In a few days I should go fly to Beijing and then would like the 8 hour train from Beijing to Hong Kong using 144 TWOV.

The issue is that I have read a lot of articles/discussions online about people getting denied with having Turkish stamps in their passport.

The second issue is that I would like to take the high speed bullet train from Beijing West to Hong Kong, but I also read that this train doesn't qualify and only the slow 24 hour train qualify.

Third issue that doesn't help to these two previous are final destination Hong Kong, since the growing anti-Chinese protests in Hong Kong.

Should I ditch the fly ticket and move on or risk it and go?

  • 2
    For context, what's the price difference between flying direct vs high-speed train vs slow train?
    – smci
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 14:45

4 Answers 4


The important point is where you will pass through immigration.

The 144-hour visa-free transit requires that you stay within a certain area of your arrival point, and depart the country from within that same area. For Beijing, that means that you must stay within the Beijing/Tianjin/Hebei area - which obviously does not include the vast majority of the distance to Hong Kong!

As you've said, there are a few options for trains to Hong Kong. The high-speed "G" trains which take around 9 hours, and the conventional "Z" trains which take around 24 hours.

Other than the speed, these trains are also different in where you pass through immigration. For the high-speed G trains, both Chinese and Hong Kong immigration occurs in Hong Kong. This means that these trains are NOT eligible for the 144 hour visa-free transit, as you are travelling across much of China before officially exiting the country - which is not allowed under this visa-free transit.

However for the slower Z trains, you pass through immigration in Beijing before departing - which meets the requirements of the visa-free transit. Thus it IS possible to catch these trains to Hong Kong using the 144-hour visa free program.

The 144 hours visa program is only available to citizens of 53 countries, which does not include Turkey. However, as long as you are a citizen of one of those countries then having a Turkish visa in your passport should not be an issue. I have multiple Turkish visas in my passport, and have never had a problem entering China.

  • 8
    You conviced me to go and take the plane instead of train. Thank you
    – Milan
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 10:13
  • Note that the Z (intercity) train is still suspended post-COVID, and one wonders if it will in fact ever come back given the existence of the high-speed service.
    – mlc
    Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 0:54

While Doc’s answer covers the most important formalities, in case you are interested why you can only take the slower Z sleeper train, The Man in Seat 61 has the answer:

  • The fast G train calls multiple times between Beijing and Hong Kong, making it a ‘normal’ train. TWOV rules require you to stay in a small area of the country (i.e. the Beijing area) but once you’re on that train you could just exit anywhere en route and defy the rules.

  • The slow Z sleeper train has no passenger stops between Hong Kong and Beijing. To quote:

    The train stops twice between Beijing and Hong Kong but you can't get off the train for a smoke or small walk as they lock the doors.

    That’s also why they can do immigration formalities at Beijing West: they know that everybody who boards that train will leave China. Thus, that is indeed an international departure in the Beijing area.

    (In actual operation, the Hong Kong train gets coupled to one from Guangzhou. While passengers between Guangzhou and Beijing can board or alight at any intermediate station, passengers going to our coming from Hong Kong can only board or alight at Beijing.)

  • 2
    You answered my question before I could ask it :-) I find it amazing that they would consider such a long distance for a non-stop “international” service like this, it’s probably quite unique.
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 12:37
  • 1
    Follow-up question about the longest non-stop train: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/148583/…
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 12:46
  • 2
    Wow, that's crazy. Why would anyone take such a train route instead of flying, other than for the novelty of a long train ride?
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 17:59
  • 1
    @JonathanReez Hey, I would most certainly opt for a 24 hour train ride over a couple of hours flight if I am not subject to time and money constraints. Especially since that train looks not bad over at Seat61.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 18:00
  • This answer is NOT correct, or at least not when talking about the entire train. The train makes 4 stops along the way that SOME passengers may get on/off at. Wikipedia has the details - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing%E2%80%93Kowloon_through_train
    – Doc
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 21:46

There are 2 issues here:

  1. You have to make sure you're holding a passport in the list of eligible countries, having a Turkish visa stamp on your passport doesn't matter but having a Turkish passport will NOT make you eligible for this program
  2. If you use the 144 hour visa, you can only stay within the administrative precincts of your port of entry (Beijing), so getting on a train to Hong Kong would likely violate that
  • 2
    I'm fairly sure this is NOT correct. Although generally the 144 hour visa-free transit does require you to stay in the Beijing area, I believe catching a train that leaves from Beijing to a foreign "country" (ie, Hong Kong) meets this requirement. You would need to hold the train ticket in advance of landing in Beijing.
    – Doc
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 5:05

I think there's a misunderstanding here, though it may be on my part.  The 144-hour transit visa effectively allows a 144-hour layover in a Chinese city on the way to a different country.  And according to a citation-free statement in Wikipedia, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan count are treated as "different countries" for the TWOV.  So the time between planes (or between plane and train?) would be up to 144 hours, and Beijing to Hong Kong would be the second leg of your journey.

  • 144 hours is counted from 00:00 the next day. The meter stops when you pass through Immigration, which, in the case of the slow train, is Beijing West Station. That's also why the OP won't be able to take the HSR, as the rules state you have to stay within Beijing/Tianjin. And HK indeed counts as an international destination.
    – dda
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 3:27
  • Yes, and because it counts as another country, the TWOV time ends when you board the train for Hong Kong. (If you leave the train before arriving in HK, then you become an illegal immigrant)
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 6:57
  • 2
    @WGroleau that worked with the slower train which was non-stop to HK, and for which you went through exit formalities in Beijing (on board the train you would have been “neither in the mainland nor in HK”, like on board a plane. This doesn’t work for services which stop en route and for which you go through exit formalities in HK (you remain in China the whole way).
    – jcaron
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 7:13
  • OK, I'll have to acknowledge it probably works that way. I think it should but I don't make the rules.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 19:39

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