US may issue 3-yr non-immigrant visas for Chinese

Updated: 2014-08-12 16:20


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Chinese citizens may become eligible next year for US non-immigrant visas allowing them to stay in the country for up to three years with multiple entries, the US-based China Press reported.

Peter Haymond, the US consul general in Sichuan province, said at a reception that the US and China are discussing extending the validity of non-immigrant visas for Chinese from the current one year to two or three years. The US side hopes to achieve this next year, he said.

The number of Chinese visitors to the US has been increasing in the past few years. Statistics show that the US embassy and consulates issued 15 million non-immigrant visas to Chinese citizens in 2013, increasing by 15 percent from a year earlier.

Former US Ambassador Gary Locke had planned to issue B1/B2 visas to Chinese, allowing multiple entries to the US with a 5-year validity. The two countries reportedly negotiated the visas several times, but the results have yet to be announced.

Haymond's statement implied that negotiations of B1/B2 visas are still pending, reports said.

Chinese citizens can apply for a US visa with one year of validity and multiple entries, while Americans can only get limited Chinese visas.

An unnamed Chinese tourism expert said China's strict control is one of the major obstacles to visa negotiations between the two countries.