President Obama is in Asia this week at APEC and the headline has been the climate change deal he announced with China…but wait, there’s more! Of particular interest to travelers is another deal cut with China to extend visas for short-term business travelers, tourists, and students. The new agreement will make travel to China significantly easier.
Here are the details from the State Department, but below is the gist of the new rules–
- Tourist and short-term business visa for U.S. citizens traveling to China issued after 12 November 2014 will be multiple entry and valid for 10 years (currently, most tourist visas are good for only one year and business visas are often single-entry).
- U.S. students visas will now be valid up to five years
- The same arrangement will apply for Chinese seeking a B-category non-immigrant visa to the USA
Why this is good news
Would you not be more likely to return to China if you didn’t have to pay $160+ each year for a visa but instead had a visa good for 10 years? Breaking down barriers reduces access costs and make travel between the two countries more attractive. It will now be easier to do business, easier to check out different regions of China over multiple trips, and easier to study abroad.
Further, Chinese consumers are excellent customers and this new visa regime will strengthen U.S. businesses as the U.S. becomes a more inviting place to vacation, do business, and spend money.
My Chinese visa has expired and renewing now is much more palatable, knowing it will be valid for the next decade.