A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Improved Application Process for U.S. Visas in China

A new visa application system will be implemented in China starting on March 16, 2013 to streamline and improve all aspects of the nonimmigrant visa application process for Chinese citizens.  Under this new system, visa applicants will only pay a single visa fee of USD$160 and no other additional costs.  Visa applicants will also be able to apply, make payments, make visa appointments, and check status online.  The new system is part of the U.S. Embassy’s plan to continually improve service to Chinese visa applicants.  More than 1.34 million nonimmigrant visa applicants were processed in 2012 in China, representing a 34% increase from 2011.  These include business visas (B1), tourist visas (B2), student visas (F-1), vocational study visas (M-1), exchange visitor visas (J-1), etc.   The main changes in the application process are summarized in the following table:
New Process for U.S. Visa Applications in China

Before March 16, 2013
After March 16, 2013
3 fees: 1) Appointment – 54 RMB or 36 RMB; 2) Visa processing fee – USD$160; 
3) Postage – around 32 RMB
Only 1 fee: USD$160
Appointments can be made by
phoning our new Call Center
Appointments can be made online by yourself or by
phoning our new Call Center
Ways to Pay:
Payment of $160 can only be done at CITIC Bank

Three ways to pay – 1) Online – via debit or credit card 2) At any CITIC ATM through Union Pay 3) In cash at CITIC Bank
Pay to inquire for visa information with the Call Center
Visa questions are answered for free when you phone the Call Center
Rescheduling Appointments:
If you have to cancel your appointment, you will need to pay for another appointment
No need to pay to make another
appointment if the first one is missed; can reschedule for free.
Picking up Passports:
No way of tracking your passport after visa is issued
Applicant will receive e-mail notification when passport is ready for pick-up. Can also check online

As of February 14, 2013, the number of days for scheduling B1/B2 and F/M/J visa appointments are as follows:  5 days for Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai ad Shenyang; 11 days for Chengu.  

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