There may come a time when some expats will decide to go back to their home country because their working contracts have ended.


But before you go, here are a few major things you need to know before you leave China.



1. Get Your Chinese Pension Back

You might not be aware of it, but yes! You do have a Chinese pension!


An employer must pay for all five types of social insurance (pension, medical, work-related injury, maternity and unemployment insurance) for an expat. It is compulsory for foreigners employed in China to contribute to social insurances. 



If you are leaving China after having been employed by a Chinese company or a foreign company based in China, and below the prescribed statutory age for pension withdrawal, you can get back a part of your participation to the pension funds you have been contributing each month you were in employment. 


The employer contribution is 20% of all its employees' salaries for the country-wide pool of money, plus 8% of each person’s salary on a personal pension account. 


For foreigners leaving China, they will be able to get back all the money paid on the personal pension account!


For example: In Beijing, a foreigner earning a monthly salary of more than RMB 15,669 pays RMB 1,286/month. RMB 1,286 x 12 = RMB15,432, assuming the foreigner had a 3 years assignment in China, he can get back RMB 46,296, which is no small change!

Click here for how to get back the pension?



2. Get Your Money Out From China


Getting money out of China is a question that frequently comes up. Many expatriates have their jobs and daily lives in China, saving up their hard-earned Chinese RMB for the future. It is likely that those wanting to leave China will want to take their RMB with them.


So how do you take all your money in your Chinese bank account? 


First, you need to know you cannot withdraw it all from ATM at one time.


If your account has more than 50K and you would like to withdraw it at once in cash, you have to make an appointment with the bank in advance. It is also possible to physically take cash out of China when leaving. The amount of money is limited to RMB 20,000/person or the equivalent of USD 5,000 in any other currency.

The most common way is to transfer to your account in your home country. This will cost you a transfer fee and it depends on how much you have transferred and to which country.


You might also be thinking to withdraw the money from ATMs outside of China. However, you can only withdraw it from an ATM withUnionPay’s logo on. And if you do find one, it is likely you will incur heavy withdrawal fees. Also, there’s a limit amount per year that you can withdraw from a Chinese account abroad.



Last but not least, remember to cancel your bank account in person. 


The things you will need:

1. The original passport that you opened your bank account with

Some might have changed the passport, and if you don't have the original one, you will need to ask your embassy to offer a letter that proves you renewed your passport.

2. Your debit card 

3. To go to the same bank branch

You have to go to the same bank branch that you opened your account in. Otherwise, the bank cannot find your information and itwill take weeks to send the copy from the head office.



3. What Can You Put Inside Your Baggage or Shipping Container

Sure, China does have lots of cool and cheap stuff you would like to take home, but hold on a second!


Each container needs to be examined by customs to see what you are bringing out of China. For example, you might have some wooden Chinese furniture and it might be made of “rare woods” in which case, you are not allowed to take it out of China. 


It is better to keep the tag on even after purchasing, as it will show what type of wood it is made from - especially if you’reseeking treasure at Panjiayuan Market. Be aware, customs may also stamp on items they approve to ship, which may cause some damage to the goods


Other things you need to know are: does your destination allow these things to be imported? Such as your scooter – they are everywhere in China but are they allowed at your destination? In this case, you have to check in advance otherwise it’s a waste of space in your container. Also, the battery of the scooter is a lithium battery which is categorized as a dangerous item, meaning you will need a lot of documents to arrange its shipment.


Check with your relocation company about what you can bring with you in the container.


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