By Passport Houston

On November 10, 2014, President Obama announced that the United States and the People’s Republic of China had mutually agreed to increase business and tourist visa validity from 5 years to 10 years, and student and exchange visa validity from 1 year to 5 years.

As a result of this arrangement, the United States hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions in the U.S. economy and create enough demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. jobs. For U.S. citizens traveling to China increased visa validity will make it easier to respond to market and commercial opportunities in China, helping to boost U.S. exports, foster increased trade ties, and improve commercial linkages between U.S. and Chinese firms.

According to a new policy American and Chinese students will be able more easily travel back and forth, making foreign study a more attractive option and increasing opportunities for people-to-people ties. 28 percent of all foreign students and exchange visitors in the United States originate from China. In 2013 they spent $8 billion in the U.S. economy and the number keeps rising.

Chinese travelers consistently rank the United States as their most-desired travel destination, yet less than 2 percent of total Chinese travelers come to the United States. A competitive visa policy will help the U.S. to meet projections that suggest as many as 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the United States by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting up to 440,000 U.S. jobs.

The United States began issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement on November 12, 2014. Travelers will continue to be subject to all the same legal and security reviews that currently apply to visa applicants.

For more information: White House Press Release