Includes information on what is required for temporary entry.
Last Published: 7/20/2017

Although travelers will notice that China Customs officials at the airports do not routinely subject baggage to careful inspection upon arrival, random searches are possible. China allows an individual to import 400 cigarettes (600, if you are staying more than six months), 100 cigars, two bottles of wine or spirits (verify current allowable quantity at the duty free shop before you purchase), and a reasonable amount of perfume. Cash amounts exceeding $5,000 (or equivalent in other foreign currency) should be declared.

Chinese law prohibits the import of cold cuts and fresh fruit. There are limits on other items, such as herbal medicine, that can be taken out of the country. Rare animals and plants cannot be exported. Cultural relics, handicrafts, gold and silver ornaments, and jewelry purchased in China have to be shown to customs upon leaving China. If these items are deemed to be “cultural treasures” they will be confiscated.

It is illegal to import any printed material, film, and tapes, etc. that are “detrimental to China’s political, economic, cultural, or ethical interests.” Tapes, books or DVDs that “contain state secrets or are otherwise prohibited for export” can also be seized on departing China.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.


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