More Information On 10 Year China Visa For Americans

Filed Under: Travel

Update: Allied Passport is offering One Mile at a Time readers a $5 discount on their service fees for visa applications.

Earlier in the week I wrote about how the US and China have announced a new, reciprocal 10 year visa policy for tourists and business travelers. This is obviously fantastic news, given that previously US travelers could get at most a one year visa for travel to China.

The change was supposed to kick in on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, though as is usually the case with bureaucracy, there seems to be a lot of misinformation, and it also takes time for policies to spread. Obviously there are lots of questions about how the process will work in practice, and up until now we’ve had limited answers.

The United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce posted some useful information about how the 10 year visa program will work:

Starting on November 12, 2014, the United States and China will enact a new reciprocal visa agreement to increase the validity of short-term business and tourist visas and student and exchange visas to each other’s citizens.

U.S. passport holders eligible for Chinese short term business (M) and tourist (L) visas will be issued multiple-entry visas valid for 10 years.  In order to qualify for 10 year visas, US passport holders must have more than 1 year validity remaining on their passport.  Once a 10 year visa has been issued, the validity of the visa does not expire if the holder renews his/her passport.  The visa holder can travel carrying the old passport with valid Chinese visa along with the new passport.  The cost for the visas will remain the same.

Qualified U.S. students may receive student residency permits valid for up to five years depending on the length of their educational program.  There will be no changes to visa processing for non-US passport holders.

As international relations can change quickly without advanced notice, we urge you to take advantage of this new policy and apply for your China visa at your earliest convenience.   In addition, if your passport expires in less than one year, we encourage you to consider renewing your passport.  USCCC can provide one stop service for your convenience.

So the two key takeaways here are that:

  • Your passport needs at least one year of validity for a 10 year visa (ordinarily you’d need just six months of validity for a Chinese visa)
  • If your passport expires before your Chinese visa, just bring along your old US passport with the visa in it, and it will still be valid — the visa doesn’t expire with the passport.

It kind of looks like the consulates are still figuring out the actual policy, for what it’s worth. Many report being told that if they’ve never had a Chinese visa then they’re not eligible for a 10 year visa.

Personally, I intend to wait a few weeks for the dust to settle, and will hopefully apply for a 10 year visa sometime in December. At that point I’ll probably use a visa service, so I can be explicit about only wanting a 10 year visa.

And that’s probably what I’d recommend others do, unless you really want to be the guinea pig in this experiment.

Has anyone tried to get a 10 year Chinese visa yet, and if so, what was your experience?


(Tip of the hat to MichaelP)

  1. It’s the same process as before. You could get it on day 1, 11/12, and several have gotten it already. Every agent makes up their own rules, so either push back or try again on different agent.

  2. I’ve been dealing with the nimrods at the Chinese consulate in LA for almost 17 years. Have always preferred to handle visa processing myself, as I don’t like to be without my passport. Pro-tip: pay the extra $$ for same-day processing. Go grab lunch, return early for passport pickup, and pray that you don’t have to see those friendly faces until 2024.

    FWIW, China has long *advertised* a multi-year visa option for those of us with a dubious collection of expired People’s Republic visas. Getting said multi-year visa has ALWAYS hinged on the mood of the consular agent with whom you’re dealing. Try arguing with a contumacious agent by waving the published *rules* in front of her. I dare you.

    Vietnam offers a similarly subjective consular experience.

  3. Received a 2-year Q2 visa with a 90 day stay period (although my kids got 180 days) about a month ago. I wished I had waited. 10 years would be nice.

  4. While I do not have a German passport but another European passport I was able to get 10 year visa a year ago. I just checked the 10 year checkmark on the application paid the $90 or so and got the 10 year visa. I thought that was allowed all along.

  5. I applied for Q2 Visas for myself and two children on 13 Nov 2014 at the Chinese Consulate Los Angeles. Myself and one of my children are first time applicants for a Chinese Visa. We requested for a Q2, multiple entries for 2 years. I didn’t know about the 10 years at the time. It was a very easy process. Waited for 1.5 hour in the waiting room and about 3 minutes at the counter with the agent.

    When I picked up our Visas this morning (18 Nov 2014), all three of our Visas were category Q2, Multiple entries, 180 days duration of each stay and good for 10 years.

  6. With this ten year visa, how long can one stay per trip? How many days can one be in the country per year?

  7. I am also curious about this 10-yr visa. How many days can one be in China per year? Is a residence permit issued at all, or is the visa simply used to repeatedly enter and exit China (perhaps for visa runs?)
    This is a very important detail that has not been addressed at all.


  8. Ohhhh so lucky ! Would be great if they could apply the same kind of visa for French citizens but I doubt it… 🙁

  9. I applied for my Chinese visa at the consulate in Houston, and I got a 10 year visa with 60 days per entry with no problems! Part of the reason why they may have issued a 10 year visa was because I visit Hong Kong quite a bit and I kept all of my visas from my prior trips. I also explained that I love traveling and that I would love to visit China during the festivals. Other than that, I had to show that I had a plane ticket and hotel reservation, and leave my passport with them for 4 days (no express is available).

  10. I just got mine back yesterday. 10 yr multi entry, 60 days per entry. I had my friend who is Chinese national sign a simple Invite letter. Send that to visa service along with misc docs including his Chinese ID card (facsimile). Yep good till 2024.

  11. I received a 10 year, multiple entry, 60 day stay visa from the Houston consulate. All of my previous visas have been 90 day stays, but it seems the 10 year visa only comes with 60 day stays. I wish I had known that – the 90 day stays are nice. I did learn after the fact that a 2 year, multiple entry, 90 day stay visa is offered, but I can’t confirm.

  12. U.S. Live in Taiwan. Was getting ready to do a visa run to HK and heard about this. Decided to apply while here in Taiwan. Went through an agent. Took about 7 days. Still expensive (I think around NT$15,000. But hey, 10 years is a long time.

  13. Quick question on the 72 hr visa. I have a ticket booked to Shanghai landing in around 12:30 PM on a Friday and departing @ noon on a Monday. It wont violate the 72 hr transit policy right?

  14. Using the 10 year visa, how many days can one be in China per year? For example, how many times in a year can you stay the 60 days, exit and then reenter?

  15. I am US citizen and did not do any thing wrong with China but they still did not me 10 year Visa. USA and China have agreement about 10 year Visa, right ? What can I do ,please?

  16. US living in HK. I just got one issued in HK. 60 days, my second time applying (first was a 6 month multi entry in 2011. I paid for expedited with a travel agent, expected 3 biz days but it took one. Very excited.

  17. I have seen this question asked on this site and another, but the question was not answer on either. Do one need to make visa runs. If so, how many days can one stay in China before making a visa run for this 10 year Visa?

  18. Does anyone know if we can get this 10 year Visa from Taiwan, or do we have to be at home (USA) to complete the application?


  19. Hello Mike, I am a US citizen but also in Taiwan at the moment. I was also wondering about the very question you are asking. Any information yet?

  20. Hi Dianna and Mike,
    I’m US living in HK and got a ten year issued here. The choice wasn’t on the form so I had to write “10 year” in but I still got it.

  21. How long will one be able to stay before having to do a Visa run? I was in China about a year 1/2 ago. Their was a restriction on Internet usage. No Google, facebook and Skype allowed. Is it still the same ruling?

  22. There’s a 30 day or 60 day per trip. Obviously you get a 60 day. The same Internet rules still apply but you can get a VPN for you’re computer and phone before you go. That’s what everyone does including Chinese residents.

  23. Thank you for the information. I will consider my choices. I feel leaving ever 60 days will become somewhat expensive. Thanks again

  24. When I filled out my application, I was used to having a stay of 30 days. So I put 30 on the application. When I got the VISA it was 60 days per stay. Now when I applied for my son, I put 60 days on the application and he got 90! So put 60 on the application. For VPN you can use

  25. Does anyone know… marriage resident permit… can that also be for 10 year.. mulitple entry.. one year (no 60/90/180) ?

  26. Has anyone gotten the 10-year multiple-entry tourist visa with a stay of 90 days? If so, which consulate did you go to? What reasons or explanation did you give for wanting 90 days?

  27. Nobody here had really said how many entries they received. Everyone here is really only sharing the duration of stay. How many entries did you all get?

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