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Ten-Year Visas for Americans

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889

According to news reports, Barack Obama has just announced in Beijing that China and the U.S. have agreed to issue ten-year multiple-entry tourist and business visas on a reciprocal basis. Previously, there was an agreement to issue one-year multiple-entry tourist and business visas. Student visas will be extended to five years.

 

No precise details yet, except that the announcement said the U.S. would start offering the ten-year visas on Wednesday, November 12.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/10/us-china-usa-visas-idUSKCN0IU0Q020141110

 

 

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bande

I think a lot of us are waiting for more news. A ten year visa would make it a lot easier for my mother in law to visit.

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Simon_CH

I suspect these are only available under special circumstances, subject to the discretion of the relevant embassy and given to executives of companies with investments in China.

 

Not something your average China visitor (for business or tourism) will receive.

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889

The Chinese have been iffy sometimes about adhering to the prior agreement to issue one-year visas on a reciprocal basis, so there're historical grounds for suspecting that they may be similarly iffy about the 10-year visas, no matter what they've agreed to on paper.

 

But the U.S. understanding certainly seems to be that 10-year visas are to become the norm, not something set aside for special cases.

 

Note that with a 10-year visa, your Period of Stay becomes critical. You don't want to be stuck with a 30-day limit for 10 years. Yet in the past, some consulates have been inconsistent and capricious in setting the length of stay. 

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Simon_CH

Agreed 889, though I wouldn't call it capricious and inconsistent, it's just that Visa issuance is up to the local embassy staff, and there are no strict guidelines as to who gets what kind of Visa. This at least is certainly true for business Visas, how many entries you get, how long stays and the validity of the Visa are all up to the staff, and there are no clear criteria for their issuance. 

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Simon_CH

good article liuzhou, confirms what I posted above: "There was no public guidance as to who qualified for a 1-year validity Chinese visa. Under the new agreement, they may be issue for a “maximum” of 10 years, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

 

There is no indication that this will be the default for Visas at all, but rather likely a Visa reserved for a select few.

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889

Actually, the formal U.S. State Department announcement also says "up to ten years."

"U.S. citizens eligible for Chinese short term business and tourist visas should . . . receive multiple-entry visas valid for up to ten years."

www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/11/233904.htm

Now it's true that this president suffers occasional attacks of you-can-keep-your-own-doctor-itis, in which he tries to make a splash by overstating the technical aspects of some development. Perhaps that was at work here, perhaps not.

But it's also true that by making such a presidential splash over the ten-year visa -- the one-year visa was announced very quietly, by contrast -- he has made something of a commitment to see that the Chinese follow through.

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889

China Daily says those 10-year visas are now being issued. There's a picture of the fellow who got the first one in D.C. yesterday (November 12). Xinhuanet has a closeup of the visa, which shows he got a 60-day entry.

 

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/us/2014-11/13/content_18904426.htm

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-11/13/c_133785509_2.htm

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liuzhou

 

China Daily says those 10-year visas are now being issued. There's a picture of the fellow who got the first one in D.C. yesterday (November 12). Xinhuanet has a closeup of the visa, which shows he got a 60-day entry.

 

They did the same when they announced the "permanent" residence permits. A few propaganda photos of a few people who were given one, then they issued very few more.

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889

Yes, yes, we could all come up with past instances of loud promises followed by silent backtracking. E.g., that 2003 Beijing Ribao headline, "北京城八区昨起取消涉外定点住宿的限制." Or the Olympics, where everyone was welcomed to visit Beijing, until they discovered they weren't when they found it neigh-impossible to get visas.

But let's think positively this time, shall we.

 

Addendum: There's a disturbing report over on Flyertalk about a traveller who was just denied a ten-year visa at the D.C. embassy because she had never visited Mainland China before; she was told she would get a ten-year visa only after she had been to the Mainland at least once. Of course there's nothing in the publicity about the ten-year visa that supports this sort of restriction. In any event, if you've got a new passport, be sure to take your old one with entry/exit stamps along.

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Chef

If a US citizen is granted a ten-year visa, does this simply mean the visa can be used to enter China any time within ten years after the issuing of the visa, or does it mean the person can actually stay in China for ten years following entry to China?

 

If a US citizen is granted a ten-year visa that has a maximum duration of 60 days, what exactly does this mean? Does the visa expire 60 days after entry to China, or can the person stay in China for multiple 60-day stints (exiting the country between each stint) over the course of a ten-year period?

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889

If you've got a ten-year multiple-entry visa with a sixty-day stay like Mr. Downie's, you can enter China any number of times during that ten-year period, but you can only stay for sixty days after each entry.

 

A visa of course never guaranties entry, in China or elsewhere. If you repeatedly enter China after short exits, there may be questions whether your activities there are inconsistent with your visa status (i.e., are you working on a tourist visa). China hasn't been too strict in the past on re-entries, but there's no question enforcement of immigration rules is tightening.

 

More news: Sunrise International in Hong Kong is now bannering 最新** 美國護照可申請 10年 多次簽証, so it looks like these new visas will be available in Hong Kong and presumably elsewhere outside the U.S. (The one-year visas were generally available only in the U.S.) We'll have to see whether they're available only to Americans resident locally or to all.

 

Further reports indicate that the ten-year visas do come with a maximum sixty-day stay (unless you qualify for a family reunion S2 or Q2 visa).

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abcdefg

To update this thread -- I received my 10-year China visa today. Tourist visa (L.) Cost same as a 1-year. Multiple entry. Only drawback is that each entry is 60 days instead of the 90 days I prefer.

 

I spoke with the visa agent before ordering and she said this is currently the standard (for US citizens.) Anything else (such as a 1-year with 90-day stays) requires a "special situation" and a letter explaining your need for that. Also requires "special processing," which could easily involve delays. 

 

I got mine in Houston (Texas.) My passport contained lots of prior China visas, and no overstays.

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889

There's been a report or two elsewhere of folks who've somehow gotten a 90-day stay, but the standard is clearly 60 days. There's a risk that if you ask for 90 days on the application, they'll give you 90 days, but you'll get just a one- or two-year visa back. 

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abcdefg
So there are no 10-year/90 day stay visas?

 

When I asked about that, my visa agent told me on the phone that the longer-stay-per-entry visas (such as 90 or 120 days) seemed to currently only be given to Chinese-Americans who had family still on the Mainland.

 

She also told me that "Just not wanting to do frequent border runs" wouldn't impress the Consulate as sufficient "special circumstances" to get 90 days per entry instead of the standard 60.

 

At that, I let it drop and took the path of least resistance. I was relieved to get it all finished before the Christmas holidays.

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kenner116

I got a 1 year 120-day per entry visa in 2012. Went in person at the NYC consulate and didn't give any special reasons for the 120-day, just wrote it on my application form. I'm not sure it would be worth getting a 10-year if it's only for 60 days per entry. Next time I'll try for the 10-year 120-day and see what happens.

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