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: 5.2%
India: 26.8%
Mexico: 11.1%
Poland: 9.8%
Russia: 10.1%
Taiwan: 2.2%
Thailand: 13.5%
Ukraine: 31.8%

By far the most common reason that B visas are refused is failure to prove that the U.S. visit will be temporary and that the applicant doesn’t intend to abandon his or her residence in China.

I could speculate regarding the potential reasons for China’s climbing approval rates:

a. Changes in the relative strength of the U.S. and China economies has lessened the incentive for people  to apply for B visas with the hope of remaining permanently in the U.S.

b. Falling numbers of unauthorized immigrants from China living in the U.S. makes the U.S. Consular Mission in China more comfortable issuing B visas.

c. The rise of other immigration alternatives for Chinese, such as Canada and Australia, means that there is less pressure for unqualified persons to seek B visas.

Any factors I’m missing?


1. DOS figures include B-1 (visitor for business), B-2 (visitor for pleasure), and B-1/B-2 visas.
2. “Adjusted” refusal rate includes as approvals cases where the case is initially refused (such as for lack of evidence) but later approved upon reconsideration.
3. Fiscal Year 2010 runs from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010.
4. Don’t be fooled by the relatively high refusal rates for countries whose citizens are allowed visa-free travel to the U.S. (e.g., Great Britain and Northern Ireland 25.5%). Many people applying for visas from such countries are doing so because of past U.S. immigration violations or other negative factors such as criminal histories.

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