Beginning January 15, 2005, eligible Chinese nationals who wish to visit the United
States temporarily for business (B-1) or tourism (B-2) will be issued visas that
are valid for 12 months and multiple entries. The previous maximum validity for
U.S. visas issued for these purposes was six months and for multiple entries.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also agreed to reciprocally issue
to U.S. citizens visiting China on temporary business and tourism visas valid
for 12 months and multiple entries.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs exchanged
diplomatic notes on this agreement in December 2004. While the United States and
China will in principle issue maximum validity visas to each other’s citizens,
on a case-by-case basis, each side may limit the period of validity and number
of entries as required by law and regulation.
The mutual extension of visa reciprocity will be a significant benefit to business
and tourist travelers between China and the United States. Frequent American citizen
travelers to China will save time and money with longer visa validity. Frequent
Chinese travelers receiving longer validity visas will need to visit the U.S.
Embassy or Consulates in China less often to renew visas, freeing embassy and
consulate resources to adjudicate other visa applications more quickly.
In 2004, the U.S. Embassy and the four U.S. consulates in China issued 228,600
nonimmigrant visas. Of these, 173,140, or more than 77 percent, were temporary
visas for business (B-1) or tourism (B-2).