Relocation to China



China is the most populous nation with a total inhabitant of 1.3 billion people and the second-largest country by land area. Relocating to this East Asian giant not only means a prosperous career step, but also the chance to get to know one of the most ancient cultures in world history. 

China is a massive country that is divided into five autonomous regions, 22 provinces and four municipalities namely Chongqing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Beijing. Most expats relocating to this country are assigned in the major urban cities such as Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Beijing where most multinational companies are situated. It is undoubted that China has one of the most robust economies in the world and serves as the largest exporter of goods, but expats who will relocate here should prepare themselves for overcrowding as well as growing issue of pollution. 



Visa is the most important thing to secure when planning to relocate to China. Unless the purpose is for a tour, expats should allot a minimum of two months to prepare the required documents and to process their visa. However, bear in mind that a Chinese visa is only valid within three months after it was issued so make sure to fly in before the expiry date. There are several types of visa for China and applicants should prepare several documents to ensure smooth processing. Some of them are: 

  • Passport that is valid for at least six months
  • Duly accomplished application form
  • Passport size photo
  • Letter of invitation from a Chinese sponsor (ex. University or company)
  • Medical examination certificate 

Renting a House 

Most expats that are under a relocation programme to China have housing benefit from their employers. However, for those who need to take care of their accommodation, need to prepare ahead of time since China is a massive country with too many people. Looking for an apartment/house should be done a few weeks before arriving in China. Expats can browse through online portals to get an idea about the different neighbourhoods and rental price range. 

  • One-bedroom apartment (Beijing) - €950 per month
  • Three-bedroom apartment (Beijing)- €2,250 per month 

Hiring the service of a real estate company is also a good option for those who are not fluent in speaking Mandarin. The payment for a broker’s service is usually split in half between the landlord and the tenant, but there are also some agencies that ask the property owners to shoulder 70% of the fee of their real estate agents.

Moving your belongings

Expats, especially those from liberal countries, should be mindful that China is an authoritative country stringent about law and order. As a communist nation, it exercises tight control over most things - from media, to immigration and crime. You can be punished severely for any action or open opinion that puts the country in a negative light.

Two copies of the baggage declaration are to be submitted by the shipper upon entering China. Items to be declared are goods shipped beyond amounts deemed reasonable for personal use, cameras and tape recorders, over RMB 20,000 in cash, gold or silver and ornamental items that weigh more than 50 grammes. Anything that is considered of commercial value besides one's personal baggage also has to be declared along with animals and plants for quarantine.

Shipping regulations

Among forbidden items are deadly weapons of all kinds, including radio transmitters and receivers as well as similar gadgets. All objects found to cast a negative light on China as a nation, including films, CD's and the likes of narcotics, infected animals and disease-carrying foodstuff are also restricted. 

Chinese shipment regulations are common and simple and should not pose considerable inconveniences to expats moving their belongings from home.If you need to ship most of your wardrobe and furniture, make sure to do a thorough research of shipping and removals companies in China to get a competitive quotation. 

It is wise to bring extra clothing as the Chinese tend to have smaller sizes and it may take a while for non-Asians to find a store where they can buy clothes that fit. Expats who need to be on maintenance medications should bring along their medicines. Personal effects are duty-free, provided that they will not be sold under any circumstances.



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