U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced in Beijing that the United States and the People’s Republic of China have concluded a reciprocal visa validity arrangement for tourists, business travelers, and students that will strengthen the broadening economic and people-to-people ties between the United States and China.
The United States and China began issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal arrangement on November 12, 2014.
Chinese applicants who qualify for a B-category nonimmigrant visa may now be issued multiple-entry visas for a period of up to 10 years for business and tourism travel. Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J-category visas are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their program.
U.S. citizens eligible for Chinese short-term business and tourist visas will also receive multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years, while qualified U.S. students may receive student residency permits valid up to five years, depending on the length of their educational program.
By facilitating easier business and leisure travel, this reciprocal arrangement will improve trade, investment, and business ties between the United States and China. The new 10-year validity is the longest visa validity possible under U.S. law. Previously, Chinese and American business travelers and tourists had to apply for a new visa each year.
Extended validity visas for students and exchange visitors will boost people-to-people connections by easing travel restrictions for students who attend U.S. institutions of higher education. Before this new arrangement, many Chinese students who left the United States for short visits were required to apply for new visas to reenter the country.
This new visa arrangement underscores the U.S. commitment to promote bilateral tourism and trade and increase opportunities for people-to-people engagement with China.