How much RMB can be transferred out of China by an expat?


Wanted to know what the procedure is for transferring money out of China to the UK.

- Maximum Amount each year?
- Evidence of funds?
- Face to face transfer (go to the bank) or not?
- Do I still need to be in the country to transfer the remaining money? (If needs to be done over yearly installments)

Thanks - not sure what the current set up is.


Hi, take a look at TransferWise. I never use this system yet, but I´m considering...

Hi, if you have job agreement and money are taxed, with tax approval you can transfer without limit till sum of taxed income. But need visit bank personally with all documents

Off the top of my head, I believe the limit through airports is 20k. I did try to transfer to Thailand some years ago through the banks, but the surcharges made that not worthwhile. All RMB is changed to US$ before leaving China (RMB translates as Chinese people’s money and they don’t like you taking too much out). In Thailand that was changed to Bahts and finally transferred to the local branch, incurring costs all along the way. I lost about 20% of the total I sent.

Now I take it through customs and as there’s more than 20k, I divide it up amongst friends, till we get to the other end. I’ve also found that up to around 60k in practice is acceptable.

Hi - thanks for the information so far.

It is money collated through working in China which was put into a property and has now been sold.

It holds me to stay in China, if all I am doing is staying here until I can transfer all the money out.  But I don't plan to leave just yet either.  All I want is to know my options should I move from China.

What I find interesting is some of the funds came from the UK (no problem accepting the money, but difficult allowing the money to leave the country).


technically, u can change the rmb to a foreign currency , take it out of the country n deposit it immediately at a foreign bank once u reached your destination.
There r lots of currency exchange shops in border cities like shenzhen n others
U can also transfer it to your foreign bank account thru a money agent, this usually charge a 1% commission on top of the exchange rate spread , banking staff at most banks should be able to introduce u to such an agent  .
Western Union should also be possible though I have not used it before .
There are hordes of Chinese investors buying overseas properties these days so there should be lots of avenues for them to get the funds transferred at reasonable expense

I'm also interested in the options for Nick. I'm a UK resident and recently sold my apartment in China. The funds are all in my BoC account, how easy would it be to transfer a certain amount into a UK bank account?

Anyone have experience of doing this via BoC?
Any fee/commission on top of BoC exchange rates? How does the BoC exchange rates differ from the real exchange rate?

Some online sites have said the limit for non-Chinese national is $500 per day. Does this not apply if I can prove I've paid the tax of the property sale?

The BOC rates will be much worse than online rates maybe by 3-5 %,
the rates r listed at the bank on a daily basis n u can check compare them with the internet ones ..

u can only transfer the amount based on the valuation applied for the apartment sale 
ie  in order to lessen taxes for yourself n the buyer when u sell an apartment,  the norm is to quote it at lower rate per sq meter (psm) at the real estate transaction office eg an apartment sold at 26k psm usually is only quoted at 12k psm at the real estate transaction office n taxes paid r based on 12k psm, u can thus only legally transfer monies derived from the 12k psm valuation.

The alternative is to use a money changer to TT the funds abroad, these offer market exchange rates n charge a 1% commission but is a risk these days as they may be transferring laundered funds to your UK account n these funds will be forfeited by the UK govt if discovered .

Another option is to apply for a Chinese credit card at a local bank n use the credit card abroad for purchases to use off surplus cash that were not legally TT overseas

Thanks Zest, thats a very helpful response.

When you mention the internet exchange rates are you referring to other companies that can change the money, the real exchange rate or the bank internet rate?

In all honestly I'm currently unclear what was the taxable rate in the end. I just know i have received the  right amount of funds in my account. I will get this information as soon as I catch up with the estate agent.

My currently plan is a slow process but one I could do without involving any banks.
When I do go to Hong Kong i often go to Shenzhen, so i can move a fraction of the money across the border (within limits). I rather carry HK$ or GBP from Shenzhen to Lo Wu but would need to find a good money changer as i can carry up to the equivalent of US$5,000 per person (might have another 2 family members with me).

I can withdraw up to 100,000RMB/US$15,000 a year (does this run from Jan-Dec) or is it you cant excess 100,000RMB/US$15,000 in a rolling 12 month?
I wish i can find the fee/conversion rate on the BoC website if i were to make a cash withdrawal in the UK with my BoC card. If anyone has details of these fees please share :)

One last question, does anyone know a BoC branch in Shenzhen where they have a good English speaker? My Cantonese isnt good enough to discuss financial lingo and I can't speak mandarin.

Many Thanks

Hi redrobin81

The internet exchange rates are the ones  listed on the internet by various service providers eg when u  type the words "usd to rmb" n google , this would give a fair indication of rates that u can use to compare with those at the local banks n money changers ..

When u sell the apartment, u should get a receipt from the national real estate transaction bureau for the taxes paid for it . How the amount is computed should also be written on this tax receipt . If it is not, u can always bring this tax receipt to the real estate transaction bureau to ascertain what is the registered valuation for the apartment when it was sold. 
do not just take the agent's word, the amount derived at should be backed up by tax receipts n n other transaction documents .
Based on the typical valuation done, going thru the banks should allow u to TT abroad about 40-45% of the sales proceeds.

There have been further tightening of forex rules  so its best to check with the banks to see what the latest limits r , think each individual is only allowed to carry 20k rmb or its equivalent in foreign currencies when they exit the country each time .  Of course, u can do multiple runs .

my previous experience is that u will be allowed to TT any amount of income earned as long as u hv tax receipts to proof that taxes have been paid for them

One hassle free way is to apply for a credit or debit card with a local chinese bank n just use up the surplus funds via the credit card when abroad .

Hi redrobin81

so how did things finally pan out ?
Let me know if possible so that I can learn from your experience as I might have to move money out someday too.

take care n BR

Hi Zest,

Wow, realised i havent logged on here for a while. It turned out to be OK, BOC offered the whole amount or any amount i want to be transferred into my UK back as I used a passport to open a BOC account in China.
There is further frustration that there may be a huge amount of captial gain tax for me to pay in the UK if the inland revenue investigates it. I'm going to bring smaller amounts into HK (where i have an account).

I still haven't found the answer to the following:

If there are any currency changer like the ones you get in airport or all over Hong Kong where you can change money up for you on the spot. is the rate better than the banks and are they a chain or usually independent?

Anyone know how good/bad the exchange rate is at BOC for changing HK$ or GBP compared to the internet rate? e.g if the internet rate is 10.00 RMB to £1, then is it 10.50 RMB to £1 when the currency i want is £s? usually better than 5% differences?

If i use my BOC card oversea, does anyone know if BOC charges a fee for withdrawls/spend and is it based on internet exchange rates or their favourable rates?

Many Thanks,

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