Citizens can renew their smart identity cards at nine replacement centers across the SAR until March 3 after the Immigration Department yesterday extended the operation for three more weeks to cater for a recent influx of returnees.
The department announced the extension of services at replacement centers from February 11 to March 3, and citizens can make appointments for February 11 and later from today.
March 3 will also be the last day for people to collect their renewed identity cards at the centers.
The extension decision was made "given that a number of citizens have returned to Hong Kong for identity card replacements recently," the Immigration Department explained.
Director of Immigration Au Ka-wang had said last week that since the ID card replacement drive commenced in 2018 his department has issued nearly 7.6 million new cards.
But it is estimated tens of thousands of citizens have yet to replace their cards.
To minimize waiting time at the centers citizens are being encouraged to make appointments via the booking site, ImmD Mobile Application, or the 24-hour hotline (2121-1234).
With the latest action was an appeal for applicants to fill out the application form when making appointments through the mobile application or the internet for faster replacement service.
After the extended period all nine replacement centers - in Wan Chai, Kwun Tong, Mong Kok, Tsuen Wan, Shek Mun, Sheung Shui, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tseung Kwan O - will cease to operate from March 4.
"Eligible citizens who have yet to apply for or to collect a new smart identity card on or before March 3 should do so at a Registration of Persons office," the department said, and more details will be announced.
They include citizens who have migrated or have not been in Hong Kong for the past four years amid strict Covid
If such people are absent from Hong Kong "they need not rush back to the SAR," a statement said. "They can also apply at a Registration of Persons office within 30 days of their future return to Hong Kong."
And people coming back for less than 30 days will not be considered to have broken the law for not having their HKID cards replaced.