US extends Chinese student and tourist visas



Chinese applicants for US visas wait in line for interviews. China sends more students to the US than any other country in the world. Nearly all of the students stay in the US after graduation. Photo courtesy of MCT

Jenna Bao

The results of President Barack Obama’s latest trip to China bear good news for those in either country looking to study abroad or do business.

“Under the new arrangement, student and exchange visas will be extended [from one year] to five years… [and] business and tourist visas will be extended for ten years,” Obama said at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting.

This is likely due to the revenue from Chinese tourists in the US. According to NPR, in 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the United States, contributing $21.1 billion to the US economy and supporting more than 109,000 U.S. jobs.

It will also be easier for Americans who need to do business in China. Currently, one must apply in advance and pay up to hundreds of dollars in fees.

Furthermore, the new visas will be particularly useful for Chinese students looking to study abroad in the US for high school, college, or higher levels of education.

“They might be doing this to attract more intelligent, capable people who are driven and seek the best possible education to America,” sophomore Xuetong Zhou said.

In the 2012-2013 school year, China sent 235,597 students, a 21% increase from the year before and making it the country sending the most students to American universities.

“This is a really good thing for international students. I know firsthand that the time before your visa expires is very stressful, and it just makes everything so much easier if you can finish [PhD] projects or time at a school or institution,” Dr. Yan Xu said.

Xu first came to America for her PhD and currently works with students from the University of Cincinnati, a few of whom make up the annually growing body of Chinese transfer students at UC.

While in China, Obama also continued to make progress on Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement with 11 other Pacific Rim countries. The meeting was held in the Chinese US Embassy, however China is not part of the partnership.

The new visas will be issued beginning Wednesday, Nov. 12.


Jenna Bao