Before zipping up your suitcase and heading to the airport, make sure that what you have in it can be legally brought into the country. You can find the information on some of the items that are prohibited from being brought into the country from the article below. However, please consult the local customs bureau for updated information before your arrival, as the list of prohibited items changes frequently.
What you can’t bring into China
Certain items are prohibited from being brought into China ‘ this means that if any of these items are found in your belongings, they will be confiscated and you may be fined or prosecuted. You are not allowed to bring the following items into the country:
- Weapons, ammunition and explosives
- Counterfeit items (currencies, securities, etc.)
- Audio or video materials (from CDs, video, computer programs, etc.) contrary to the economic, cultural and moral interests of the Republic of China
- Poisons and drugs (opium, heroin, marijuana and other psychotropic substances)
- Sick animals or plants and rare animals or plants.
What you can bring into China with restrictions
Certain items, though not prohibited from being brought into the country, are only allowed within certain limits. These include the following:
Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco
- 400 cigarettes ‘ if you stay for less than six months in China
- 600 cigarettes ‘ if you stay for more than six months in China
- 2 bottles of 75 cl ‘ if you stay for less than six months in China
- 4 bottles of 75 cl ‘ if you stay for more than six months in China
Baby milk powder: reasonable quantity for personal use
Gifts and sundries: reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use
Gold, silver, jewellery: 50 grams maximum
Electronic products: 1 camera, 1 camcorder or 1 laptop
Bringing food into China
Most ‘raw’ food items are prohibited from being brought into China. These include cooked and uncooked meat, raw milk products (yoghurt, cream, butter, etc.), eggs and derived products like mayonnaise, edible bird’s nests, bones, oils and fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, tobacco leaves, seeds and sprouts, American ginseng and so on.
You can bring in packaged foods intended for personal consumption and in reasonable quantities. Note that you should be especially careful when it comes to the amount when bringing in rare and expensive food items like sea cucumber or abalone.
Bringing medication into China
When moving to China or travelling to the country for a lengthy period, you may want to bring some of your own medicine. Note that that particular medication is not available in China and some items will require a prescription from a local doctor’s office.
Thus, if there is any medication that you need to take regularly, it may be a good idea to bring your own supply. Note that the medicine you bring into China should fall into the limits of ‘reasonable for personal use’.
Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the medication you will need to bring with you and its quantity.
Ask your doctor for an official letter that will explain what the medication is, how much of it you need and that it is strictly for personal use. (If you plan to travel with large quantities of medicine, ask your doctor to indicate explicitly that this is for personal use).
You will then need to have that letter translated into Chinese and have it on you when passing the customs.
Make sure not to take the medicine out of its original packaging and have a clear label on each packaging with your name and dosage instructions.
If you are not sure about a particular type of medicine and whether it can be brought into China or not, consult customs officials before going through the check.
You are not allowed to bring strong psychotropic substances into China.
Taking things from China
There are many restrictions on the items you can take out of China. You should declare any expensive gifts and items valued at over 5,000 yuan specifically, the ones you intend to bring back with you (electronics, expensive jewellery, etc). All items that are prohibited from being brought into the country are also not allowed for export. If you are having doubts about whether you can take something out of China, it’s better to get in touch with the customs directly to be on the safe side.
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