Moving to China – the facts

Importation of goods and consignments arriving in China are considered from several angles – Security/Safety, Customs Tax/Duty Revenues and Environmental Protection.

Customs Regulations

It is necessary for the owner of the goods to arrive in China before shipment to complete Customs formalities. One sea and one air shipment are permitted to arrive within six months of the customer’s arrival date. Electrical appliances, furniture, and food will be subject to Import Duty in addition to the usual dutiable items, such as alcohol. Clothes, shoes and kitchenware will usually be imported duty free, if it is the first shipment to China. Duties are based on the Customs assessed value, which is at the discretion of the local Customs office. For more information please visit

Documents required

An Import Permit, or ‘Customs sealed letter’ is required and needs to include the following elements:

  • Passport and residence permit (must be at least 1 year validity)
  • Alien Employment permit (1 year validity)
  • Representative Card (for foreign representative office)
  • Company’s Business Licence (required for JV or wholly owned Company)
  • Import permit application form with Clients signature and Company’s seal
  • Baggage Declaration form in duplicate, completed by Client on arrival at port of entry, signed and complete with and Customs stamp.
  • Declarations to confirm goods are for personal use and not for re-sale

Environmental Protection

In line with all countries around the world, importation to China of foodstuffs or plant materials in a household effects shipment is not recommended. Items may be refused entry or may require a permit and any special examinations may cause delays and add inspection costs.

Allied Local Offices



Local to your new home

Allied are part of the worldwide Allied Network, who have long-established Allied offices in China. We offer assistance with documentation and clearances and once Customs are finalised, we will contact you to arrange delivery to your new home.

How long does it take?

Allied load more containers to China than any other Australian International Movers Association (AIMA) member and this ensures we can also offer more frequent departures.

Indicative transit times are as follows:

 Full Container
Beijing6-8 weeks
Chengdu6-8 weeks
Dalian6-8 weeks
Guangzhou6-8 weeks
Shanghai6-8 weeks


Only dogs and cats are permitted entry to China but will be subject to:

  • A vet examination no more than 24 hours prior to export
  • 30 days pre-isolation in approved premises
  • Current rabies vaccination
  • Veterinary export health certificate
  • Import permit

The logistics are detailed and for this reason we would recommend asking Allied to refer you to an approved specialist in this area.


Most modern televisions will work in China. However with the advent of digital receivers it is inevitable that your television will need to be connected to the equivalent of an Australian Digital Satellite/Cable receiver in China. It is worth checking with the manufacturer if you have any concerns.

Electrical Items

Electrical items should generally work on the Chinese system, though it is always worth checking with the manufacturer if you have any concerns.

Motor vehicles

Vehicles can be imported with an Import Permit, but this is very difficult to obtain and duties are high, so this is not a recommended course of action.

Prohibited Items – but not limited to

  • Firearms, weapons, explosives, ammunition
  • TV satellite dishes, telecommunications equipment
  • Office items not considered for family use ie photocopiers, printers, fax etc
  • Foodstuffs – dried food strictly prohibited in West China
  • Narcotics, medical supplies
  • Printed material that may be deemed offensive in political or moral terms
  • Products of endangered species
  • Gambling equipment
  • Diving equipment
  • Maps where the Chinese border is not in accordance with Chinese law
  • Grand pianos (except for professional pianists)

For more information please visit:

Restricted items or items likely to attract interest

  • Books, Magazines, CDs, DVDs, VCDs: Total quantity permitted is calculated based on the volume of shipment. These will be inspected by the Customs Bureau, anything deemed offensive or subversive will be confiscated and the owner fined.
  • Alcohol is not allowed in North China such as Beijin and Dalian, but up to 50 bottles allowed by sea in Shanghai and South China, subject to duties. Total quantity permitted is calculated based on the volume of shipment.
  • Asian/Chinese antiques must be indicated on the inventory and permission requested to register for re–export, there is no guarantee that this will be granted, so this this reason they are not recommended for inclusion.
  • Dried food: Air none, Sea 30kgs maximum in original sealed packaging