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How to: Send money from China to abroad

While living in China, you may find yourself in need to send money back home for whatever reason, be it for family, emergencies or that you will be making a permanent return and want to take your hard earned salary home with you. The ability to transfer money out of the country is an extremely important piece of knowledge.

In cases of large transfers, you will need to have first set up a Chinese Bank account – please see How to: Open a Chinese bank account

If you need to receive money in China – please see How to: Receive money in China from abroad


Sending money Abroad

Foreigners registered in China with work permits or permanent residence permits can move money out of China in the following ways (Current and Capital accounts – bank wire only)
Current accounts: Any legitimate earnings in China can be converted sent out of China. These include salaries, rental income, royalties and investment dividends (make sure you have paid your taxes).
Capital accounts: Foreigners can transfer out the proceeds from real estate sales in China. You can also transfer proceeds from sales of shares in a China foreign-invested company or limited partnership enterprise.
Cash: $5000 USD or 20,000 RMB can be carried as you cross the border. Further rules apply for multiple trips within a short period.

For the current and capital account methods you will need:
– Passport
– Work permit
– Valid employment contract
– Payroll
– Tax bills

Foreigners who have been working on tourist or business visas and have not paid taxes on earnings are limited to transferring (bank wire/transfer) $500 USD per day without providing documentation. They still have the option of carrying cash across borders.

The mentioned “documentation” includes government approval which is extremely difficult to get.


Bank wire
Recommended to visit your bank’s main branch in the city to oversee wire transfer as many employees are unfamiliar with wire transfer processes or assisting foreigners. You will need to provide the receiver’s details such as their name, address, account number, their bank’s name and address, IBAN and SWIFT or BIC keys.

When sending amounts larger than $500 USD, you will need to prove that the money has been earned from a legitimate source of income.
Documents you may be required to present:
– Identification (usually passport)
– Work permit
– Valid employment contract
– Payroll
– Tax bills

– Have a local Chinese bank account set up
– Takes up to a working week to process


PayPal –
Set up a Chinese PayPal account and link this to your Chinese bank account. You can then top up your Chinese PayPal balance and send this to any PayPal account outside of China.

Has high fees, see

– Needs to have opened a Chinese bank account with online baking set up
– You must set up a Chinese PayPal account which is different from usual PayPal accounts outside of China, and link this to your Chinese bank account (cannot send Chinese RMB from non-Chinese PayPal account)


Western Union and MoneyGram
Great way to transfer money quickly and in person – fees are usually better than PayPal. Both Western Union and MoneyGram have a representative at most big four bank branches. With MoneyGram, the funds are available immediately on the other side, with almost no waiting time.

Most agents only accept cash – call in advance and ask what your options are. You will need to prepare your ID as well as your receiver’s details (correct full-name matching their location). If you wish to send to their bank, you will also need to prepare these details. You can find agent locations and will have to consult for fees information.

Western Union
Similar process to MoneyGram, you must bring your identification and inform an agent of your sender’s details. See here for detailed instructions and a list of Western service providers in banks across China

– Bring your identification documents (usually passport) with you when you go see an agent to send funds abroad
– Make sure you have written your receiver’s correct full-name and address as per their identification documents


Useful Chinese Phrases

I would like to send money abroad
Wo yào huì kuan dào guó wài

I would like to convert RMB into foreign currency
Wo yào duì huàn rén mín bì

These are my documents
Zhè xiē shì wo de wén jiàn

Hù zhào

Yín háng

Maxxelli has years of experience in dealing with banking processes for our clients. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any banking or money related inquiries.

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