Beginning 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 US. 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 for multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years. Qualified US students may receive student residency permits valid up to five years, depending on the length of their educational program.
This new policy will benefit US and Chinese citizens who travel between the US and China by saving them from the inconvenience and expense of additional visa applications. Moreover, businesses in each country, including the tourism industry, will benefit from increased travel, investment, and business development opportunities between China and the US. Longer visa validity periods will also enable students and exchange visitors to more easily return to home countries during school and work holidays.
The US Mission in China is now taking measures to handle a potential increase in visa workload. They intend 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.