Moving to China guide

Moving to China

Chine / Kina

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A Guide to Relocating to China

Want to move to Beijing? Considering moving to Shanghai? Here’s the moving advice you’ll need for any international removal to China…

Moving Household Goods And Personal Effects To China

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to China:

  • Original Passport (Of the individual moving/importing the goods) with residence permit (valid at least 1 year) Packing moving inventory list in English or Chinese (diplomat list must be signed and itemized) – We will complete this if you want us to undertake a full packing service for your removal
  • Ocean bill of lading (OBL) / telex release / air waybill (AWB) – We will take care of this if completing the entire international removal to China for you.
  • Arrival notice (sea shipments)
  • List of electronic items
  • Baggage declaration form, if applicable (2 copies, matching identically)
  • Alcohol / wine list
  • Consulate officer certificate (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Import permit (Consulate or Embassy must apply for diplomats)
  • Diplomatic card (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Pro-forma invoice (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Original work permit (valid at least 1 year)
  • Original Passport (Of the individual moving/importing the goods) with diplomatic visa (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)

We recommend providing these as soon as possible to reduce delays with your removal to China. Late receipt of documentation can lead to missed shipments, additional charges and penalties at Chinese Customs. For your own protection, we will almost never ship your goods without the above in place.

Additional Removal Advice

  • The import of personal effects must be arranged at least 6 months before the expiration of the residence permit.
  • The import permit takes approximately 2-3 working days to process and is valid for 30 days after issuance.
  • The baggage declaration form is required by some cities only. Contact agent for more information.
  • Customs clearance for returning Chinese takes approximately 10-12 business days.
  • Chinese passport holders should contact the agent for restrictions on import shipments.
  • It is recommended that each antique included in the shipment is photographed.
  • Diplomatic shipments are exempt from inspection, duties and taxes.
  • If the owner of the goods has both, sea and air shipments, an import permit application for both shipments must be completed at the same time.
  • If the owner of the goods imports an additional shipment (air or sea), all items in the shipment are subject to tax and duty.
  • All electrical items must be clearly indicated on the moving inventory, including model, serial number and size.
  • Only one sea and one air shipment are allowed per residence permit.
  • Sea shipments take approximately 10-15 working days to clear Customs.
  • Air shipments take approximately 3-5 working days to clear Customs.
  • If gross weight is over 300 kg, it may take approximately 10-15 working days to clear Customs in some cities, e.g. Shanghai.
  • Estimates are based on completed documentation available at the time of shipment arrival and for Customs clearance.
  • Duties are determined by Customs updated duty tariff dated August 2007, using an exchange rate of US $1=RMB 6.70. Note: The official rate is constantly fluctuating and is subject to change. Please contact agents with any questions regarding current exchange rates.
  • Duty rates for air shipments are usually 30% higher than sea shipments.
  • An official Customs duty receipt will be issued and provided to the shipper upon delivery.
  • Import duties for alcoholic beverages are extremely high and beverages are not recommended for inclusion in the shipment.
  • It is recommended that food items, alcohol, cosmetics, health products and toiletries are not included in air shipments to China.
  • Business / tourist visas are issued for a maximum duration of stay for 30, 60, or 90 days as determined by the Chinese Consulate overseas.
  • Wood packaging material imported into China must be heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and properly marked according to ISPM-15 standards.

Note: Customs regulations may differ between cities. It is important to contact agent for specific information prior to importation.

Popular Destinations in China

Global Moving Services is vastly experience in international removals to cities all over the globe. Their long history and detailed knowledge of different countries makes them the perfect choice for your move. Here are some of the most popular destinations we are asked to move people to in China:

Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Wuhan, Dongguan, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou. Get a quote to one of these places

Need Help?

If you are unsure about what you need, one of our international move managers is always willing to help. Just call us on +44 121 392 1720, or fill out an international removal enquiry, and we’ll ease you through the process.

Moving Your Money

If you’re moving to China, it’s very likely you’ll have to exchange a large amount of currency. Many people waste thousands doing this through their bank as they think there is no alternative; but we partner with Global Reach who specialise in doing just this. Global Reach will offer all Global Moving Services customers preferential rates when exchanging currency and guarantee to beat other rates you’re receiving. Ask one of our move managers about this, to find out more click here or give us a call: +44 121 392 1720.

Get Insurance

We always advise taking out an insurance policy with us on every move. Although we like to think we’re the best in the industry, the odd accident can occasionally happen. For added peace of mind, make sure to speak to one of our move managers about this.

If you have already contracted us for your international removal to China, then you can download the insurance form and email the completed form back to your international relocation manager.

Moving Your Car Or Motorcycle

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning to move your vehicle to China:

  • Original purchase invoice / log book with chassis and engine number
  • Import permit (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Details of the vehicle including brand name and style (e.g., sedan, SUV, color, vehicle identification number (VIN) number, etc.

Additional Import Advice

  • Only left-hand drive vehicles with no conversion can be imported.
  • Only persons with diplomatic card / working for a joint venture / a wholly-owned foreign company can import motor vehicles.
  • Automobiles manufactured prior to January 1, 2005, must comply with Euro IV standards and undergo environmental and mechanical inspections.
  • The import of motor vehicles, including automobiles, is not recommended for non-diplomatic shipments.

Relocating Your Pets to China

These documents will be required when planning to relocate your pet to China:

  • Veterinary Health Certificate
  • Vaccination Record

Additional Import Advice

  • Animals are subject to in-house quarantine upon arrival.
  • A small fee is required for the examination of pets by an inspector.
  • Animals are subject to examination by an inspector at the owner’s residence in China within 30 days following arrival.
Restricted & Dutiable/Taxable Items

Think very carefully before moving these items to China. Items on this list will be taxed and/or require specific permission to import. In all cases they must be declared prior to you relocating to China:

  • CDs, VCDs, DVDs, LDs, and videotapes may total no more than 100 items to import duty free; items are subject to inspection and will be returned approximately 4 weeks after clearance is completed.
  • More than 20 pieces is dutiable for returning Chinese citizens.
  • These items are subject to a Customs inspection of approximately 2-3 weeks.
  • Personal computers with encryption capabilities require an approval of installed software prior to importation.
  • Personal computers with simple password software, such as Microsoft products, contained in the household goods and personal effects shipment is generally acceptable.
  • Antiques should be registered to avoid issues upon re-export in the future due to the strict regulations on Chinese Customs regarding the export of antiques.
  • Milk powder and manufactured meat cannot be included in air shipments.
  • Electrical appliances (duties of 20%)
  • Books (a letter of explanation must be included and detail where the books were purchased, the total number, the book titles and value of each, the subject matter etc., e.g., work, study. More than 10 books are dutiable (returning Chinese).
  • Food products must be dry goods, original canned or vacuum packed, in sealed packaging only.
  • One small carton of food items may be included in air shipments and two or three small cartons for sea shipments.
  • Food products are subject to duties of approximately 10% of the declared value.
  • Customs reserves the right to levy higher duties and taxes on quantities deemed commercial.
  • Duty rates apply to the items listed as follows:
  • Golf clubs 30%
  • Furniture 15%
  • Lamps 30%
Prohibited/Banned Items
Do not move any of these items to China:
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Perishable food items (items containing the essence or extract from eggs are subject to confiscation or destruction)
  • Politically subversive materials
  • Medicines and other items from epidemic stricken areas
  • POE / AOE Chengdu: billiard and pool tables
  • Fax / photocopy machines
  • Grand and baby grand pianos (contact agent for specific information)
  • Alcohol (Beijing)
  • Drugs
  • Pornographic materials
  • The following additional items are prohibited in GMS Baggage/Courier Consignments:
    • Aerosols (all kinds, Hairspray, Deodorant etc)
    • Aftershaves / Perfumes / Fragrances
    • Airbags
    • Alcoholic Drinks or Bottles
    • Ammunition of any kind
    • Animals of any kind (Dead or Alive)
    • Any items containing Petrol (Liquid, Gas or Fumes)
    • Biological Samples
    • Car Batteries
    • Cash & Cards (Credit / Debit)
    • Chainsaws
    • Cheques (Bank)
    • Christmas Crackers
    • Counterfeit Currency
    • Dangerous Goods
    • Driving Licence
    • Drugs (Including Prescription)
    • Engines
    • Excrement / Filth
    • Fire Extinguishers
    • Fish (Dead or Live)
    • Foodstuffs (all kinds)
    • Hazardous Goods
    • Human Remains (including ashes)
    • Infectious Substances
    • Knives
    • Laptop Computers, Mobile/Smart Phones or Tablets
    • Lighters
    • Lottery Tickets
    • Nail Varnish / Nail Varnish Remover
    • Oils
    • Paints
    • Passports
    • Perishable Goods (All)
    • Plants / Seeds etc
    • Printer Toner
    • Seatbelt Tensioners and Steering Wheels
    • Stamps
    • Tobacco
    • Water
    • Weapons (all kinds, including replicas)
    • Windscreens

Disclaimer: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This information is provided as a guide only. While Global Moving Services has exercised reasonable care in publishing this information, Global Moving Services makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.