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Your guide for moving to China

Useful guidance for Non-Chinese Residents moving their personal belongings into China

Figuring out how to move your personal belongings can often feel complicated and difficult to understand especially when you have complex and strict rules in place like there are in operation in China. This is why we’ve created this simple guide to help answer some of those difficult questions; so that you can deal with your move and the documents more efficiently.


1. I’m relocating to China for work reasons. What documents will I need in order to be able to import household goods into China?

Prior to Shipping:-

You will need to log into your Seven Seas Worldwide account and complete your online documentation which consists of:

  • An Inventory of what you pack and into which box, bag or suitcase.
  • Power of Attorney Document for Seven Seas Worldwide to operate on your behalf to clear your belongings.
  • Image of documentation which is needed by customs to certify ownership of the belongings
  • A copy of your passport (including the picture page and the signature page)
  • A copy of your Chinese visa

When you arrive in China:-

  • Courier the original stamped document “China Customs Baggage Declaration Form for Incoming Passengers” along with a copy of the entry stamp on your passport to Seven Seas Worldwide Guangzhou Office, upon your arrival at the airport in China. In order to get this stamped you will need to go through the red channel at customs in arrivals.
  • Importing items exceeding 2 cubic meters, Chinese Custom Authorities may need to examine your original documentation, such as your original passport, Chinese ID, and/or work/resident permit (1 year or more) and could request other documents. In such an event, our local Seven Seas Worldwide Guangzhou Office will contact you to inform you of what documents are required.


2. Are there any items I’m not allowed to ship into mainland China?

Yes there are!

Tobacco, Alcohol, Books containing maps of China and Milk powder products are strictly prohibited; you could face prosecution and imprisonment if such items are found in your shipment. You must confirm that the items you’re shipping are your own personal belongings.


3. What tax and duty charges will I need to pay for shipping my items into China?

This depends on the length of your Chinese visa. If your visa is valid for less than 1 year and your shipment value exceeds CNY 2000, you will need to pay import and duty tax on your shipment.

If your visa is valid for more than 1 year and you can provide all the required documentation, your shipment will be exempt from import and duty tax, unless it contains items that have been classified as taxable. These include:

  • Television
  • Video camera
  • Video tape recorder
  • Video player
  • Sound equipment
  • Air conditioner
  • Refrigerator
  • Washing machine
  • Camera
  • Copying machine
  • SPC telephone exchange
  • Microcomputer
  • Telephone
  • Wireless paging system
  • Fax machine
  • Electronic computer
  • Printer and word processor
  • Furniture
  • Lamps and lanterns
  • Food

It’s important to bear in mind that these items are taxable in China regardless of your nationality and visa status.


4. If I decide to use Seven Seas Worldwide to ship my items, will you personally deal with clearance checks or will this be assigned to a third-party agent?

At Seven Seas Worldwide, we do everything in house. We are experts in managing the whole process of importing and exporting personal belongings and have our own customs certificate. So rest assured  we’ll take care of your shipments and deal with all clearance checks so that you don’t have to waste any of your valuable time.


5. Do I need to be present during customs clearance? If so, is it possible to store my goods after clearance checks?


Again, we can take care of this so that you don’t have to be present during customs clearance checks. We will also provide you with 2 weeks free storage so that you have some time before you need to collect your shipment. If you need more time, that is no problem either. Get in touch with one of our representatives and we will calculate a quote based on the volume of your shipment and length of time you would like to store it for. All items are stored in our own warehouse, so be rest assured – your items will be safe.


6. Are there any hidden charges?

No one likes unexpected surprises. It’s important that when you arrange your shipments that you read all the terms and conditions carefully and check any exclusions listed on your quote. On rare occasions, there may be items that are excluded from the quote that you will inevitably have to pay. This will however depend on the contents of your shipment, so please make sure that you read which items will result in tax and duties being added to your shipment. For peace of mind, please refer to our website to find out which items are prohibited and what precautions need to be taken before sending a shipment to China. If in doubt, please consult the China Customs website for further information.


7. Do I have to book a full container in order to use your service?

No you don’t!

At Seven Seas Worldwide, we like to be flexible with our customers, so you can send a few boxes or a MoveCubes® ® (a mini-shipping container). MoveCubes® s® come in three sizes for customers to choose from:

  • Small (internal volume, 2m³ / 70.6 ft³)
  • Medium (internal volume, 3m³ / 106 ft³)
  • Large (internal volume, 6m³ / 212 ft³)


8. Can I claim my shipping costs from my employer in China?

You certainly can!

But you’ll need a document called “Fapiao”. This is a specific document to China which can act as the equivalent of a receipt or an invoice. Let us know if you need this – we’re happy to provide this to you free of charge.


9. Can I book my shipment online?

 Of course!

Click here and you can get an instant quote. You can also use our website to order free packing materials, arrange your delivery and collection dates, pay your bill and track your shipment in real time.

About the author



Robin heads up the sales and marketing team here at Seven Seas Worldwide.  Robin has a wide range of experience developing and growing businesses across a number of different verticals.  He lives in Kent with his partner, 2 Golden Retriever Dogs and 1 cat.  An ex social rugby player Robin now enjoys the occasional swim and the odd Skiing break.  Robin also loves to be social and when not entertaining he is trying out pubs and restaurants in the local area.