Leaving China and Moving On

Information on what to do when leaving China: tax implications, residence permits and visas, cancelling utilities and dealing with schools, banks and insurance…

When it comes to moving on and leaving China, there are a number of administrative tasks which need to be undertaken in order to ensure a smooth departure.

Residence Permits

To leave China an individual must be a holder of a valid visa. If the visa has expired then a new one must be applied for before leaving the country. This should be done well in advance of the intended departure date. The time taken to get a new visa depends on where an individual lives in China; it is likely to take a minimum of a week.

The employer of a person leaving China should arrange for work and resident permits to be cancelled once the employment has been terminated.

Banks and Insurance

All banks at which accounts are held need to be given new address details or have the account closed when leaving China. The local branch should be visited with identification and proof of the new address, if necessary.

All insurance providers; for example home insurance, medical insurance and car insurance providers should be informed of the move.


Individuals leaving China must ensure that they pay all taxes for which they are liable and should deregister from individual income tax payments at the local tax authority. This should be completed by the due date for monthly tax filing once the employment is finished.

People who have been resident in China for a full tax year (which is the same as a calendar year) prior to leaving are required to submit an annual tax return if they satisfy any of the following criteria:

  • They had more than one employer while in China
  • They received income with no withholding agent
  • They earn above a prescribed threshold

Rented Accommodation

The landlord of the rental property should be informed of the intention to leave within the time agreed in the terms of the lease contract. In order for the security deposit to be returned the property should be left in the same condition as it was initially found. An inventory check is carried out and repairs should be made to anything damaged while living in the property. Security deposits are not returned if the property is vacated before the end of the agreed rental period where there is no option within the contract to leave early (a "break option"). Security deposits are paid back once any damage has been repaired and all outstanding bills paid.


Before leaving China all utility (gas, electricity and water) companies should be contacted to stop services. Different cities have their own government regulated gas, electricity and water suppliers.


Each city has a mains water supply company. Water accounts are usually left open when tenancies change. The local supplier should be informed of a move. If a local bottled drinking water company is used they should be contacted to deregister.

Regional water companies:

  • Shanghai Tap Water Company
    : 021 6298 8544
  • Beijing Waterworks Group
    : 010 6403 6465


If the cost of electricity is not included in the rent then the local electricity provider should be informed that the service is no longer needed. The help of the landlord may be useful to overcome the language barrier.

Regional electricity companies:

  • Shanghai Electricity Company
    : 021 95598
  • Beijing Electric Power Corporation
    : 010 95598


The local gas provider should be notified of the intention to leave a property. People living in an area which depends on bottled gas for cooking should cancel bottle delivery with the local supplier.

Regional gas companies:

  • Shanghai Dazhong Gas company
    : 021 962 777
  • Beijing Gas Company
    : 010 96 777


Landline telephone services in China are provided by either China Telecom or China Unicom. The provider should be notified that telephone services are no longer required when leaving the country. All mobile phone providers should also be informed.

Telephone providers:

  • China Telecom - landline, Internet and mobile
    Tel: 010 6642 8166 / 24-hour customer helpline Tel: 10000
  • China Unicom - landline, Internet and mobile
    Tel: 10010 - 24-hour customer helpline
  • China Mobile - mobile telephone operator
    Tel: +852 3121 8888 / 24-hour customer helpline Tel: 10086


The child's current school should be notified about the child's departure and parents should request the child's academic records. The chosen school in the new country should be informed well in advance of the move.

Exporting a Pet from China

The rules regarding taking a pet animal out of China will depend on the destination country; vaccination and quarantine regulations are highly variable. The animal must meet Chinese exit requirements as well as entry conditions for the destination country.