Visas for Parents to Accompany F-1 Student to the U.S.

The B-2 (visitor for pleasure) visa is as flexible as a world-class gymnast. The State Department has announced that a B-2 visa may be used by parents to accompany a minor with an F-1 (student) visa to the U.S. As background, its well known that an F-1 student’s spouse and children (under age 21) can get…

U.S., China Agree on Longer Visa Validity

 The U.S. and China have mutually agreed to increase business and tourist visa validity to 10 years and student and exchange visa validity to 5 years. That according to President Obama’s announcement (video)  on November 10 at the 2014 APEC summit in Beijing. Both governments put the policy into effect immediately. But China hasn’t even fully implemented its prior…

Webinar: The B-1 Business Visa—How to “B” Resourceful (Oct. 23)

This 90-minute web seminar will be recorded live on October 23, 2014, from 2:00 pm-3:30 pm eastern time. The B-1 visa for business visitors provides short term business travelers with a unique opportunity. The B-1 option has its benefits, as well as its limitations. Exploring all the different ways that the B-1 can help a…

Chinese Turning to American Surrogate Mothers

Chinese couples who are unable to have children are turning to a surprising place for help these days: America. By hiring American surrogates, Chinese couples get around a ban on surrogacy in China. Also, by having a child born abroad, parents skirt the one-child policy and get a U.S. passport for their child. These same…

Snowden Incident May Sink Hong Kong Participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program

A Senate bill would allow Hong Kong to be considered for the U.S. visa waiver program, facilitating entry for residents of this special administrative region of China. But Congress may not be willing to pass the bill in light of Hong Kong’s 2013 decision to let NSA leaker Edward Snowden depart for Moscow despite a pending…

B-1 Visitor for Business Visas: Permissible “Business” versus “Labor”

Here’s an audio slideshow with advice for company HR and legal departments (as well as visa applicants) about when labor-like activities are permissible “business activities” for a U.S. B-1 visa, versus when such activities are “labor” requiring a work visa. (26 minutes). If you’re behind the Great Firewall, see the presentation here.

Guerrilla Diplomacy: The U.S. Government Sparks a Fury on Sina Weibo (China’s Twitter) about Visa Reciprocity

The U.S. Consular Mission is frustrated by its failure to convince China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reciprocally increase visa validity for visas for business visitors and tourists. Now, it appears that the U.S. is engaging in guerrilla diplomacy: encouraging Chinese netizens to speak out on the issue.

State Department Press Conference on Meeting the Growing Demand for U.S. Visas in China

The U.S. consular mission in China adjudicated more than one million visas during fiscal year 2011, with an approval rate of “nearly 90 percent,” said Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs Chuck Bennett at a November 8 press conference. That represents a 35%  increase in visa issuances over last year.

U.S. Retailers Upset About Long Visa Waits for Chinese Travelers

June 9th’s Wall Street Journal reports that visitors from China are big spenders in the U.S. (averaging over $6000 per person) but visa red tape means they often opt for Europe. “U.S. retailers are feeling left out, thanks to a clunky visa process that can force would-be tourists to wait months for permission to travel.…

U.S. Visitor Visa Approval Rates for Chinese Still Climbing

The U.S. Department of State has announced that the Fiscal Year 2010 adjusted refusal rate for B (visitor) visas for Chinese nationals is 13.3%. That’s a continuing, significant improvement over prior years: 2010: 13.3% 2009: 15.6% 2008: 18.2% 2007: 20.7% 2006: 24.5% In comparison, here are the 2010 refusal rates for some other countries: Brazil:…

U.S. Visa Invitation Letters for Sale—$16,000 a Piece

  The U.S. State Department has announced it is searching for Philip Ming Wong, a fugitive who has been indicted for his role in a visa fraud scheme. “Operation Shell Games” Targeted Brokers Who Supplied Chinese Citizens with False Documents and Fraudulent Visa Applications  United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)…

Tourism Agreement Should Be Applauded, But Does It Create an Unfair Monopoly?

On Dec. 11, 2007, the U.S. and China signed a memorandum of understanding on group leisure travel from China to the United States. This MOU should be applauded because it lifts prior Chinese rules restricting the travel industry. Still, a question remains whether travel agencies designated by the China National Tourism Agency (CNTA) will receive…