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How to Transfer Money from China to UK

China to UK Guide


Since establishing diplomatic relations in 1954, China and the UK have enjoyed a stable bilateral relationship. Trade between the two nations has steadily increased since 1999, with it growing in the year to March 2018 by 15.3%. Nevertheless, Chinese citizens who wish to transfer money from China to the UK face many restrictions. The average amount that can be transferred is $50,000 per calendar year for each individual. There are fewer restrictions for Chinese businesses sending money abroad online to the UK and for those making larger transfers intended for tuition costs, remittances to family members, or to cover medical expenses.

Visas, work permits and residency

Chinese visitors to the UK are very common, both as tourists and workers. Chinese nationals require a visa in order to enter the UK. UK Visa Application Centres in China have recently undergone massive upgrades and have expanded to accommodate a larger number of applicants more efficiently. Currently, there are at least 12 of these centres spread throughout major Chinese cities.

Applications for UK visas from China are managed by VFS Global. Before applying for a visa, applicants must first determine which type of visa will best fit their specific situation. All visa application forms are in English and must be filled out in English as well. Chinese nationals who enter the UK on a general visitor visa will not be able to work, marry, receive medical treatment, or enrol in a course of study.

All Chinese nationals are required to obtain a work visa in order to seek employment in the UK. Tier 1 visas are general work permits that do not require you to have a job offer. Tier 2 visas require you to show proof of a job offer from a qualifying UK employer. If Chinese expats will be staying temporarily in the UK, they can apply for a Tier 5 visa, which allows them to work for a short period.

Chinese nationals who want to stay in the UK permanently can apply for permanent residence if they have lived in the UK for a period of between two and five years. Permanent residents are free from immigration control and one step closer to becoming naturalised British citizens.


Buying property in the UK

Property in the UK tends to be quite costly, especially in London, where there is a limited supply of real estate. Chinese nationals are able to buy property in the UK, with a few banks offering mortgage and investment loans. You will have to present proof of income in addition to as much as a 40% down payment. Chinese expats may also be able to secure a loan from a local bank in China with which they already have an established relationship. It is advisable to engage the services of a real estate professional or lawyer who can assist with all aspects of the purchase, including the tax implications

Banking and taxation in the UK

Although a sophisticated system, opening a bank account in the UK can be a complicated and frustrating process for Chinese expats. The complication lies in the over 20 choices of institutions, the most popular of which are Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank and NatWest. In order to open a British bank account, you will need to present proof of income and employment, a passport, and evidence of a local address. With some banks, you may have the option to open a bank account in China before arriving in the UK. Although this can make it easy to transfer money from China to the UK, it can be quite costly.

Chinese nationals who live in the UK for more than 183 days within the UK tax year will have to pay taxes on income generated both in the UK and overseas. Taxes range from 20% to 40% on income amounts below £31,865 to over £150,000.


Studying in the UK

The UK is a popular destination for Chinese students. The largest number of international students from non-EU countries enrolled in UK universities and colleges are Chinese nationals. In 2018, there were almost 20,000 undergraduate applications by students from China to study in the UK, according to the UK Council for International Student Affairs. In 2017/18, there were 106,530 Chinese students in the UK. This means that Chinese students are by far the largest demographic of overseas students in the UK, even outnumbering EU students by five to one.

A Chinese student can expect to pay higher fees than local students. The average amount for one year of study is £22,200. Of this, tuition fees are £10,000, while the remaining £12,200 accounts for the cost of living. A General student (Tier 4) visa is required once you have been accepted into a UK institution. You will have to provide evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover the tuition as well as living expenses.


The National Health Service (NHS) manages public health care in the UK and is renowned as one of the leading health services in the world. Chinese expats are entitled to free emergency health care in a NHS medical facility. If you intend to stay in the UK for an extended period you will have to register to get your personal NHS number.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are the money transfer companies shown above safe to use?

Yes, all the companies are safe and fully-regulated money transfer services. Each are authorised and regulated by the relevant authority such as the Financial Conduct Authority(FCA) in the UK, FinCEN in the US, FinTRAC in Canada or ASIC in Australia.

How long does an international money transfer take?

The speed of delivery will depend on where the money is being from and to and how you are sending and receiving the money. Transfers sent using bank to bank transfers can depend take anywhere from minutes to days and you should check the time estimates from the relevant provider. Debit and credit card payments sometimes allow for faster transfers for smaller amounts.

How do I use FXcompared?

First review the comparison results (such as for a table above) for a given amount of money sending from China to UK. Then select a provider based on factors such as price, speed, their rating and click the green button to be taken to their website. From there, you can register and sign up for an account. Once you have done that and the provider has verified your identity to ensure the money can be send safely, you will be ready to transfer money.

What payments methods can I use to send money overseas?

The results shown above are typically for bank to bank transfers. It is possible via some providers to pay in your funds for the transfer via cash, debit or credit cards as well but this is usually reserved for smaller amounts. Some providers also give you different options for how the money will be received - to a bank account (most common), to a debit card, to cash or to a digital or mobile wallet.

What if the price shown above isn’t exactly what I am offered when I try to transfer money?

There can be a number of reasons why the final price you are offered may be different to that shown in the table above. Exchange rates between two currencies change all the time and is the most common reason. Additionally, some providers offer different pricing depending what method you are using to send funds or how the funds will be received. Others may offer you a premium service for faster payments. In some cases FXcompared has a special rate with a provider and this is reserved for first time customers who sign up to the provider starting from FXcompared’s website. As prices do change often, be sure to confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

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We welcome all suggestions for improvements. Send us an email at is an fx money comparison site for international money transfer and to compare rates from currency brokers for sending money abroad. The website and the information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer, solicitation or advice on any financial service or transaction. None of the information presented is intended to form the basis for any investment decision, and no specific recommendations are intended.  FXC Group Ltd and FX Compared Ltd does not provide any guarantees of any data from third parties listed on this website. FX compared Ltd expressly disclaims any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from (i) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (ii) any action resulting therefrom.