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Moving to China

Introduction 

After building a reputation for herself as the economic powerhouse of Asia, China has also become famous for having the largest population in the world.  Its food, rich culture, pandas, skyscrapers, and UNESCO World Heritage sites, are more than enough to enthrall an American. If all the intriguing things China is known for were to be stated, we could go on, but indeed, China is fascinating. Why else do Americans consider moving to China from USA if not to savor the complete package that comes with living in China as an American?! 

For most US expats in China, the best activity is to tour this popular country; visiting the Great Wall of China and the Imperial Palace. Who wouldn’t want that! Imagine touring the country and making new friends only to realize just how friendly Chinese people could be. With time, expats’ love for China blossoms, and they begin to appreciate the diversity of religion and culture. This is why American expats make up about 23% of the expatriate population. Overall, China is an embodiment of beauty.  

Moving to China

Requirements for Moving to China 

While US citizens are allowed to move to China, there are certain requirements they have to meet to hasten their move. As a US citizen, here are some of the requirements for relocating to China. 

Visa 

This is the most vital requirement; US citizens need an entry visa to China. However, the Chinese visa types are more concerned with the number of days or years you intend to stay in the country and how many times you would go in and out of the country during your stay. 

Travel Documents 

To get your visa to China, you will need to have a valid passport that remains authentic six months beyond your return date, a passport photograph taken within the past six months, a visa application form, a business cover letter, an invitation letter, medical record, records of past visas, criminal or police report, driver’s license, birth certificate, and marriage certificate.  

Book your Flight 

In booking your flight to China, you can utilize Air China Airlines for a nonstop trip. They are also one of the best airlines in China. 

China chongqing city lights

Learn the Language 

Mandarin is the official language in China, however, it isn’t the only language spoken in the country. You could attend Mandarin classes before moving to eliminate the language barrier. 

Set up a Bank Account 

China has a large list of good international and national banks. You could open an account with the Industrial and Central Bank of China (ICBC) or the Bank of China. 

Get a VPN 

To access most western websites in china, you will need a reliable and fast VPN service. The best VPNs in China are NordVPN and Expressvpn

Get a Telephone Number 

You can only get a telephone number when you arrive in China. There are so many websites that provide virtual phone numbers. You can check out Hottelecom

Find an Apartment 

Since foreigners are permitted to rent and even purchase property in China if they meet some requirements, you can utilize the following websites in finding an apartment in China Wellcee and Expat.com.

Chinese Visa for US Citizens 

The most common visa types available in China include Z Visa (work visa), X1/2 (student visa), F (exchange, study tour, and visit visa), and M (business visa). There is also a classification of Chinese visas based on the number of entries. China has single, double, and multiple entries. 

The single entry, just like its name depicts, allows only one entry into China within three months. The double entry visa, unlike the single entry, permits two entries into the country within three to six months, and finally, the multiple-entry allows multiple entries within six months and above. It is important to note that multiple entries are guaranteed by the 10-year visa. But as an American, you are only eligible for a 10-year tourist visa for China when you have the necessary travel itinerary. 

Processing any visa for China usually takes three to five working days. The cost of the visas solely depends on the nationality of the applicant or where he or she is applying from. However, the cost of a visa to China for an American is $140. 

Cost of Moving to China 

In estimating the cost of moving to China, you will need to start with the visa costs ($140), airfare, cost of accommodation, and most importantly, the shipping costs. If you decided to fly from the US to China on a cheap airline like Air China, you would pay about $890, which is a fair price. Also, in estimating the costs of accommodation, if you utilize agents in searching for an apartment, your cost of moving would shoot up. This is probably why many people prefer to use websites to get apartments in China. 

Also, as regards shipping your belongings to China, you can completely trust us with that. We guarantee an excellent and safe move of your household to your destination. To move all your belongings to China could cost about $6000 to $6500. However, this is an estimate, it could cost more or less. 

Shanghai skyline in sunny day, china

Living in China 

Living in China as an American would mean getting used to how the system works. Things are bound to be different and you would have to be acclimated to the changes. Starting with the language barrier experienced in China, there seems to be a lot to learn. Even though Mandarin is considered the official language, not everyone understands it owing to several other dialects spoken in the country. Still, it is advisable to learn basic Mandarin before moving to China.  

Judging from the cost of living, which is 37% cheaper than in the US, you would need about $2,000 (12,928元) a month to live comfortably in China. However, it all depends on your lifestyle and the area you reside in China. To fully understand the living expenses, here is a table showing the average monthly cost of some essentials in China. 

ItemCost (CNY)Cost (USD)
Food365.6256.56
Rent7,653.611,184
Childcare3,289.19508.83
Transportation 18128
Utilities46471.78

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Given that US citizens are allowed to stay in China for 72 hours on transit, you will have some time to enjoy this beautiful country. But if you would like to explore more, you could get a visa to China to stay longer. Also, foreigners who get married to Chinese residents can live in China when they get a Family Visit visa or apply for a residence permit. Eventually, you can apply for Chinese citizenship, but this is quite difficult. Most expats often become Chinese nationals via naturalization, but if you are keen on going through the entire process of obtaining Chinese citizenship and you feel ready to give up your other citizenship (Chinese doesn’t acknowledge multiple citizenships), then go for it! All it would cost is 250 CNY ($39). 

Healthcare System 

The healthcare system in China is both public and private. Public healthcare is free and available to all residents, whereas private healthcare is expensive but more effective than public medical care. With public healthcare, more than 90% of the residents are guaranteed minimum health insurance coverage, which is publicly funded through taxes. 

In private medical institutions, you could pay a huge sum of money for just any little treatment. For instance, in private medical institutions, you could pay an average of 70,000 CNY for giving birth. However, there are still some payments attached to the public healthcare system, hence it is not entirely free as you would be required to make some out-of-pocket payments. The cost of visiting a doctor under public health insurance coverage could be anywhere between 100 to 200 CNY. 

American Jobs in China 

Getting a job in China is one of the criteria for getting a visa. However, foreigners who intend to move to China without a job would have to apply for an F visa, where they can stay for three to twenty-four months. A time that can be used to find a suitable job if they wish to stay longer and apply for a Work Visa. 

Regarding the salary, China appreciates the effort of workers with good pay considering that the minimum wage is about 2,480 CNY. But to eat the fruits of this favorable job market, you need to know what jobs are in demand in China for American expats. The table below gives details of popular high-paying jobs for Americans in China and their average monthly salaries. 

JobSalary (CNY)Salary (USD)
Marketing Manager32,9005,089.57
English Teacher15,0002,320.47
Java Developer 30,0004,640.95
Engineer24,7003,821.05
Accountant30,2004,671.89

Chinese Education System 

The educational system in China is divided into five levels; the kindergarten level, primary education level, junior secondary, senior secondary, and the higher educational level. The primary educational level and the junior secondary level are compulsory for every child in the country. Free and compulsory education for these two levels is implemented by the public education system.

However, Chinese education despite being good is criticized on the grounds of the hours children have to stay in schools; kids spend an average of 9.8 hours in class per day according to OECD. Also, the Chinese educational system puts much pressure on the children by making entry into learning institutions extremely competitive. 

Regardless of this, China has a consistent population of 492,185 international students vying for a spot in a Chinese institution every year. Also, China is the third most popular country for international study. 

Best Place to Live in China 

China is a vast and beautiful country with a lot of amazing places to live in. Here is a list of the five best places for American expats to live in China. 

  • Shanghai – If you are looking for an ever-active city to live in, then Shanghai is the best place for you. 
  • Beijing – If you would love to explore other big cities in China and tour around the country, this place is suitable for you. 
  • Guangzhou – Adorned with different shopping centers, this city could be all you need. It’s a sprinkle of modernity and historic splendor! 
  • Chengdu – This historic city has so many beautiful places to visit. You could drive to the Leshan Giant Buddha.
  • Kunming – Kunming is a kid-friendly environment with lots of outdoor adventure. 

Climate and Weather in China

Owing to the large size of the country, the climate differences seem quite difficult to fathom. However, Southern China’s sub-tropical climate and Northern China’s temperate climate show that the climate in China depends on where you are located. Nonetheless, China has all four weather, with Southern China’s average temperature being 59℉ all year round and the average climate in the North being 66℉ (high) and 18℉ (low). However, the temperature varies from city to city and season to season. Winters in Central China are always cold and moist with the temperature normally above freezing point. On the other hand, the summers are hot with continual rainfall. China has such fluctuating weather or climate conditions!  

Pros and Cons of Living in China 

Indeed, there is nothing advantageous without a little splatter of disadvantages. Living in China as an American although exhilarating and rewarding has a few demerits. It should be noted that not all of the pros and cons to be listed below will appeal to you, but they are still valid in some ways. 

ProsCons
It has big and technologically advanced cities. Air pollution is a normal phenomenon. 
Workers receive impressive salaries.There is a language barrier. 
China is a safe country.Irritable internet restrictions. 
It has a high standard of living but a low cost of living.Unavailability of some foreign brands and products, e.g tampons. 
It has great cuisines.The food is unhygienically prepared. 

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FAQs

Can foreigners become Chinese citizens? 

Of course, foreigners can become Chinese citizens but it is quite difficult. They can become Chinese citizens if they qualify for citizenship by naturalization. Foreigners can apply for naturalization when they have a family member who is a citizen of China, or if they have settled in China and have other legally acceptable reasons.   

Are taxes high in China? 

The current tax rate in China is between 3% and 45%, which is on a progressive tax approach. Residents and temporary residents who have lived in China for 183 days are eligible to pay taxes in the country. Also, the taxes are paid on income earned within and outside China. 

Conclusion 

Moving to China from the USA truly gives you exclusive access to all the wonders of this populated and technologically advanced country. Regardless of the culture shock, we are sure you will have such a good time in this awesome county. However, to fully unlock the doors of opportunities in this country, you would have to learn Chinese, customize your CV to meet the Chinese standards, get your VPN upon arrival, and never forget to register on time at the police station upon arrival in China. Asides from these, you are good to say ‘huānyíng’ (welcome) to the alluring Chinese culture. Are you still worrying about how to move to China? Most certainly not! Do have a successful move!

Exploring more options of International Moving? Check out our International Moving Guides:

Moving To Switzerland 

Moving To Hong Kong

Moving to Japan

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