Moving to China



While China's phenomenal economic boom has attracted over 200,000 of expats to work, its worsening pollution has kept some at bay in recent days. It is not surprising to see locals with a mask on. The government is also making a concerted effort to boost public hygiene levels. 

China’s biggest draw is that it is steeped in history. The old ways and the ancient culture are deeply embedded, but certainly not holding back China’s unprecedented growth. One can expect to get a stable job and good quality of life there.


For expats, experiencing a new culture is part of the thrill of life abroad, but in China's case, the language can provide expats with an intense challenge. Before moving to this vast country, learning at least some conversational Mandarin is a must.

Take the time to practice courtesy words like "xie xie ni" (thank you), "ma fan ni" (may I trouble you to . . . or please do me a favor), "mei you guan xi" (that's alright), and "dui bu chi" (I'm sorry, or excuse me).

Although Mandarin is one of the most difficult languages to learn, practice makes perfect. Putting in extra time and effort in to learn their language sends a powerful message of respect and goodwill to the local people.


There are three types of residence permits: permanent residence permits issued to those holding a D visa that is renewable every ten years, temporary residence permits valid for 6-12 months, and Foreigner Residence Permits valid for one year and annually renewable. Residence permits are tied to a physical address. Therefore should you change residence, you must register the move with the local PSB before the relocation date. Once you've arrived at your new location, be sure to register with your new PSB office. Note that failure to register with your friendly neighbourhood PSB can get you deported.

You also need to register with your embassy or consulate (online, fax, or in person) in case a natural disaster strike or political unrest breaks out. The Chinese government does not look kindly on foreigners breaking its laws, so ensure you adhere to the local legislation at all times.

Only those with residency visas are allowed to bring pets into China. Customs officials require health and vaccination certificates from your vet verifying that your pet is in good health and all vaccinations are up to date. Your pet needs to be quarantined at your residence and must pass an official evaluation after a month or two.

Currency and economy

The Chinese currency is called Renminbi (RMB), which consists of yuan, jiao, and fen. Ten jiao make up one yuan, and ten fens make up one jiao. Money is issued in notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100yuan, and 1 yuan coins. There are also notes for 1, 2, five jiao, and 5 and one jiao coins. Fens are issued as coins.

Keep in mind that China has established some very strict regulations on foreign currency exchange. Exchanging yuans back to foreign currencies usually requires a copy of the original currency exchange receipt. Living in one of the oldest cultures in the world gives you an amazing opportunity to learn about its history, geography, culture, and the rapid progress. However, living in a country that does not speak your native language is not always easy.

The reign of economic power is shifting to the Far East, and China's economic might is evident. Whatever your reason for staying in China, if you choose to live abroad, you will be able to witness first-hand the resurgence of the Middle Kingdom.


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