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U.S. and China Agree to Extend Visas for Business Travelers, Tourists, and Students

The U.S. Department of State announced that starting November 12, 2014, the U.S. will issue extended visas to Chinese business travelers, tourists, students, and exchange visitors in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement between the two countries.

According to the new agreement:

– B-1 and B-2 temporary visitor visas for business and tourism will increase in validity from one to ten years, for multiple entries; and – F-1 student and F-2 dependent visas, M-1 vocational student and M-2 dependent visas, and J-1 exchange visitor and J-2 dependent visas will increase in validity from one to five years, or the length of the program, for multiple entries.

It is important to note that visa validity is not the same as the allowed duration of stay in the U.S. While a visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry, a Customs and Border Protection officer at a U.S. port of entry will grant admission to valid travelers and notify the traveler of the permitted length of stay. The new agreement does not change the permitted duration of stay in the U.S. for any visa class.

Additionally, the new agreement does not increase the validity of visas already issued. To obtain a visa with extended validity, holders of valid or recently-expired visas will need to apply again. There will be no change to visa eligibility criteria, and the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) will remain available to those who qualify. The visa application fee will remain at USD $160.

Please contact our office if you have questions about this information or visa application procedures, or if you require additional information on timing, strategies, or eligibility for these visas.

For more information, please visit http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/general/us-china-agree-to-extend-visas.html