On November 10, the State Department announced that the U.S. and China were concluding a reciprocal visa validity arrangement that would strengthen the ever-broadening economic and people-to-people ties between the two countries by increasing the validity of short-term tourist and business visas, and student and exchange visitor visas issued to each other’s citizens.
Chinese applicants who qualify for the B1/B2 business/tourist nonimmigrant visa (NIV) classification may now be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years – the longest validity possible under U.S. law – for business and tourist travel. Qualified Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for the F, M, or J student visa classifications, are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for the length of their program up to five years.
U.S. citizens eligible for Chinese L tourist and F short term business visas should also receive multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years, while qualified U.S. students may receive an X student visa valid up to five years, depending on the length of their educational program.
Changes in visa validity will not affect visa eligibility criteria or the duration of stay upon each entry, and the basic visa processing fee remains unchanged at the current rate of 160 USD.
The U.S. will begin issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement on November 12, 2014. A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement indicated the arrangement would be completed soon but no specific date was given.