Help | Our Partners |
Home > Blog > business
  • The First Steps of Survival in Shanghai- Registration, Opening a bank account, Buying a SIM card…

    Post by : expatree

Registration: How to register in Shanghai?
First for all, as soon as you arrive in China you are required to go to your local police station and register your address.

If you are a tourist or you are living in a students’ dorm you don’t need to worry about it because the hotel’s or the dorm’s manager will register you at the nearest police station (they just need a copy of your passport). 

However, if you rent an apartment, you need to do it yourself. The good news is that it only takes five minutes and you don’t need to speak any Chinese. However, you need to bring the original copy of your rental agreement and your passport (you also need to bring a photocopy of the rental agreement, first page of your passport and of your VISA).

In previous years, this wasn’t as important. However, the past year has seen a lot of police allocating their attention and pressure on address registration. If you don’t register your address, they will call the number that you gave at the customs the day you entered China. If you don’t answer, they will start searching for you. Then the process gets messy and ugly.

Again, it just takes 5 minutes. But you do need a regular house contract. Also, you should ask your agent or landlord where the police station is because you only can register at the local station that is responsible for your zone. And it can be helpful if a Chinese speaker could accompany in order to facilitate and avoid any unforeseeable issues.

You have to get registered at the police station of your district within 72 hours after the beginning of the lease period. Ask for a “Zan zhu zhen” to get your Local Shanghai registration form of Temporary Residence. This registration is free of charge.

Below is a list of the main police stations by districts. It is best you call then before going to confirm if it is in fact the correct local registration office. Normally your district name is written on your house contract.

Note also that if you leave the country and come back or move to a new living place, you have to renew this form.

- If you do not take time to deal with this, later you will not be allowed to renew your visa; and the Chinese authorities can ask you up to 5000 RMB in penalties.

- If you register too late, the police may fine you. The fine can be from 50RMB up to a maximum of 500RMB per day of delay. You always can negotiate and reach a lower amount at your own risk.

Banking in China/Opening a bank account
It is recommended to have a local bank account to keep small amounts of RMB in it. 

The four large banks are Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of Communications and Agricultural Bank of China. 

Banks are open weekends as well as week days and close early evening. Some smaller branches will close during lunch hours from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

Money exchanges
You can exchange currency at the airport upon arrival at the currency exchange counter (after passing through customs). There is no limit to how much you can change there and you will also be able to take advantage of their rates and low commission. Also given the limitless exchange amount, this is an opportunity you should use. The exchange rate in China is government controlled and therefore generally the same at hotels, banks and airport. Don't forget your passport when exchanging money. There is no problem exchanging Travellers Cheques in China but you will also need to have your passport with you. Your passport is your ticket to almost everything you do in China.

ATM Machines / Credit Cards
ATM Machines are common in Shanghai and many banks are linked to the Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus networks. There is a limit of 2,500RMB per withdrawal but you can withdraw a number of times over from the same machine. While more and more places in China are starting to accept major credit cards, China does remain a largely cash based society. It is important to ensure that you have some cash with you at all times.


Open a bank account
There is no cost to open your account and the card is free of charge. Opening a bank account is the most convenient way to receive money from abroad and to be paid by your company. You will then be able to receive and emit bank transfers. The cost for these transfers varies according to the receiver’s bank account.

It is very simple to do: 15 minutes are required to obtain your credit card. Your passport and 10Yuan are needed to complete the process. Your will choose your personal password (6 numbers). Your credit card will be activated and you will be able to use it immediately. 

Buying a Phone SIM Card
Just like everywhere else in the world, you need to have your own cell phone number in Shanghai. 
Any cell phone is able to connect to the Chinese network (GSM). You can buy a prepaid card anywhere along the street or in a specialized shop. A specialized shop where they ask for your passport and register you for the number is advised for when you top up your number.

As a foreigner, you cannot acquire access to a subscription. Foreigners can only use prepaid cards. 

The number of different cards existing on the market is simply crazy: some are restricted to Shanghai, others work everywhere but the cost is prohibitive if you phone a number from another network… The best is to go with a Chinese friend to help you clarify these options and which option fits you best.

The price of mobile data and network usage in general is low. You will use between 100 and 300Yuan per month, of course depending on your personal usage. Unlike the norm, in China, both the receiver and the caller will pay for a phone call.
Date:2014-05-01 21:18:14
Add a Comment


  • 178 items
  • 1696 events
  • 177 blogs
Share with your friends