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US and China Extend Visa Validity Period for Business Travel, Tourism and Students

Chinese Design DoorBeginning on November 12, 2014, the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will each increase the validity of short-term business and tourist visas (B-1 and B-2 visas in the US) and student and exchange visas (F, M and J visas in the US).

Chinese applicants who qualify for a nonimmigrant (NIV) B visa (B-1 business visitor visa or B-2 tourist visitor visa) may now be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel to the United States. In addition, qualified Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J visas will now be eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their programs.

Similarly, US citizens eligible for Chinese short term business and tourist visas will be eligible to receive multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years, while qualified US students may receive student residency permits valid up to five years, depending on the length of their educational program.

According to the US Department of State, US and Chinese citizens who travel between the US and China will benefit from the longer visa validity periods by not having to apply for these visas and pay visa application fees each year that they wish to travel. Moreover, businesses in each country, including the tourism industry, will benefit from increased travel, investment, and business development opportunities between China and the United States. Longer visa validity periods will also enable students and exchange visitors to more easily return to their home countries during school and work holidays.

These changes in visa validity periods will be very popular among Chinese travelers. Accordingly, the US Mission in China is now taking measures to handle a potential increase in visa workload, and intends to keep US visa processing times as short as they have been over the past several years.

Please review the Department of State FAQs for more information.

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