President Obama Announces New Reciprocal Visa Policy with China
November 10, 2014. President Obama announced that China’s leadership has agreed to a reciprocal visa policy with the U.S. that will affect tourists, business-persons, students, and exchange visitors. The new policy will allow Chinese citizens to obtain a multi-entry tourist visa (B-2) or business visa (B-1) that is valid for up to ten years. This is a major change to the current policy, which only allows Chinese citizens to obtain a multi-entry tourist or business visa that is valid for one year. In addition, the new policy will extend the validity of international student visas (F-1) and exchange visitor visas (J-1) from one year to five years.
These changes, expected to be implemented on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, impact only the validity period of the visa itself. The new policy does not extend the length of authorized stay a visitor is allowed to remain in the United States, as determined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon entry. However, this policy will ease the burden on Chinese citizens wishing to travel to the U.S. under B-1, B-2, F-1, or J-1 visas, as the longer visa validity periods means travelers will not have to re-apply for new visas from the U.S. Embassy and Consulates as frequently.
President Obama made this announcement from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) summit, where he stated that the policy will serve the interests of both countries. The White House estimates that these changes will help create up to 440,000 American jobs by 2021 by promoting travel and business relations between U.S. and China.
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