For all the people that are not citizens of the great People’s Republic of China, being able to get money out of the country can be quite a hassle. This is because China’s government doesn’t want liquid capital leaving their country, especially if non-citizens are taking the money outside of the country as opposed to re-investing it back into the Chinese economy. They also want to ensure that you have fully paid your taxes on the income that you have made while in the country. There is a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork involved, but hopefully by reading this post you will preempt a lot of the hassle and will be able to send your money as quickly as possible. Don’t worry! My tips, advice, and how-to guide will help get that RMB converted to your target currency and back into your home bank account.
There are two main ways of transferring money to a source outside of China. Both are inconvenient but differ in their inconvenience as I will outline below.
First method via Western Union:
– Your passport
– A recipient at the cash’s terminal destination
– A Chinese citizen*
*You only need a Chinese citizen if you plan on exchanging more than USD 500 per day
– You can convert as much RMB as you want to your target currency up to USD 10,000 per day
– No restrictions about the amount of money you can send after you have converted to your target currency via Western Union
– You don’t need your passport to convert the RMB into your target currency (although you need the passport to send it via Western Union)
– The exchange rate against your target currency will be slightly higher
– You will have to pay Western Union a fee to transfer the money. The fee increases with the amount of money that you want to send
– If you don’t have a Chinese citizen exchange the money from RMB into your target currency for you, you will be limited to exchanging USD 500 per day
– The recipient of your money at your money’s terminal destination must have access to a Western Union
– You must have someone at your money’s terminal location to receive the money from Western Union, pick it up, and deposit the money in your bank account
1.) Find a Chinese citizen willing to help you convert your RMB into your target currency. (Optional)
2.) Withdraw the RMB you would like to exchange from an ATM or the bank.
3.) Go to a bank that has a Western Union affiliate. The only bank that I know that is affiliated with WU is Everbright Bank. Look for the WU sign outside the bank to ensure it is an affiliate or use the international locator at WU’s website by clicking here.
4.) You will need to fill out three documents after you arrive at the bank and before going to the bank teller. The first is the Exchange Form. The second is the Application for Funds Transfers (Overseas). The third is the Send Form for Western Union.
5.) Your Chinese citizen/friend should fill out their personal information on the Exchange Form (If you don’t have a Chinese citizen to help you, you must fill out your personal information here). You can provide the amount you want to exchange to the bank teller after you have given them all the forms since you won’t know the exchange rate that you will be charged by the bank or how much the money transfer fee will be.
6.) Fill out your personal information on the Application for Funds Transfers (Overseas) form and the Send Form for Western Union. As stated above, the bank teller with help you with the exact amounts to put on each form.
7.) Make sure the recipient of your money transfer through Western Union has a valid I.D. to prove who they are, otherwise they can not get the money once it reaches the target destination. Moreover, make sure you fill out their information on the Send Form accurately.
8.) Once you have given the bank teller all the forms and gone through the process, the bank teller will give you the carbon copies for each form. On the Send Form for Western Union, there will be a number at the bottom of the form which will be denoted as the MTCN #. Give this number to the recipient at your target destination because they will have to provide it to Western Union to prove that they are the correct person who should be receiving the money.
9.) Keep all of your paperwork in case anything goes wrong with the transfer. Also, you can use the copies as a reference for your next money transfer.
Second method via wire transfer:
– All the copies of your work contracts since you started working in China*
– Your work permit
– Your official tax slip from China’s Tax Bureau proving that you have paid your taxes. You can get this through your place of employment although it usually takes 2-3 weeks*
– All the copies of your pay slips since you started working in China*
– Your passport
– Your target bank’s international SWIFT code. This can be found online at your target bank’s website or by calling customer service
– Your target bank account number
– The address of the target bank that holds your target bank account
– Your Chinese bank card
* This method is conditional. If you are making a one-time bulk transfer, you need all the documents outlined above. If you are making a transfer every month, you only need the current month’s pay slip, tax slip, and your current working contract.
The copy of your contract should be clear and accurate. Official stamps on copied paperwork in China are not legible sometimes. Moreover, if there are any inconsistencies on your contract or with the stamp, it will be rejected and you will not be able to complete the wire transfer.
– No one will have to pick up the money for you or deposit the money into your account. It will automatically be sent to the bank account number provided by you
– You don’t have to buy your target currency or physically convert your money from RMB. This means you will get the actual exchange rate for that day and the bank will subsume all fees associated with the wire transfer
– You don’t need to bother a Chinese citizen to help you convert the money from RMB to your target currency
– You must have all the required documents which takes time and effort to get from your employer and the Tax Bureau
– The amount of money you can send will be limited by the amount of taxes that you can prove that you have paid to the Tax Bureau. This is calculated at the bank so I’m unsure about how to do it personally based on your tax slip
– Once you have used a tax slip, you cannot use it again for a future wire transfer
1.) Go to the bank that is the holder of your Chinese bank account and card.
2.) Fill out your personal information on the Application for Funds Transfers (Overseas).
3.) Give all of your paperwork to the bank teller and tell them how much RMB you would like to wire into your bank account at your target destination.
4.) Keep all of your paperwork in case anything goes wrong with the transfer. Also, you can use the copies as a reference for your next money transfer.
Have a question about wire transfers or sending money via Western Union? Having trouble getting that money sent home and want to inquire further?
Drop your inquiry into the comments section below or contact me.