Effective today the U.S. Department of State has extended the maximum visa validity period from one (1) to ten (10) years for Chinese nationals seeking a B-1/B-2 (business/tourist) visitor visa. This change comes on the heels of the Beijing summit held over the past 2 days between President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping, meeting in an effort to strengthen and promote the U.S. and China bilateral relations. Both countries have reached reciprocal agreements for 10 year multiple-entry visas for business travelers as well as 5 year multiple-entry visas for tourists and students.

The new visa extension will greatly benefit and facilitate travel for Chinese business visitors seeking to enter the U.S. for the following purposes: consult with business associates; attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference; settle an estate; or negotiate a contract. Other changes include an extended visa for Chinese students, exchange visitors and their dependents applying for a nonimmigrant F (academic student), M (vocational student) or J (exchange visitor) visa classification where the maximum validity period has been increased from one (1) to five (5) years.

In light of these changes, the B-1 business visitor visa does not grant U.S. employment authorization. The U.S. visa is a travel document issued for travel purposes only. A foreign national’s status and duration of stay are determined upon admission to the U.S. Contact your trusted Dickinson Wright China or Immigration practice team member for assistance securing U.S. work authorization or other immigration benefit for your foreign national employees.