According to the recent announcement made by the Embassy of the United States in Beijing, a new application policy would be launched for Chinese non-immigrant visa applicants. This new policy will focus on reducing the visa cost and providing better customer service. This policy is set to be effective from March 16 onward.
US Ambassador to China, Gary Locke said that the entire purpose of this new policy is to make visa interviews, visa procedures and checking visa status easier and more effective. He added that once this policy is in effect, visa holders will only have to pay a standard processing fee ($160) for almost all non-immigrant visas.
“The visas are government tools to ensure safe and orderly international travel. And what makes our work worthwhile is the deep and meaningful relationship between our two great peoples. It brings American and Chinese culture together and builds bridges of understanding between us,” said Locke.
Locke added that there will be no additional fees for scheduling visa interview appointments or changing visa interview dates. He also mentioned that there will be no fees on returning applicants’ passports. Moreover, Locke informed all interested candidates that for the initial three weeks of the policy implementation, there will be no charges on the hotline to make appointments or inquire about the new policy.
In addition, the new policy will offer a variety of payment options to applicants, such as paying online via debit card or foreign credit card. Right now, the current policy restricts applicants to pay via processing fee via cash at China Citic Bank. The new policy would also allow applicants to pay the fee at any China Citic Bank’s ATM.
The new policy will introduce China Citic Bank the authority to distribute passports. Applicants will be able to collect their passports from branch of the bank. As of now, applicants are restricted to collect their passports from the embassy of the United States.
There are a number of other changes that will be introduced in order to make the process easier and more effective for Chinese tourists. For instance, the new policy will initiate several online services such as conducting online interviews and checking status of their applications and their passports.
Back in the day, the US reduced the waiting time for an appointment to 5 days, and the embassy is now working on reducing it further.
Mr. Locke added that the entire purpose of this new policy is to make sure Chinese tourists go through the process smoothly, without any hindrances. According to him, the Embassy wants to improve services for Chinese tourists.
Since more than 650,000 Chinese tourists visited the United States in the first half of last year, it becomes imperative for the US embassy to ensure they get better treatment so that they could land up more often.
In an attempt to make relations much sweeter between the two countries, the US Embassy believes it is best to promote tourism and allow more and more Chinese visitors to visit the United States.