What is the change? The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. has announced that as of Nov. 11 it is accepting applications for extended-validity visas agreed to in the recent reciprocal visa deal between the two countries.

What does the change mean? American citizens may now apply for certain business and tourist visas that are valid for 10 years and student visas that are valid for five years.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Business (M), Tourist (L), Short-term visit to relatives (Q2)/private matters (S2), student (X1) visas.
  • Who is affected: U.S. nationals applying for the above visas.
  • Impact on processing times: The extended validity reduces processing by eliminating annual renewals.
  • Business impact: The longer validity significantly eases travel by allowing for multiple entry on the same visa for multi-year periods.
  • Next steps: The Chinese consulates have not formally announced new application forms or procedures. BAL is closely following the developments and will update clients as the procedures are detailed.

Background: President Barack Obama announced the two-way visa deal Monday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing. The agreement provides that each country will extend the validity of visas for business travelers and tourists to 10 years and visas for students and exchange visitors to five years. Currently, those visas are generally valid for one year and require annual renewals.

The U.S. State Department announced that the new extended visas would be available to Chinese applicants beginning Nov. 12. The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. announced that as of Nov. 11 it would accept 10-year multiple entry visa applications for tourist, business, short-term visits to relatives and private matters and five-year multiple entry visa applications for study purposes. The eligibility and requirements remain the same as before, and the applicant’s passport should be valid for at least one year.

BAL Analysis: Both countries have moved quickly to implement the visa arrangement. The longer validity period removes a significant inconvenience by allowing business travelers, tourists and students to make multiple trips on the same visa over an extended period of time.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in China. For additional information, please contact

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