How to Exchange Yuan for Dollars In The United States

How to Exchange Yuan for Dollars In The United States

With thousands more Chinese visitors arriving in the USA every year the question of currency exchange whilst abroad is becoming a more common one. For the almost 3 million Chinese Nationals who visit per year, exchanging Yuan for Dollars in the United States can be done in a few different ways.

With some planning, Chinese citizens will be able to easily keep their supply of local currency properly topped up. We’ll explain the different ways in which you can travel to the United States as a Chinese citizen and exchange your Yuan notes for U.S. Dollars.

Before you travel to the United States it is essential to register with the EVUS system. This must be done at least 72 hours before you travel to the USA.

Signing up for the Electronic Visa Update System is mandatory to enter the USA as a Chinese citizen. The EVUS system updates the credentials of a 10-year B1 or B2 US Visa holder into the electronic database.

Enrolling in EVUS is a simple process and just requires the users to provide their personal details, passport information, and U.S. visa specifications.

Is it difficult to exchange Yuan for Dollars in the U.S.?

According to Chinese government policy, all RMB leaving the country needs to be scrutinized properly for tax purposes and to safeguard against money laundering. Therefore sending money from China to the United States via some of the more popular online transfer services is not always possible or easy to do.

Additionally, finding banks around the country that will take Yuan notes in exchange for Dollar bills can sometimes be tricky. Furthermore, to ensure currency stability, the Chinese state prevents travelers from leaving the country with Yuan worth more than $5000 in transfers or amounts of RMB 20,000 in cash.

In most cases, it is better to exchange your Yuan for US Dollars before arriving in the States. However, there are a few ways in which Chinese citizens can change RMB for USD, while on a trip to the USA.

Exchange RMB for USD at the airport

International airports across the U.S. play host to thousands of tourists from all over the world every day. Naturally, this means you’ll find many places where you will be able to exchange foreign currency. As more Chinese citizens are traveling to destinations like the USA for business and tourism, more of these travel money agencies are likely to carry Yuan notes.

Some considerations if you want to change Yuan for Dollars at the airport:

  • This is usually quite expensive as fees are applied
  • The rate of exchange is often less competitive than from other travel money providers
  • The exchange amount is normally limited to only $500 at a time

Additionally, these travel money companies often exchange currency based on daily market rates. This can lead to rapid price fluctuations depending on how well the RMB is performing at the time of the transfer.

Exchange Yuan for Dollars via money transfer services

Unfortunately, many popular transfer companies like Transferwise and PayPal don’t offer RMB to USD services. However, other more established wire transfer services such as Western Union do although at quite a high cost.

Luckily if you are a Chinese citizen it is possible to make a quick transfer with Alipay from your bank in China to another in the USA. You can send up to $2000 per day, which should be able to cover any costs while on your trip. This service is only for personal use and you will only be able to transfer money to an American bank account you own.

Swap RMB for USD at a bank within the U.S.

Whilst not all banks across the 50 states will be able to offer RMB to USD exchange services, there are some exceptions to this rule.

This often applies to:

  • Chinese banks within the U.S., such as the Bank of China or Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China (ICBC)
  • U.S. Banks partnering with a Chinese bank, such as the Bank of America
  • Banks in major international metropolitan centers like New York and Los Angeles

It is possible to organize an international bank transfer from your provider in China to a U.S. Bank where you can collect your money as Dollars. This method is relatively cheap and generally gives a reasonable rate of exchange. One thing to consider however is that you may need proof that you’ve paid tax on your income in China. This proof can be provided by your company or place of work. You will also need a bank account in the U.S. to credit with the amount.

Additionally, it is possible to withdraw money directly from some ATMs if your bank card carries the China Union Pay logo. However, be aware, this service is limited. It will only work in some ATMs such as those for ICBC and Pulse Network. China Union Pay debit cards can also be used to make payments directly in some cases as well.

Using a debit or credit card in the USA

Card payments are very common across the United States and almost all shops, services and restaurants accept debit and credit transactions in one form or another. Not all cards from Chinese banks work overseas. However, those using cards on the Union Pay system can make purchases with their debit or credit card, with over 80% of US vendors accepting payment from the network.
There are however a couple of restrictions on overseas card use:

  • Cardholders are limited to withdrawals of US$15,000 (RMB 100,000) per year
  • Card payments cannot exceed RMB 10,000 per day
  • This applies cumulatively to all cards held by the cardholder

Generally speaking, it is better not to bring large amounts of Yuan in cash to the USA as exchanging it can be difficult and costly. Not to mention that the Chinese government prefers citizens not to travel abroad with large quantities of RMB. Despite these obstacles, there are many ways that Chinese visitors will be able to travel and shop in the US with relative ease and speed.

When traveling to the U.S. as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China you must have a valid visa and EVUS before traveling. Find out how to apply for an EVUS for your trip and make sure you have the right U.S. tourist visa required by Homeland Security on arrival.

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