How to make a successful move to China

If you are moving to China and wanting to transport your household goods and personal effects to China. You don’t want to miss this. Having been in this industry for more than 15 years, I am best positioned in telling you what to look out when you plan a move and shipping of your household goods. 

Paperwork – You will need to have one year work permit and residence permit to clear the China customs for your household shipment. By the time you get the Z visa or R visa and are ready to fly to China, your new employer has already done majority of the work, but that’s not done yet. You will need to go through some of the last steps when you are in the country to complete the process, and that takes about 2-3 weeks before you can actually get the actual work permit (nowadays a card – same size as a ID card or a bank card) and the residence permit which is pasted into your passport in the VISA pages. Please emphasize to your employer that the work permit must be applied for at least a full year, not even a day short. For example, a work permit with a start date of Oct 01, 2023 and an end date of Sep 30, 2024 is for a full year. If it is from Oct 01, 2023 to Sep 29, 2024, it is one day short and you won’t be able to bring your shipment to China with this work permit. The residence permit often comes with several days short but it is okay. Your moving company should make sure that your shipment does not arrive in the port of China before these paperwork are in place. It would cause additional fees otherwise. Depends on what the origin country is, your shipment may need to be stored in the origin country for some time. This is most probably required when you move from another asian country to China. This means, when you select a moving company, whether or not this company has a reliable storage facility is very important. 

Customs clearance procedure in China – it is a two step process. Firstly, customs check the paperwork and if they are qualified as mentioned above, they will issue an import permit. This step takes 2-5 working days. You’d better not arrange any travels the following week of your shipment’s arrival because your passport and work permit are required in original. The second step is to wait for the customs to schedule a date to inspect your shipment. China customs inspect every inbound shipment. This implies that your moving company needs to include the customs inspection fee in the move quotation in the first place. The inspection takes several hours and how it is conducted varies from city to city. In some ports, customs x-rays each box and open some of the boxes for physical inspection. While in some other cities, customs directly pick up some of the boxes for physical inspection. If all goes well with the inspection, your shipment gets released the same day and can be delivered as early as the next day. 

Customs restrictions – generally, you are not allowed to ship dangerous/flammable goods, porno stuffs, medications, perishable goods etc. Particularly for China, you are not allowed to ship excessive amount of alcohols, food, books, audio/video CD/DVDs, etc.If this is the first time you bring a household shipment (couriers, international mails do not count) to China, most of your goods will be free of import duty and taxes with the exceptions to some categories such as alcohols, tobacco products, etc. If you have been to China and shipped a household move before, your shipment will be fully dutiable at a rate of about 15%-50% of their customs assessed values depending on their commodities. In such cases, items like TV, piano, golf clubs are better not to be sent, because the customs assessed value as well as the duty % for these goods are very high. For example, they’d charge a 50% on a 60′ TV which could be assessed at a value of U$2,000. So you’d end up paying $1,000 for a used TV while you could buy a brand new TV with this amount of money in China. 

Other points to note -additional fees to expect – the whole customs clearance procedure takes about 10-20 days, while the port/shipping lines offer only 3 to 5 days free of charge for port storage and/or container detention. So do budget a sum of about U$ 300- 1,000 for port storage/ container detention, depends on the size of your shipment. Most residential areas in China do not allow access for container trailers due to traffic rules. The delivery of your shipment usually comes with a local shuttle truck/shuttle van. This cost needs to be communicated and included in your quote in the first place.

I hope you find this article useful, if you are looking for a moving quote, please feel free to contact us. 


#internationalmoving, #moving-to-china

Contact Info

Phone Number:

General Email Address:

National Sales Manager: Patrick Kung

Customer Services Manager: Alison Shaw