U.S. and China Extending Visa Validity Periods for Select Categories

On Nov. 12, the U.S. and China began increasing the length of short-term business and tourist visas as well as student and exchange visas issued to each others’ citizens.

Chinese applicants who qualify for the B visa may now be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel. This is the longest visa validity possible under U.S. law. Qualified Chinese students, exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for the F, M, or J visa categories are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years (or the length of their trip). Likewise, U.S. citizens who seek Chinese visas in these categories are granted the same validity periods.

According to the Department of State, the purpose of this policy change is to increase travel and exchanges, enhance mutual understanding between our countries, and benefit our economies by increasing the ease of trade and investment.

The countries also created this reciprocal arrangement to make travel more convenient and less costly. Previously, Chinese and American business travelers and tourists had to apply annually to visit the U.S. or China. Similarly, Chinese students who departed the U.S. for short visits home or abroad were required to apply for new visas before returning to the U.S. to study.

China processes more nonimmigrant U.S. visas than any other country in the world. Currently, applications processed in China represent more than 14 percent of all U.S. nonimmigrant visa applications worldwide, and Chinese students receive nearly one-third of all student and exchange visas issued by the U.S. With figures as high as these, this policy change is sure to make visa processing significantly more efficient in the U.S. and China.

Berardi Immigration Law is highly experienced in facilitating the transfer of Chinese business travelers, students and exchange visitors into the U.S. If you are interested in coming to the U.S. to study, travel or enter for temporary business purposes, we can help you successfully obtain your visa. Please contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys!

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