Published on : Wednesday, November 12, 2014
On Wednesday, the U.S. will begin offering Chinese tourists and business people multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years.
The change, announced by President Obama in Beijing, is designed to help the American economy and build goodwill in China.
China’s Foreign Ministry says it will reciprocate.
The first impression most Chinese have of the U.S. government comes when they apply for a visa. For years, they’ve dreaded the process.
“It was humiliating,” says Mei Zhang, who runs WildChina.com, which caters to sophisticated travelers coming to China, and has another business taking well-to-do Chinese overseas.
“If anyone’s experienced the Beijing cold winter, you stood out there in the street for three hours waiting to get into the [U.S.] Embassy.”
Then, Chinese often had to convince a visa officer they weren’t secretly planning to emigrate to America.
According to the U.S. Department of State, wait times for interviews — which once could last for a month or longer — have improved in recent years and now average less than a week.
In fiscal year 2014, the U.S. processed nearly 2 million applications from Chinese for non-immigrant visas.
Sparing people from having to reapply for a new visa each year will make travel even easier, Zhang says.
“This has removed a major obstacle,” she says. “You can go back to America again and again.”
Tags: Dreaded Process Of Getting A Visa To The U.S. May Get Easier, Tourism News