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10 things don’t forget to do before leaving China for good

China airport check in.

China airport check in.

Farewells are said, bags are packed, flight is waiting, but are you sure you haven’t forgotten something?


We’re not talking about visiting-the-Great-Wall or eating-hotpot kind of thing, but things that will help you avoid trouble in the future.


Non-criminal record

If you decide to leave China or move to another Chinese city – go to the local police station before you leave, and ask for a non-criminal record (无犯罪记录证明) for the whole time you were in China or that city.


Ask for a report with no gaps in the dates. If you registered at several police stations during your time of stay. You will need to go to each one to get a report. Otherwise you will have to travel the country to claim the old ones.


You may need the report in the future when applying for jobs at home and to get hold of one after you leave China is impossible as they need to see your original passport and tenancy agreement.


After getting your non-criminal record from the Public Security Bureau office, you must bring it to the Notary Public Office to get a notarized translation.


If you have already left China and now need a certificate to prove that you did not get into trouble while you were out here. The only alternative will involve you mailing your passport to your representative (a friend) in China to get the document on your behalf. This is ill-advised for all the obvious reasons. However, it does NOT apply to all cities in China. There are some PSB only accept the applicant itself to apply in person because they need to scan your ten fingerprint.


Claim your social insurance back

If you pay social insurance at your company in China, you can get back part of your participation to the pension funds you have been contributing each month you were in employment.

A reminder: This is extremely important and a little complicated. The HR person in your company can surely give you some advice.


Cancel your cellphone number

Before you leave China for good, don’t just toss your Chinese SIM card in the trash bin. If the phone number is registered under your passport number, you will have a deduction of your credit rating in China, and next time you register a Chinese cellphone number, you will be asked to pay the bill.


Unlink your Wechat with cellphone

If you forget to cancel your phone number and unlink your WeChat ID with your phone, other people may have access to your WeChat.


If your Chinese phone bill is not paid for six months, the number will be cancelled and is considered a brand new number. Another person will use it. That person can log into your WeChat account with your number!


This may explain why many expats lost their WeChat ID after returning to their home countries for a certain period of time.


What you should do is unlink your Wechat ID with your phone.


Go to “Me” – “Settings” – “My Account” – “Phone” to unlink.

In fact, you should do the same before you change your Chinese phone number. Linking Wechat with your QQ number or email is all right.


Cancel your Alipay account

You may keep your Alipay if you can link a new cell phone number to your account when you are back home. Otherwise, you’d better cancel it first.


Go to, log in, and go to Service Hall (服务大厅), self service (自助服务) , then look for cancel account (注销账户).


You should do the same before you change your Chinese phone number.


Cancel your bank cards

It’s something you should do before leaving any foreign country if you have the country’s bankcards.


If you would like to keep your Chinese bank account, make sure you can access the bank’s Internet banking service at home.


Cancel your Alien employment permit/ Foreign expert certificate and work visa

When your labor contract is terminated, your HR will normally get the employment permit(外国人就业证) or foreign expert certificate(外国专家证) from you and cancel it. It’s very important you can get the cancellation certificate(注销证明), at least the scanned copy, issued by the relevant authority,. This certificate can be an official proof of your work experience in China. And if you want to come back to China to get a work visa again, the cancellation certificate is also required.


Reference from your company

A reference from your company in China is a good thing to get, because sometimes it’s hard to get a reference from a company in China after you leave.


If your company doesn’t usually provide such thing, you can write one on your own, make it bi-lingual, so that the person in charge can stamp and sign it.


Get reference from your bank in China

If you need to open a bank account at home or register a company in other countries, you may need a reference from your bank in China.


Some banks outside China have very tough rules. An expat said a bank in Malta wrote to his bank in China, but they never replied, so he couldn’t open a bank account.


Translate Chinese documents that you may need at home

Because it’s much cheaper to get this done in China. NB. Non-criminal records should be translated by authorized department.


(Source: Nihao Suzhou. Sharrif Tbealeh contributed to this article. Some tips are from Global Times.)


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