Exiting China

This is an account of leaving China that I wrote previously for a different platform

I left China on May 5th to the USA with a Chinese fianceé who was on tourist visa. We made it out but the exit customs agent was extremely stringent. We declared eachother as travel partners as we went through outbound customs, at the counter, but we approached the counter separately/one by one as is required.

This was before the latest announcement from the Chinese bureau of immigration.

The customs agent asked my fianceé (Chinese national) tons of questions, such as:

  • What are you going to the US for (answer: travel)
  • Really just travel (纯粹是旅游吗)? (answer: yes, just travel
  • Where in the US are you going
  • Which cities do you plan to visit, how long, and in what order, etc.
  • Where exactly (hotel name even) do you plan to stay
  • How many times have you been to the USA previously and how long did you stay
  • What’s your job/what do you do
  • What’s his (mine) job
  • Where in the US is he from
  • What do his parents do/jobs
  • Mobile/cell number (Chinese number)

My partner went first and was asked those questions. I could hear it all, my palms were sweating buckets!!!

Then it was my turn, they asked me:

  • What do you do in China
  • Mobile/cell number (Chinese number)

Seemed kinda fishy. Way more stringent than US homeland security when entering the US even, what the heck?! Then we were waiting in the departure area and they CALLED MY PARTNER’S PHONE. The same customs officer. I nearly shat my pants, on god. My partner asked the caller,“do I need to bring my bags?” and she said “no just passport”. So my partner went BACK to the customs counter.

I wasn’t there of course, so I only have the account from my partner, but apparently the customs officer said:

Nothing is wrong, don't worry

We just entered some information into the system wrong, have to re-enter it

Seriously don't worry


Okay you're good to go

I seriously was so fucking nervous that I got a migraine just from the pressure while I was watching this happen. I saw the worst case scenario unfold in my head, but luckily it didn’t happen.

Then we got on the plane, and I was on edge, wasn’t comfortable and convinced until the plane started moving.


  • US national travel partner
  • Chinese national on US tourist visa
  • Non-married status (declared “boyfriend/girlfriend” towards chinese customs)
  • Chinese customs was very strict, called back Chinese national, but ultimately let Chinese national exit
  • This was prior to the latest 5/12 announcement from Chinese bureau of immigration about restrict the exit of non-essential Chinese travelers

key visual: a picture I took when we entered outbound customs. As soon as I took the photo, a customs official angrily asked me to stop taking pictures.

Last modified: December 05, 2022
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