For many foreigners in this country, China is not their permanent home. Every year new people come and go - that’s the nature of expat life!
If you have decided that it’s now time to leave China for pastures new, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. The following article covers the most important things you should do, and answers the most common question people have when preparing to leave China.
Your non-criminal record
It’s vital that you get hold of this before leaving China. Whether it’s for finding new work in a new country, or for proving your non-criminal history to your own government upon returning to your home country,
To arrange this, simply go to your local police office. This is the same as place as where you registered for residence when moving in. If you have registered at several places, or lived in multiple areas, you may need to go to all police offices if you want a complete criminal record history.
Claim your social insurance back
Everyone who works in China automatically pays into a social security pot. If you leave, you are entitled to claim it back.
Follow the information in this link: Claim your social insurance back before you leave China
Get your money out of China
This task is sometimes quite frustrating, because China has strict rules on how much money can be taken in and out of the country (limited at $500 per day online transfer, or $5000 if taking physically out of the country). The recommended three methods are:
- Western Union
- Find a trusting Chinese friend who can do it via Alipay
Cancel your bank cards
A lot of people neglect this task. It isn’t essential, but it helps to keep your own affairs in order if you don’t leave accounts open on the other side of the world. If you have finished using your Chinese bank account, go to your local bank branch and see about closing your account and cancelling your bank cards.
Get a reference letter from your Chinese bank
Some people face problems with financial matters if they cannot demonstrate their banking history for the duration of their stay in China. For example, if applying for a mortgage or loan, money lenders may need to know more about your banking history. It can be difficult to get a reference letter from your Chinese bank after you have left the country, so it’s recommended that you do this before leaving.
Cancel your Chinese phone numbers
If a Chinese phone number is registered against your passport, your credit rating in China may be affected if you neglect the phone contract you signed up to. You may also be required to pay overdue fees if you return to China.
Be sure to end any phone contracts in the correct way before you leave the country.
Unlink WeChat from your Chinese mobile number
This step is very important! If you leave China and abandon your Chinese phone number, the number will be considered abandoned after 6 months, and is released back into circulation. If someone else starts using your old number, your Wechat account will be compromised or lost when the new user connects with that phone number.
To unlink, in Wechat go to Me > Settings > Account Security > Phone > Change Mobile
Cancel your Alipay account
Login to the Alipay.com website by simply scanning the qr code with the Alipay app and go to:
- Service area (服务大厅)
- Self service (自动服务)
- Cancel account (注销账户)
Inform the Transport Department that you are leaving China
This is only for those who owned a car or other registered vehicle while in China. You need to make sure you aren’t liable for damages if the new owner of your car causes an accident.
Pay any outstanding taxes or fines
To make sure you are not blacklisted by the Chinese authorities, make sure your taxes and other official affairs are in order. If you ever decided to return to China, you don’t want these hanging over you.
A lot of people leave China each year. For some it is a permanent move, whereas others will be back before long. Whatever situation you’re in, if you are preparing to leave China, just make sure you do it right!