US Travelers Can Soon Apply For 10 Year Chinese Visa

Woohoo! I hate the process of getting visas (not the credit cards — those I love — as they fund much of my travel). The process is costly, time consuming, and means I have to separate myself from my passport for some amount of time as the visa is being processed.

Fortunately I have both a US and German passport, which helps me at least somewhat. Countries love going “tit-for-tat” with the US, whereby if the US adds visa requirements or fees, they reciprocate. That’s where my German passport is invaluable, since it has saved me hundreds of dollars and a lot of aggravation, especially in South America. My German passport has allowed me to enter Brazil without a visa, and Argentina and Chile without having to pay a reciprocal entry fee.

Anyway, the US and China have announced a new, reciprocal 10 year visa policy for tourists and business travelers. This is supposed to kick in tomorrow, Wednesday, November 12, 2014, and will allow travelers from both countries to apply for a 10 year visa rather than the current maximum of a one year visa.

Beijing Airport

Via CNN:

The change is expected to be a boon for the U.S. economy, creating up to 440,000 American jobs by 2021 because increased tourism and business spurred by visits from more than 7 million Chinese that would generate nearly $85 billion in revenue, according to a White House estimate.

Obama also noted that China is the U.S.’s fastest-growing export market and touted the benefits of Chinese investments in the United States that have created job opportunities for Americans.

Less than two percent of the 100 million Chinese travelers last year came to the U.S. and the new policy is expected to incentivize travel.

I’ll be getting a 10 year Chinese visa ASAP, especially as I’d like to visit the Harbin Ice Festival in January. My past few visits to China have been using the 72 hour transit without visa policy, which is no doubt better than nothing, but also doesn’t let you explore anything beyond the major cities, both due to the time and airport restrictions.

This is great news for everyone… well, perhaps except those working for visa processing companies!

(Tip of the hat to Rapid Travel Chai)


  1. Lucky,

    Can you try to compile a China mega trip that includes Harbin (of course) and other cities like Hohhot, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Shanghai and all those other cities? That would be fun (and lots of Star Alliance/Skyteam reviews on CA/FM/MU/CZ).


  2. When you enter Brazil with your German passport, is it true that if you get into any legal troubles there, you’d have to go to the German embassy for help, not the US one?

  3. @Joey,

    That’s correct – you’re consular protections are based on the passport you used to enter a country.

  4. Not going to have as much economic impact as they state unless they make it easier for Chinese citizens to GET APPROVED for a visa. Right now it is extremely difficult unless they are part of a tour. Even if they have family in the US they are frequently rejected.

  5. Ben, keep us posted on your visa application… Looked for information last night, but it looks like 10-year is the “maximum” validity period. Would be curious what documentation you would present to obtain a full validity visa.

  6. @Lucky, will it be possible to apply directly with the Chinese embassy for a visa or will they be making every application go through a Visa Application Service company like travisa?

  7. The whole blogshpere probably all know you have two passports and that is quite common in this country so no need to bring this up again and again. And most people just won’t speak as loud as you.

  8. The only issue will be that your passport will expire BEFORE the visa will (unless you have the visa issued the EXACT same day as your passport lol). Will the visa be valid in your new passport (i.e. take 2 year old expired passport to China 9 years after visa is issued!)

    That will be interesting………

  9. @jackw Some countries let you bring a non-expired visa with you in an expired passport, but you need to have a valid one as well of course. Not sure if China is one of them.

  10. @ Lucky – please fill us in on the application process and how we should go about getting such an extended visa. I don’t think “I want to be able to make mileage runs to mainland China as often as possible” would work šŸ˜‰

  11. @dmodemd – I wonder where you get the information. Being a Chinese myself, I can see many people around me getting U.S. visas successfully, and if you are traveling as a tourist, it is very likely that your visa will be approved.

  12. Ben,

    The state department allows frequent travelers to have 2 US passports which enable you to travel on one and send away for the appropriate visas with the other. I believe they both have the same number etc.

  13. @ Erik — Yeah, just too lazy/too much work to get a second one. And limited circumstances where it would be all that useful, since I also have a German passport. Bleh.

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