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Moving to China


Capital: Beijing
Population: 1.357 billion (2013)
Area: 3,705,407 square miles
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. Shanghai 2. Beijing 3. Chongqing 4. Tianjin 5. Guangzhou
Lanuage: Standard Mandarin
Climate: Dry, windy and temperate.

Searching for a reputable company to move your household goods to China? We will love to help you make this a pleasant experience. Here at Nationwide Van Lines, we value our customers and their goods. From a few items to an entire household, Nationwide Van Lines will guide you and your furniture to a destination of satisfaction. Allow us to take charge to send you on your way to China the right way.

Import Requirements and Documentation

Your appearance at Customs is a must for the receipt of your household goods shipment. Prior to your shipment arriving to China, you must have your Personal Registration of Owner of Goods and your Employer’s Registration approved. You are only allowed one sea shipment per 6 months.

Import Declaration – A document stating the household goods being shipped.

Customs Value Declaration – A document used to calculate duties and taxes that states the value of the entire household shipment.

Certificate of Origin – Certificate that certify the place of export.

Certificate of Analysis – Certificate that approve goods have been inspected.

Inspection Certificate – The clearance of inspection of your goods by the commodity inspection authorities.

Health Certificate – Certification of physical done by a license doctor

The following personal documents are required by Customs in the Chinese language:

  • Foreign expert certificate
  • Visa or Work Visa (must be valid for a year or more)
  • Original Passport with Residence Permit (must be valid for a year or more)
  • Original Passport with Diplomatic Visa (must be valid for a year or more)
  • Identity card
  • Consulate Officer Certificate for Diplomats
  • Authorization letter
  • Alcohol and/or wine list
  • Residence card or permit
  • Diplomatic Card for Diplomats
  • Pro-forma Invoice for Diplomats
  • Packing List in Chinese or English
  • Baggage Declaration Form
  • Detailed inventory list in English
  • Health certificate
  • Import permit
  • Ocean Bill of Lading
  • Letter of employment certificate
  • Arrival Customs Declaration
  • Electronics list
  • Customs permit
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Application for Customs

Additional detailed document requirements:

  • There are no duties, inspection nor taxes for Diplomats on diplomatic shipments.
  • Your import of HHGS must be set up at least 6 months prior to the expiration of your Residence Permit.
  • If you are importing an additional shipment, duty and taxes will apply.
  • Sea shipments can take 7 – 10 working to gain clearance through Customs.
  • If you are a Returning Chinese, Customs clearance can take 8 – 10 business days.
  • The Baggage Declaration Form may be required depending on the city.
  • Alcoholic beverages has a very high import rate, thus not recommended for import.
  • Be aware that your Import Permit can take 1 – 3 working days for processing and is only valid for 30 days after issued.
  • If there are any HHGS that are antique, it’s recommended that you take and keep a picture of the item.
  • All electronics must have the model, serial number and size on the inventory list.
  • Any packing comprised of wood must be heat-treated or fumigated with methyl bromide with the proper markings.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived in Cananda along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

Customs require various taxes with a stem of percentages for each import. Duty Tax can range from 0 to 35%. Your Value Added Tax (VAT) will be a standard percentage of 17%. Consumption Tax can amount somewhere between 5 to 10%. China allows Duty-Free import on certain items. Here is a list below of the items and the quantity allowed:

Duty-Free Items

  • Alcohol beverages (2 bottles for a stay less than 6 months and 4 bottles for a stay over 6 months)
  • Cigarettes (400 for a stay less than 6 months and 600 for a stay longer than 6 months)
  • A reasonable amount of perfume

Labeling and Marking Requirements

All labels and markings can be in either Chinese or English.

Required information:

  • Full name and address of shipper and receiver
  • Number and date of issue
  • Description of goods in details
  • Total value of your goods
  • Country of origin of your goods
  • Customs registration codes
  • Harmonized system
  • Delivery terms
  • Currency
  • VAT numbers for shipper and receiver

Prohibited Items

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Weapons, not including guns and knives
  • Used electrical equipment and/or machinery
  • Gambling machinery
  • Defense articles and/or commodities
  • Military equipment
  • Guns and firearms
  • Drugs
  • Poisons
  • Pathogens of plants and animals
  • Diseased plants and animals
  • Soil
  • Threatening or obscene printed materials
  • Toy guns

Restricted Items

  • Artwork from Europe, the Middle East and Africa requires an International Special Commodities (ISC) contract.
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Plants must be accompanied with a Plant Quarantine Certificate
  • Gold jewelry requires an import license from the Bank of China.
  • Video cassette tape
  • Cosmetics
  • Diamonds and jewelry made of diamonds must be cleared by an authorized agent of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange
  • Personal shipments must be of reasonable quantity, for personal use and a gift
  • Knives must be at use of other than bodily harm
  • Foodstuff
  • Audio cassette tapes
  • Office supplies and furniture is only for personal use
  • Electronics must be new
  • Oriental antiques must be declared completely in detail
  • One of each type of electronic
  • DVD’s
  • Small personal quantity of medication must have a prescription copy
  • Clocks, its parts and accessories
  • Watches, its parts and accessories
  • Cameras, its parts and accessories
  • Only one computer and printer
  • Textiles and fabrics made of wool, silk, bedding and artificial and synthetic fibers
  • Bicycles
  • Radio transmitter and its parts
  • Cordless or wireless phones need an import permit

Receiving your Household Goods

The liability for duties are paid once Customs has cleared your shipment for release. There are no options of prepaid duties or taxes prior to exportation from a foreign country. Once your shipment is filed with CBP, the party and only the party listed as the receiver can pick up the shipment. If household goods are warehoused, the party of liability can be changed to another party, most whom purchased the goods. The Customs broker cannot pay duties, but can accept a check written out to the Customs and Border Protection to forward. Once items are received, all articles are deemed owned by the receiver and no longer in ownership of the CBP.

For more information, please visit

The Chinese Embassy

3505 International Place, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495 – 2266
Fax: (202) 495 – 2138

All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.