Customs Information

China - Diplomat


  • Each packed box in the shipment should have the passport name of the importer clearly written on the outside for customs to see during exam. If no name on the boxes in the shipment, customs will require the importer to physically come in for customs clearance.
  • There are no duties on diplomatic shipments. Diplomatic shipments are exempt from inspection, duties and taxes.
  • The Import Permit is required for customs clearance but it must be applied for by the Embassy in China. Without a valid Import Permit, the shipments cannot be cleared by customs
  • Only one air and one sea shipment may be imported within 6 months of customer
  • All wooden packing material must follow the “International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM No. 15).  The new rule requires all wood packaging material (WPM) associated with consignments to China should be treated and labeled with an IPPC mark by the manufacturers.  Any non-compliance WPM will be treated, destroyed, or returned with the consignments under supervision of China Inspection and Quarantine.
  • All incoming shipments must have shipper name written clearly in ENGLISH on each box or label to match the name in the passport, OBL and packing list.  Failing which, custom requires client to be present at the custom house to open and certify the household goods belong to shipper.  If the box name differ e.g. use spouse name during packing as the employee is travelling, upon arrival in China, we need to use employee documentation like work permit and resident permit to clear shipment, they have to produce their marriage certificate as proof.

  • China requires treatment of shipment against yellow fever on shipments originating from: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville and Guyana. China also requires disinfection against the risk of cholera from shipments originating from: Yemen, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Niger, Cameroon and Algeria. If treatment is not completed at origin, it will be carried out by Chinese quarantine authorities upon arrival causing delays to the shipment.

  • COVID Update: Feb 2021 - Due to the ongoing prevalence of COVID cases reported, the Beijing Municipal Center for Disease Prevention and Control has requested that COVID swab tests be done for all incoming shipments into Beijing, China. A minimum of 10 samples have been taken per shipment once customs clearance has been completed. 


Please note that 2020 is a leap year meaning that any permit issues between now and February 29th, 2020, a FULL year means 366 days versus the usual 365 days.

  • Original Passport (validity of at least one FULL year)
  • Original valid Diplomatic Visa
  • Diplomatic card
  • Pro-forma invoice
  • Detailed inventory in English (describing general carton contents - PBO "packed by owner" and "miscellaneous" are not acceptable
  • Consulate officer certificate
  • Ocean Bill of Lading / Air Way Bill 
  • Original Import Permit Application Form which is provided by the destination agent and stamped with the Embassy stamp
  • Customs Declaration Form For Sea Shipment


  • Foreign diplomats are eligible to import automobiles to China. A separate Import Permit (separate from household goods) must be applied for at the Embassy in China on behalf of the foreign diplomat. The Import Permit on automobiles will usually take a longer time to get approved by the local Customs Bureau therefore, do not load the automobile together with the household goods in the same container, or it will delay the customs clearance of the household goods.
  • Vehicles owned / and more than 10 years old are prohibited
  • Brand New privately owned vehicles are considered a luxury item and are dutiable
  • Restrictions and taxes depend on the type and size of vehicle
  • Documents must be provided to support the age and value of the auto
  • Documents required:

o Written application to Customs Office

o Import Cargo Declaration

o Invoice


  • Only one pet per Residence Permit, regulations for licensing of dogs are complicated and strict
  • Health Certificate and original Certificate of Rabies Vaccination is required. Pets coming from rabies free countries are subject to 7-days quarantine and pets from non-rabies free countries are subject to 30 days quarantine. Quarantine fees will apply. Please check with the destination agent to verify the status of the origin country.
  • Subject to strict quarantine regulations
  • Veterinary inspection must be arranged by owner upon arrival


  • All shipments of diplomats are duty-free. 
  • Milk powder and manufactured meat cannot be included in air shipments.
  • Antiques should be registered to avoid issues upon re-export in the future due to the strict regulations on Chinese Customs regarding the export of antiques.


  • Firearms, ammunition, weapons & explosives (including strapped-down gun or daggers)
  • Bow
  • TV Satellite Dish
  • Telecommunication equipment, including cordless phones
  • Oversized office items, such as large photocopier machines and printers which are not considered for personal or family use
  • Unprocessed food, fresh meat, fresh vegetables and dairy products.
  • Live plants, soil and pesticide
  • Poisons or illegal drugs
  • No medical products or supplies
  • Printed/recorded material deemed detrimental to the political, economic, cultural, or moral atmosphere in China (including all pornographic materials)
  • Maps (where the Chinese border is not in accordance with Chinese law)
  • All kinds of equipment / tools associated with gambling (such as poker cards, chips, jackpot machines etc.)
  • Endangered and rare animals and their products such as ivory
  • Counterfeit currencies
  • Unhealthy animals
  • Motorcycles, mowing machine, model with large engine
  • Diving equipment
  • Pet Food
  • Customs are not allowed to import medicine, liquid items, cosmetics, soap, candles and more than one identical electrical appliance in an airfreight consignment
  • Any other items that are determined by the local Customs Bureau to be of non-personal or non-family use. These items may be seized if found in the shipment
  • POE / AOE Chengdu: billiard and pool tables
  • Alcohol (Beijing)

The rules differ from city to city, like a GRAND PIANO is not allowed in Shanghai and South China unless the shipper is a certified piano specialist but the restriction does not apply to Beijing.