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Great news for frequent China travelers! The US and China have reached a bilateral agreement to reciprocally issue 10-year, multiple-entry visas for tourist and business purposes.
As the US has made its visa processes increasingly difficult and expensive, China has been one among a number of countries to reciprocate. China progressively raised matching fees and stopped accepting applications by mail. Previously, most people could get maximum 1-year China visas and sometimes get longer after successive 1-year visas. That’s a lot of time and cost each year.
I don’t see updates on the website of the Chinese embassy yet, though media reports are this process kicks in Wednesday, November 12, 2014. There may be some confusion in the first few days while the kinks are worked out.
Travelers planning only short visits to China can still take advantage of the 72-hour transit visa on arrival at no fee, available at Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, and Guangzhou airports.