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U.S., China to extend visa validity

Staff writer |
China and the United States have agreed to significantly extend the terms of short-term visas, U.S. President Barack Obama said in Beijing.

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Under the deal, which the United States will put into effect on November 12, both countries would extend the terms of multiple entry short-term tourist and business visas to 10 years from one year, the White House said in an accompanying statement. Student visas would be extended to five years from one year.

Mr. Obama made the announcement to business leaders during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum after arriving in Beijing on the first leg of an eight-day Asia tour.

The extension of some visas for Chinese nationals to 10 years matches what is currently allowed for citizens of nations with close relations with the United States, such as European countries and Brazil.

A senior U.S. official said the visa agreement would allow the United States to tap into the fast-growing market of Chinese tourists travelling abroad. The United States now attracts only 2 percent of Chinese tourism.

It will also make it easier for Chinese businesses and investors to get involved in U.S. projects.

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