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U.S. Extends Visa Validity for Chinese Tourist and Business Travelers

Beginning January 15, 2005, eligible Chinese nationals who wish to visit the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or tourism (B-2) will be issued visas that are valid for 12 months and multiple entries. The previous maximum validity for U.S. visas issued for these purposes was six months and for multiple entries.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also agreed to reciprocally issue to U.S. citizens visiting China on temporary business and tourism visas valid for 12 months and multiple entries.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs exchanged diplomatic notes on this agreement in December 2004. While the United States and China will in principle issue maximum validity visas to each other’s citizens, on a case-by-case basis, each side may limit the period of validity and number of entries as required by law and regulation.

The mutual extension of visa reciprocity will be a significant benefit to business and tourist travelers between China and the United States. Frequent American citizen travelers to China will save time and money with longer visa validity. Frequent Chinese travelers receiving longer validity visas will need to visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in China less often to renew visas, freeing embassy and consulate resources to adjudicate other visa applications more quickly.

In 2004, the U.S. Embassy and the four U.S. consulates in China issued 228,600 nonimmigrant visas. Of these, 173,140, or more than 77 percent, were temporary visas for business (B-1) or tourism (B-2).