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"As part of the U.S. Mission in China’s efforts to streamline the visa application process, the Embassy and all Consulates that issue visas are implementing a new visa appointment, fee payment and document delivery system starting on March 16, 2013. This system, already in use in several countries, will make it easier for applicants to schedule their visa interview appointments, pay visa processing fees, and check on the status of their issued visas." - U.S. Embassy, Beijing, Feb. 20, 2013.
"Another great thing is that visa applicants will no longer have to pay added costs for scheduling or changing appointments and getting their passports back. Beginning March 16 visa applicants will only pay the standard processing fee of $160 US dollars for most non-immigrant visa categories. There will also be three payment options. They can pay on the internet with a Chinese debit card or a foreign credit card. Number two, they can pay at any Citic Bank ATM. Number three, they can pay in cash at any Citic Bank branch. We’ve listened to the suggestions of the Chinese applicants and we will now offer internet-based services. Applicants can make a visa interview appointment on-line, and they can check on-line to see when their visa is ready for pickup. Visa applicants can still use our call center to make an appointment and to have all of their questions answered, but starting March 16th there’s no fee for using the call center. And the new system allows applicants to pick up their passports at any one of the 900 Citic Bank branches all across China." - Ambassador Gary F. Locke, Feb. 20, 2013.