APEC brings more than just blue skies: Obama and Xi announce agreement to reciprocally extend student, business, and tourist Visas to 10 years.

Obama Xi APEC

Pengyous everywhere, rejoice! During this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing, President Barack Obama and Xi Jinping agreed to reciprocally extend multiple types of visas.

Currently, the maximum length for student, business, and tourist visas is one year, but as of Wednesday, November 12th, the maximum visa length will change to 10 years for tourists and businessmen and 5 years for students.

The goal of this new visa policy is to encourage international tourism between the US and China. According to White House officials in a recent BBC article, Chinese tourists cite the strict Visa policies as the second most important factor in their decision to travel to the US. The article also noted that although many Chinese tourists go abroad, less than 2% of the 100 million travelers visited the United States.

This gesture signifies the US and China’s willingness to work toward mutual gain. Lengthening visa time limits removes a barrier and encourages exchange almost as if laying out a welcome mat.

Pengyoumen, let’s look forward to a future where these kinds of steps towards cooperation and friendship continue to be taken!

Photo credit: reuters.com