Immigrate to Shanghai. Get ready for moving to Shanghai

Moving to Shanghai. Things you should know before you immigrate to Shanghai

Shanghai is one of the biggest megalopolises not only in China but in the whole world. Its population has grown twice since 2000 because Shanghai is a huge financial centre and it has the busiest port located on the shores of the East China Sea. Thus, thousands of expats are moving to Shanghai from the USA, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and some Asian and European countries to work in the offices of international corporations there. If you are also about to immigrate to Shanghai, this guide is exactly for you because it comprises essential relocation tips and explains what nuances foreigners need to consider before moving to Shanghai.

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Moving to Shanghai is not the same as moving to China because this city has its own characteristic vibes. Even though Shanghai has many features of Western civilizations, life is different there. Thus, people relocating from the USA to Shanghai or from other overseas countries need to take into account many cultural and geographical distinctions. We have prepared some basic facts about this city for you to get acquainted with it a bit closer.

LocationShanghai is located in the eastern part of China. It has access to the East China Sea.
ClimateIn general, China has a humid subtropical climate with dry and cold winters and hot summers. The temperature rarely goes below 0 °C even during the winter time.
CurrencyRenminbi (CNY)
PopulationShanghai is the most populous city in China with about 25 million people living in the urban city area and suburbs.
LanguageEven though Chinese is the official language in China with Mandarin dialect as the most prevalent one, people living in Shanghai usually use Shanghai dialect in oral and written speech.
TimezoneUTC +8
Surprising factSmog is a major issue in Shanghai because it has exceeded the average international standard of more than 30 times.

Shanghai has been attracting international students and expats from all over the world, so there are pretty many people relocating from the USA to Shanghai or moving from the European and Asian countries. Planning relocation in advance is a good practice to immigrate to Shanghai with no hassle. Thus, it is necessary to choose the most reliable services to send your excess baggage, furniture, musical instruments, and other essential items. International removals to Shanghai provided by Eurosender would be a perfect choice for you.

  • Eurosender platform compares the prices of various logistics service providers for a chosen route. Afterwards, an intelligent engine with embedded proprietary algorithm chooses the best option for you.
  • You can send a variety of items, including furniture, household appliances, electronics, musical instruments, and clothes even when relocating from the USA to Shanghai.
  • Each shipment sent through Eurosender is automatically insured at no extra price. Consider purchasing extra insurance package if you plan to send expensive items.
  • Take advantage of convenient online tools. You can easily estimate the delivery date and track your parcel online just in one click.

For more information about international removals to Shanghai, contact our experienced logistics specialists who have already helped hundreds of our customers to move houses.

Living in Shanghai

Shanghai is the biggest seaport and financial centre in China. That is why this city attracts expats moving to Shanghai from abroad and local people relocating to Shanghai from other provinces in China. Most of you probably know that Shanghai offers high salaries and affordable cost of living for expats, while the smog issue might be sometimes unbearable. We have asked some expats in Shanghai about living in this metropolis city and outlined both advantages and disadvantages for you. Obviously, those points represent our subjective view of living in Shanghai, so you may also find other pros and cons of living in Shanghai.


  • Opportunities for earning money. If you would like to immigrate to Shanghai for employment purposes, then there is good news for you. Shanghai has many opportunities in some industries for expats who want to get decent salaries and earn extra money as well.
  • Affordable cost of living. Even though the prices in Shanghai are generally higher than in other Chinese cities, there are still many affordable options for expats when it comes to apartment rental, food, transportation, and other services.
  • Variety of goods. China is a producer of half of the world goods, while Shanghai is one of its industrial centres. That is why, foreigners can find cheap electronics, household goods, and clothes in Shanghai.


  • Ecological situation. The pollution rate in Shanghai has exceeded all existing norms for more than 30 times. Air pollution, noise pollution, and soil depletion are among the greatest environmental problems in Shanghai.
  • Some foods and goods are not available in Shanghai. As everywhere else in China, you literally cannot find any dairy products, sausages, and tampons for women in Shanghai. Expats and foreigners moving to Shanghai for a long-term stay should better take these products together with them but consider customs rules and regulations as some foods are prohibited for import.
  • The internet. The quality of local internet in Shanghai is sometimes unbearably slow. Expats moving to Shanghai from the countries with solid technological basis may struggle a lot because of this. Such websites as YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and some apps can be accessed only with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) tool.
  • No central heating. As Shanghai is located in the subtropical climate, it is warm there mostly throughout all year round. However, the coldest winter months could be really challenging as there is no central heating in Shanghai, while the average winter temperature is about 5 °C.

Cost of living in Shanghai

While the average salary is about $2200 in Shanghai, the city offers both budget and luxury options for everyone. As a rule, a major part of the salary is spent on the apartment rental, but expats moving to Shanghai manage to find affordable options in advance. Check the table below with the approximate prices for food and services along with the average monthly expenses of expats living in Shanghai.

Apartment rental$500-1000 (depending on the region of the city)
Utility bills$75
A meal of the day in a restaurant$15-20
Street food$5-7
A cup of cappuccino$5
International school for children (optional)$200


Visa regulations for Shanghai

If you are moving to Shanghai, then most likely you will need a visa. There are 4 main types of visa expats usually apply for before they immigrate to Shanghai: tourist, student, business, and work visas. Depending on the reason of your stay in Shanghai, you need to apply for a corresponding type of visa.

  • Tourist visa. It is issued to those who plan to stay in Shanghai for a short-term period. Tourists need to provide proof of travel (hotel reservation for certain dates, for instance) and a document indicating that there are enough funds on the bank account.
  • Study visa. It is issued to those who have enrolled in one of the universities in Shanghai. There are two types of student visa – X1 and X2. As a rule, X2 is provided for a single entry and valid for less than 6 months. With X1, you will be entitled to multiple entries and long-term stay in Shanghai or any other Chinese city for taking courses and bachelor’s or master’s programs in the local universities.
  • Business visa. This type of visa is suitable for those who travel to Shanghai for business purposes and commercial activities. The number of entries and validity period depends on each particular case.
  • Work visa. To obtain a work visa (Z), you should get a work permit from your employer first. Expats moving to Shanghai with Z visa need to register with the police station to get a residence permit.

Healthcare in Shanghai

Shanghai is a modern metropolis city, but its healthcare system is reliant on the Chinese traditional medical practices. However, Shanghai has several hospitals with a balanced combination of traditional Chinese and western healing techniques. Given that this city is international, there are many international medical centres there, so expats can enjoy the quality of services they used to in their home countries.

The healthcare system in Shanghai is functioning under the province healthcare insurance plan. Each citizen, resident, or expat is supposed to make monthly contributions to have access to medical services in Shanghai. Consider that emergency services are generally not common in China, so it is strongly advised to come to your hospital or ask your nearest to bring you to a medical facility in case there is an urgent health issue.

Consider that not every hospital accepts international visitors and foreigners, but you can go to Huashan world medical centre, Shanghai international hospital, Rujin hospital, and Shanghai Huadong hospital for sure. It is strongly advisable to learn some basic Chinese in order to be able to explain the issue to a doctor or any other medical worker.

School and education

Expats moving to Shanghai need to think of the educational options for their children either it is a kindergarten or a school. If your child is a first-grader and knows some basic Chinese, you can make a registration with a local school in Shanghai which is free of charge. In other cases, you can choose an international school with an American or British curricular. The cost of education in the kindergarten will be about $450 per month, while you will have to pay around $200 for an international school.

Unlike school education, annual tuition fees of about $1000-1500 apply to higher education. However, there are many state programs allowing international and local students to study free of charge. If you are learning Chinese and would like to enrol in one of the universities in Shanghai for practising this language, then you can apply for the governmental grant programs and gather all the necessary documents for visa upon acceptance.

The job market in Shanghai

Once China, particularly Shanghai, was attracting expats to help develop the local economy. Now, Shanghai is one of the largest financial centres in the world. This city has many opportunities to offer experts in various industries, so it is up to you whether you take advantage of them or not.

Currently, there are still many vacancies for English-speaking expats, but not as many as several years ago. The average monthly salary in Shanghai is about $2000 which is typical for doctors, medical workers, building and construction experts, police officers, and teachers. Those working in the finance and banking sector or come to Shanghai as scientists or IT experts earn around $4000-5000 per month.

Property information

The cost of real estate property is really high in Shanghai as 1 square meter could be about $15,000 in the city centre area and twice cheaper in the suburbs. However, $7500 per square meter is still very expensive for the locals who get $1500 as a monthly salary on average. That way, both expats and local citizens prefer renting an apartment instead. The average cost of the monthly apartment rental in the city centre is about $1000 and $500 in the suburbs.

Driving in Shanghai

As there are about 25 million people living in Shanghai, several million cars surf all over Shanghai daily. It may seem that driving in Shanghai is crazy as people do not stick to the rules. It is so indeed, but the statistics show the number of crash accidents in Shanghai is not very high. Anyway, expats moving to Shanghai will find it difficult to get used to the traffic in Shanghai from the first day of driving. As in other big cities, you will most likely be caught in a traffic jam if you drive in the morning and evening times when all people are going either to or from work.

Instead of driving in Shanghai, expats can take advantage of a developed infrastructure with a convenient and cheap public transportation system. Metro is probably the fastest option, but you will find an endless stream of people there. You can also use a branched out bus system in Shanghai which is also popular among local residents.

Cost of moving to Shanghai

When expats are planning a move, they are usually wondering about the average moving costs to Shanghai. Those who relocate from the United States are eager to estimate how much is shipping from the USA to Shanghai. We at Eurosender would help you with relocation by offering the cheapest way to move furniture to Shanghai and sending other household appliances. Furthermore, you can easily ship motorcycles, coffee machines, musical instruments, and other items you use daily. With international removals to Shanghai provided by Eurosender, you will get lower than the average moving costs to Shanghai.

Depending on the amount and dimensions of the items you are planning to send, the appropriate shipping option should be chosen. As Eurosender cooperates with renowned logistics providers worldwide, there is flexibility in transportation means ranging from the road to sea freight shipping services.

Arrange everything with our experts and get the most affordable cost of moving house to Shanghai by booking freight shipping services and requesting an individual offer. Our professionals are always ready to help you and estimate the average moving costs to Shanghai for you.

Check our services for international removals to Shanghai once you decide to relocate from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, or any other country.

The most popular destinations from where you can move to Shanghai

Moving to Shanghai from the United Kingdom

Many citizens of the United Kingdom have already moved to Shanghai for teaching, banking, and engineering jobs at very decent salary rates. If you are also moving to Shanghai from the United Kingdom soon, we offer an effective solution to transport suitcases and an affordable cost of moving house to Shanghai. Door-to-door shipping services are advantageous because you do not need to take your heavy packages and pallets to drop them in the local post office. Just wait for a courier who will pick up all your packages and get ready for relocation.

Moving to Shanghai from Singapore

If you are moving to Shanghai from Singapore and looking for an affordable solution to send your packages, suitcases, or pallets, Eurosender can offer you access to a wide network of international logistics companies. By using our online platform, you can automatically see the cost of your shipment and the estimated delivery time of shipping services from Singapore to Shanghai.

Other destinations?

Disclaimer: The materials provided in this article were collected from other credible resources to be used for general information purposes only. Given that the legislative basis of the country and its economic development have a changing nature, the information provided in the article could be subject to change. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, Eurosender will not be liable for any inappropriate, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Certain links will lead to websites which are not under control of Eurosender. Thus, Eurosender accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services being not under control of Eurosender.