In a major change to the immigration rules, which is also designed to boost the education and tourism industries, the United States will from today begin to reciprocally expand the validity of tourist, exchange and student US visas with China, as well as short-term business visas.
Exchange visitors, qualified students and their dependents from China who are eligible for the F, J or M US visas will now qualify for multiple-entry US visas lasting for the length of their program or up to five years, while Chinese applicants eligible for the B category non-immigrant visa can now be granted multiple-entry visas lasting for up to ten years for tourist and business travel, the State Department says. Chinese nationals are the biggest foreign student demographic in the United States.
Those with US citizenship who qualify for short-term business and tourist visas to China will now also be able to obtain multiple-entry visas lasting for up to a decade, while eligible students from the United States can be granted student residency permits lasting for up to five years.
The new arrangement is intended to be less expensive and considerably more convenient for travelers, with American and Chinese tourists and business travelers previously having to make annual applications if they visited China or the United States every year. Many previous Chinese students in the US have had to re-apply for a visa when deciding to travel outside the US for their vacations and returning back to complete their studies.