Macao Special Administrative Region passport
The Macao Special Administrative Region passport (Portuguese: Passaporte da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau; Chinese: 澳門特別行政區護照) is a passport issued to Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of Macau.
|Macao Special Administrative Region passport|
The front cover of the Macau SAR ePassport issued since September 2009
|Date first issued||1999 (first version)|
September 2009 (biometric passport)
|Type of document||Passport|
|Eligibility requirements||Chinese citizens who are permanent residents of Macau|
|Expiration||10 years after acquisition for adults aged 16 or over, 5 for children|
In accordance with Macau Basic Law, since the transfer of sovereignty over Macau on 20 December 1999, this passport has been issued by the Identification Services Bureau (under the Secretariat for Administration and Justice) of the government of Macau under the prerogative of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China.
According to the nationality law of the People's Republic of China and the explanations given for some questions by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress concerning the implementation of nationality law in Macau, any Macau permanent resident holding Chinese nationality can apply for the Macau SAR passport.
Many residents of Macau also possess Portuguese citizenship by virtue of being born in Macau before 3 October 1981, naturalization, or being born to parents with Portuguese citizenship in Macau. Such citizens are also eligible for, and often hold, a Portuguese passport, which grants more visa-free countries than the MSAR passport as well as permitting free movement of passport holders in the European Union.
The latest version of the passport, a biometric passport, was first issued by the Direcção dos Serviços de Identificação at the start of September 2009, replacing the previous machine-readable type.
The cover of the passport is coloured bottle green with the National Emblem of the People's Republic of China emblazoned centermost at the front. The passport's front cover is inscribed with the titles of the PRC and the SAR in Chinese: 中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區護照; Portuguese: Região Administrativa Especial de Macau, República Popular da China, Passaporte and English: Macao Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China, Passport. Each passport consists of 48 numbered pages of size 125 mm × 88 mm (4.9 in × 3.5 in) emprinted with artistic designs featuring Macau's world culture heritage sites.
Besides personal data, the supplemental page of passport is printed with the picture and fingerprint of that holder.
Macau SAR passports are only issued by the Direcção dos Serviços de Identificação (the Macau SAR Identification Department) in Macau. An applicant must fill out an application form possess a Macau SAR Permanent Resident Identity Card and two recent 1½-inch colour photos along with (if replacing an old passport) their prior Macau SAR Passport.
Qualified applicants can apply in Macau or overseas, if necessary.+
Although MSAR passport is endorsed by Chinese government, the Ministry of Public Security does not accept MSAR passports for traveling between the mainland and Macau, since both mainland and Macau authorities agreed that using a passport for 'domestic' travel is 'unnecessary' and 'inappropriate'. However, those who are eligible for a Macau SAR passport are also eligible to apply for a Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Residents (colloquially known as a Home Return Permit through the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) which serves as a travel document to travel to the mainland, which is represented in Macau by the China Travel Service. The issuance is entirely at the discretion of the MPS, and so the possession of a Macau SAR passport does not necessarily guarantee the issuing of a Home Return Permit.
Macao residents who travel to the mainland from a third country without Home Return Permit may obtain Chinese Travel Document from the overseas Chinese embassies or consulates prior to travel.
Regardless of their citizenship status, Macau permanent residents do not need passports to enter Hong Kong. Instead, residents must bring their permanent ID card, which grants 180-day visa free access to Hong Kong. Non-permanent residents can use a Visit Permit for Residents of Macao to HKSAR to enter Hong Kong for up to 30 days visa-free
According to Macau's Identity Services Bureau, as of January 2018 Macau SAR passport holders enjoy visa-free access to 136 countries and territories worldwide, including all Member States of the European Union, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea. According to the Henley Passport Index, in 2019 the Macau SAR passport was ranked as the 36th most powerful passport worldwide; in contrast, the Hong Kong SAR passport was ranked 19th, while the PRC passport was ranked 74th.
As Chinese citizens, holders of a Macau Special Administrative Region passport are entitled to full consular protection by Chinese foreign missions abroad.
Macau SAR passport holders may undertake a paid activity (i.e. work) visa-free for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period in the Schengen Agreement signatory states of Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden (though not in Portugal). In Switzerland, another Schengen signatory state, Macao SAR passport holders can apply for a permit for "gainful occupation" of maximum 8 days in a calendar year during their visa-exempt stay without needing to apply for a work visa; however, this 8-day exemption does not cover occupation in the primary or secondary construction industry, civil engineering, catering and hotel services, industrial and private cleaning industries, surveillance and security services, and sex industry. Alternatively, if in possession of a long term residence permit issued by any other Schengen member state, a Macau SAR passport holder may undertake gainful occupation for up to 3 months visa-free in Switzerland without any of the aforementioned industry restrictions. In Croatia (a European Union member state but not a Schengen agreement signatory state), Macao SAR passport holders may undertake a paid activity (i.e. work) visa-free for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
Macau SAR passport holders aged between 18 and 30 are eligible to apply under the Working Holiday Scheme by the New Zealand Government. If successful, a visa is issued which permits the holder to spend up to 12 months in New Zealand for the primary purpose of travel but allowing for supplementary short-term employment or study. The scheme is highly competitive as applicants from Macau and Mainland China are subject to a quota of 1000 visas annually (there is a separate quota for Hong Kong applicants).
On 10 April 2013, the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, announced that, starting from 2015, holders of Macao SAR e-passports (along with Hong Kong SAR and PRC passport holders) would be able to use SmartGates in Australia on a trial basis. The three passports were permanently included in the list of eligible nationalities in June 2016.
- Chio In Fong. "Issue of Nationality of Macao-Born Portuguese". unesco.org.mo. Archived from the original on 4 February 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2006.
- "About Electronic Travel Documents" (PDF) (Press release). dsi.gov.mo. 29 June 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 December 2010.
- refer to the web site of DSI  Archived December 10, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "Visa-free List" (PDF). dsi.gov.mo. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "Henley Passport Index 2006 to 2019". Henley Passport Index.
- "Information pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement". Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- "Federal Office of Migration: List 1: Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality (version of 4 December 2011)" (PDF). admin.ch. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
- "China Working Holiday Scheme". Immigration.govt.nz. Retrieved 2011-12-06.
- "Australia locks in annual leadership talks with China". abc.net.au. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 11 April 2018.