The Department of State (DOS) announced more changes to its Reciprocity Table following updates from earlier this month and in September. Specifically, beginning November 12, 2014, Chinese nationals and their dependents will be eligible for longer visa validity periods for the following U.S. visas:
- B-1/B-2 (business and tourism) visas will increase from a one-year validity period to ten years (valid for multiple entries)
- F-1 (students), J-1 (trainees) and M-1 (vocational) visas will increase from a one-year validity period to five years (valid for multiple entries)
The visa fees for these visas will remain at $160.00 and will include appointment scheduling and passport delivery. Chinese authorities are expected to announce reciprocal changes to its corresponding visa categories for U.S. nationals traveling to China. Despite these changes, eligible visa applicants may continue to use the Interview Waiver Program (IWP).
Citizens of both China and the United States who regularly travel between the both countries will benefit from these bilateral extensions to visa validity. Individuals will no longer have to worry about applying for new visa stamps every year. Business and tourism between the countries should also increase due to the longer validity periods and the related ease of travel. The increased validity period may result in a potential increase in the number of people applying for visas under these categories. The DOS will have to accommodate the increased number of applicants to maintain processing times. Applicants are encouraged to apply for their visas well ahead of time to ensure they are able to meet their anticipated travel dates.
The United States and China are in the process of considering extending the visa validity periods of other visa categories, such as H-1B, L-1, O-1, among others.