Moving Personal Possessions Into China

From ChinaExpat.Wiki


Moving your personal possessions into China really changes the feeling of being in China to one of really living. Coming home and really feeling at home can make an enormous emotional difference.

Bringing your things into China falls into two categories:

  1. Bringing things in lots of suitcases and care parcels; or
  2. Hiring an international mover to ship your things in a container.

Depending on what stage of life you are in and how many things you have, you may make different choices. Bringing in a container is considerably more expensive and, for many people, the cost of bringing the goods in may outweigh the cost of simply buying new things in China. This is especially true when you consider that many things are cheaper in China than overseas and that it may be an opportunity to upgrade.

Using an International Mover to Relocate to China[edit | edit source]

It is possible to move your goods into China in larger quantities without an agent, but it is considerably more difficult and not necessarily a lot cheaper.

Import Tax Exemption[edit | edit source]

If you are a non-Chinese citizen with a valid Chinese working visa, you will have one chance in your life to bring in a shipment of goods tax-free. This can include a car and items that you carry separately on the plane, but you must group these as part of a single customs declaration. Once you have made your declaration, you can no longer add additional items to your consignment.

If you are a Chinese citizen who moved overseas to study, you should be eligible for a limited exemption of up to USD 5000 worth of goods. You should note that the valuation of the goods is done according to the customs office's interpretation of their value, not what you believe the items are worth.

IMPORTANT: If you move out of China and want to move back again, you will not be granted a second opportunity to bring your goods in tax-free again.

Full Import Tax[edit | edit source]

If you do not qualify for the exemptions above, you will likely be looking at paying full tax on all the items you bring in with you. This tax is calculated on a percentage of the ascribed new value of the products. You should note that the valuation of the goods is done according to the customs office's interpretation of their value, not what you believe the items are worth. In some cases that tax may massively overstate the value of the goods with the tax on items such as coffee machines and golf clubs based on premium new values.

When you arrange your shipping, make sure to get an estimate on the taxes in advance as they can sometimes cost more than all other shipping costs combined.

Restricted Items[edit | edit source]

Knives - This includes all knives, including butter knives and box cutters Drugs - This includes medical drugs and illicit drugs Food - Any kind of fresh or preserved food Liquids - Not strictly prohibited, but may void your insurance if something leaks during shipping Weapons - This includes guns, swords and any number of other dangerous items Dangerous - Anything with a danger warning label on it is at risk of not being allowed to be shipped