President Obama issued a statement on November 10, 2014, that the U.S. and China have mutually agreed to increase the validity of tourist and business visas issued to each country's respective citizens. The White House notes that the reciprocal visa validity extension is part of an executive effort to support job growth in the U.S. and strengthen ties with China by facilitating travel and improving trade and investment. The U.S. will begin issuing visas to Chinese nationals under the extended validity agreement as of November 12, 2014.
This announcement impacts the following visa types:
Visas to the U.S. for Chinese Nationals:
B-1/B-2: Visas primarily issued for short-term business travel and tourism. Chinese citizens may now apply for multiple-entry visas valid for 10 years. Previously, such visas were only valid for a total of one year.
F, M and J: Visa types primarily issued to students and trainees and their dependents. Chinese citizens may now apply for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their program. Visas were previously issued for a maximum duration of one year.
Visas to China for U.S. Nationals:
L, F and M: Visas primarily issued for tourism, short-term visits or business trips. U.S. citizens are eligible to receive multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years. These visas were previously issued for one entry within three months, two entries within six months, or multiple entries within six months or one year.
X1: Visas primarily issued for long-term courses of study. U.S. students are eligible to receive resident permits for study for up to five years, depending on the length of their program.
Expected Action on Immigration Reform
As we have previously written, it is expected that President Obama will take executive action on immigration reform, most likely by the end of 2014. Stay tuned as our office will publish legal updates on any immigration reform measures the President adopts.
This legal update is for information purposes only. If you have questions about extended visa reciprocity, please contact a Faegre Baker Daniels immigration attorney.