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USA, PRC Extend Visa Validity Periods for Students, Tourists, Business Visitors

November 10, 2014 (1 min read)

"Today, President Obama announced that the United States and the People’s Republic of China are concluding a reciprocal visa validity arrangement during his visit that will strengthen our ever-broadening economic and people-to-people ties.  Both countries have agreed to increase the validity of short-term tourist and business visas issued to each other’s citizens from one to ten years – the longest validity possible under U.S. law – and increase the validity of student and exchange visas from one to five years.  The United States will begin issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement on November 12, 2014." - White House, Nov. 10, 2014.

"Going forward, keep an eye out for a few things: Currently, U.S. visa approval rates hover around 90% for business, tourist, and student visas.  Could consular officers increase the denial rate based on an instinct that a longer-validity visa is a greater benefit?  Will U.S. consular officers step up cancellation of previously issued visas to individuals who violate their terms?  In the past, the incentive to do so was lower because the visa would in any case expire soon on its own.  To what extent will China make the new 5- and 10-year visas the default as opposed to the maximum reserved for the crème de la crème?  Visitors and students in high-tech and scientific fields may be subject to “administrative processing” – otherwise known as “security advisory opinions” – background checks after their interviews to determine if they are likely to try to illegally access sensitive U.S. technologies.  If they pass their check, will they get the maximum 5- and 10-year visas or something much more limited, such as a 1-year visa, so that the State Department can keep closer tabs on them?" - Gary Chodorow, Nov. 10, 2014.