Moving to China

Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do and when moving abroad the stress levels can increase tenfold. Help yourself by being as organised as possible, work out deadlines and stick to them!


Make sure you get your visa sorted out in advance. It would be highly inconvenient to get all the way to China only to find out you aren’t allowed in.

Check the validity of your passport. Very few people know the exact date their passport expires. Applying for a visa can be a long process and some countries won’t issue one unless your passport has six months of validity.

Did I leave the tap on?

Moving often feels like an ever increasing list of stuff that must be done.

Things will get forgotten if you don’t organise yourself and your time. It’s inevitable.

So here’s a handy Make Sure guide to help you out:

Make sure you buy your tickets (you won’t get far without them) and make any necessary reservations. By all means shop around for the best price, but don’t wait until the last minute in the hope of getting a better deal.

Make sure to pay off all outstanding bills and loans before you leave the country, debt doesn’t just disappear.

Make sure to tell the tax authorities you’re leaving.

Make sure to cancel utilities in advance. (Just not so far in advance that you spend six months without water)

Make sure to close any bank accounts you’re not going to use.

Make sure to check whether you need an international driving license.

Do you need any vaccines to travel? Don’t know? Well make sure!

Make sure to arrange overseas travel and health insurance for the whole family.

Are your pension contributions recognized in China? Oh you don’t know? Well make sure!

Make sure to cancel any subscriptions.

Make sure to redirect your post.

You might well need to take copies of up to date medical/dental checks so make sure you do!

If you’re living in rented accommodation make sure to tell your landlord you’re leaving. You might be contractually obligated to give several months notice, and he might get concerned if you suddenly disappear…

Emigrating can be costly, make sure to sell anything you’re not taking with you.

Professional Removal Companies

Unless you’re leaving everything behind you’ll probably need a removal company for your move abroad. Don’t rush into picking a company though –  shop around as prices and services can greatly vary.

First things first: see how many belongings you have and ask yourself whether you really need them all. Everything you take will cost you money, would it be cheaper just to replace it abroad? Once you’ve established that you will be requiring the help of a removal company ask around, get recommendations, make enquires and get quotes. Check what services the company will actually offer. Do they provide you with boxes? Or do they literally just load and unload your things? To be on the safe side make sure the removal company you go with is accredited by an industry association.

Prices are often calculated based on the type and size of the load, the distance that has to be covered and the amount of people the job will need. If you want an exact quote you’ll have to give the removal company as much detail as possible, this means taking measurements and doing a thorough inventory.

This might be time consuming and frustrating but remember it’s in your benefit too. Firstly, if you need to make an insurance claim you’ll be able to prove that the insurance company was carrying the damaged/missing goods. And secondly, cataloguing your possessions makes it hard to ignore how much of your stuff is junk, it should inspire you to chuck useless items. You also have to make the removal company aware of any difficulties they might encounter on the job, such as numerous stairs, narrow roads or small doors. In return, make sure that they give you the maximum shipping time in writing.

Be aware that some companies offer a ‘groupage service’. This is where your possessions are allocated space in containers whenever there is any. This option is cheaper but it can take weeks or even months before your things get to their destination.


It’s always a good idea to insure your items, particularly if they’re valuable or fragile. Take date marked photographs encase you need to prove condition later. Most insurance companies will cover your things if the removal company packed them. The cost of the insurance is usually of 1% or 2% of the load’s total worth. You might not want to insure your things with the same company responsible for transporting them, it’s not always the case but you might find it more difficult to make a successful claim.