The Do's and Don'ts When Requesting a Release Letter from Your Employer


Navigating the process of obtaining a release letter from an employer in China can be a nuanced and sometimes challenging process, especially for expatriates. Understanding the correct approach is essential for a smooth transition. Here we explore the key do’s and don’ts when requesting a release letter.

The Do’s

  1. Do Understand Your Contract: Before initiating the request, thoroughly review your employment contract. Pay close attention to clauses regarding termination and the release letter process.
  2. Do Communicate Clearly and Professionally: Approach your employer with a clear and professional request for the release letter. Maintain a respectful tone and avoid confrontational language.
  3. Do Document Your Request and Responses: Keep a record of all communications regarding your request for a release letter. This documentation can be crucial if disputes arise.
  4. Do Know Your Legal Rights: Familiarize yourself with the relevant Chinese labor laws. Understanding your legal rights can empower you in discussions with your employer.
  5. Do Seek Legal Advice if Necessary: If you encounter resistance or complex issues, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a legal advisor or consultant who specializes in Chinese employment law.

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t Leave It to the Last Minute: Start the process of requesting a release letter well before your planned departure or the end of your contract to avoid unnecessary delays.
  2. Don’t Be Aggressive or Confrontational: Avoid aggressive tactics or confrontational behavior. Such approaches are unlikely to yield positive results and could exacerbate the situation.
  3. Don’t Ignore Cultural Norms: Be mindful of cultural norms and practices in business and professional communication in China.
  4. Don’t Rely on Assumptions: Don’t assume that your employer fully understands your situation or needs. Be clear about why you need the release letter and the importance of timely issuance.
  5. Don’t Forget to Explore All Options: If direct requests are unsuccessful, explore alternative solutions such as mediation or the intervention of a higher authority within your organization.


Requesting a release letter in China requires a balanced approach of assertiveness, professionalism, and understanding of legal and cultural contexts. By following these do’s and don’ts, expatriates can increase their chances of a smooth and successful transition to their next employment opportunity.

This blog post is intended to offer guidance based on general practices and should not be taken as legal advice. For specific legal concerns or complex situations, consulting with a legal professional is always recommended.

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