinese and is compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets.
It also contains the addresses and office hours of all Immigration Department offices and control points, a list of countries Hong Kong passport-holders can enter without visas, visitor visa and entry permit requirements for visitors to the city, information on the 24-hour hotline for residents abroad and a list of Chinese embassies, consulates, missions and representative offices.
Lok said the app cost HK$130,000 and took nine months to develop.