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Leaving China For Good: A Checklist

Here’s a checklist you should have if you are planning about leaving China for good.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what i specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).


It takes a lot of effort to leave a nation where you previously resided. As an expat living in China, you should begin asking yourself questions about what you should do before permanently leaving the country. Even if you want to leave a few months ahead of schedule, there are a few things you must do.

Thus, receiving reminders on how to get started is critical. Furthermore, if you are departing China before the deadline, tax officials encourage you to file a self-declaration of your individual income tax.

Checklist of Things You Should Take With You When Leaving China for Good

1. Money

China limits the amount of money you may carry back to your home country. If you have long-term funds, it may be difficult to get them all out of China on the same day you leave. Furthermore, currency exchange is only permitted on specified days.

So, be sure to transfer money to your foreign account a few weeks ahead of time. It all depends on how much money you’ll bring home. Fortunately, if you follow specific processes, you may transfer money freely from China.

Returning your funds also entails returning any wages you may have received as an employee. Foreigners are eligible to social insurance claims under China’s individual income tax (IIT) law. Before you leave China, your social insurance rebate adds up to your takeout cash.

Lastly, if you have a public bike account, such as Mobike or Ofo, that you have filled up money with, you should return it before departing.

Leaving China For Good: A Checklist
Airport in China

2. Official and Legal Documents

Before leaving China, you will obviously need to prepare and complete necessary paperwork. You may need these documents in the future for employment, immigration, or other legal reasons that need proof of your identity or qualifications.

  • Tax resident certificate with an official Chinese stamp

You must contact the local tax agency and get a ‘tax certificate’ showing your pay and taxes paid, whether monthly or yearly, before departing China. Consider it a tax clearing, ensuring that you have no debts or tax obligations. This certificate will also serve as proof of taxes paid in China, allowing you to avoid paying taxes twice.

  • Non-criminal record

Once you’ve left China, it’s hard to get your non-criminal record back. Before a non-criminal record certificate may be issued, local police officials will need your original passport and housing rental agreement. And so, you should add this to your to-do list and get it notarized as soon as possible.

  • Reference letter from the bank

Obtaining a letter of recommendation or a bank certificate from your bank may be beneficial in nations that require a bank reference before opening a new account. This document can also be used as evidence of your financial activity or revenue from China.

  • Work permit cancellation certificate 

Your “work permit cancellation certificate” is required to apply for a new work visa if you ever return to China. As a result, having this before to departing China is also essential. In addition to your work contract or an employment certificate from your firm, the cancellation certificate may be used as formal documentation of your work experience in China.

  • Other legal documents

Before leaving China, you should also gather all of your tax payment receipts as additional proof of tax payments. You will also require an employment certificate as proof of your job experience in China.

Furthermore, if you have any Chinese papers, such as your job contract, company license, degree certificates, or diplomas, it is advised that you get them translated, certified by the local foreign ministry, and validated by your embassy.

3. Pets

You may feel bad about leaving your pet behind when you leave China. As a result, if you wish to bring your dog or cat back home, keep in mind that the necessary processes take a few months to complete before your pet may board an aircraft. Although it varies by country, the export procedure in China often includes immunization and a medical examination.

Your pet, on the other hand, will be microchipped before leaving China. Keep in mind that the immunization must be given 30 days before your journey.

In summary, the following are the actions you must take:

  • Go to an animal vaccination clinic and obtain the certified “Animal Health and Immunity Certificate.”
  • Get your pet microchipped with a 15-digit ISO 11784/11785-compliant pet microchip.
  • You must take your pet to a veterinarian 10 days before your trip and obtain a “certificate of good health” within two business days.

4. Clothes and everything you want to bring back home!

When it comes to shipping your items from China, you have the option of using air or sea transportation. While shipping your possessions by water is less expensive, sending them by air is preferable if you want to get them sooner.

It’s also a good idea to employ a business to handle your deliveries. Typically, the firm will give you with boxes weighing between 20 and 30 kg and costing between RMB 400 and RMB 800 each box.

Leaving China For Good: A Checklist
Expats leaving China for good

Checklist of Things you MUST DO before Leaving China for Good

1. Tax and Bank Closing

If you own a business and have chosen to liquidate it and leave China, you must undergo correct liquidation processes. Going through tax procedures and closing a bank account are examples of this.

To begin the preparation of your tax return, you may need to prepare the following materials:

  • Liquidation report
  • The shareholder resolutions
  • Annual financial reports of the company over the years
  • Business license
  • 金税盘 or “golden tax disk” for issuing invoices (related to China’s Golden Tax System)
  • Official seal
  • The legal representative digital certificate

The following requirements are required for bank closing by you or a representative:

  • Application form with your company and your legal representative stamp
  • Original copy of passport

You may opt to keep your bank accounts or bank cards open as an individual employee or Chinese visa holder as long as you have access to the bank’s internet banking.

2. Canceling and un-linking your phone number

In China, your phone number is the most critical piece of information you may have whether it comes to bank activation or utilizing applications like Alipay or WeChat.

You may experience problems if you do not deactivate your phone number before leaving China, especially if it is linked to your passport number.

Forgetting to deactivate or unlink your phone number from your WeChat ID, on the other hand, can be dangerous. If you don’t pay your phone bill for six months, it will be registered as a new number, and someone else will be allowed to log into your WeChat.

Your Alipay account will be deleted if your phone number was cancelled. It’s also crucial to deal with Alipay before leaving because it stores all of your financial transactions or bank card details.

3. Settling payments with your landlord

To minimize future problems, both expat employees and company owners must pay their rents before leaving China. At the same time, you must remember to pay your lodging provider’s deposits or request a housing allowance refund from your employer.

Final Thoughts

Moving out of any nation necessitates a significant amount of time and planning to ensure that everything goes successfully. It’s vital to figure out any tax refunds or accountabilities under 

China’s tax regulations before you leave, especially if you’re concerned about your money. Failure to do so might result in unanticipated repercussions, such as being placed on a blacklist. As a result, you might not be able to visit China again.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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