Chinese Visas (The Other Kind)

Previously I discussed the difficulties I encountered on my way to obtaining my third Chinese tourist visa. My problems were nothing compared to Chinese who wanted American tourist visas: Until very recently, there weren’t any available. Fortunately, as part of the ongoing institutional talks supported by the Bush and Hu administrations, this is changing:

US Opens to Chinese Tourists, but Limitations Still Exist
Although the US is expected to welcome the first Chinese visitors issued tourist visas before the forth China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) next month, problems still remain, as it is not easy for Chinese citizens to get access to these visas. Presently, only residents of some of the richer areas can obtain these visas, and those issued the visas will have to travel with tour groups.

Shao Qiwei, Chairman of the Chinese National Tourism Administration (CNTA), and the visiting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Carlos M. Gutierrez announced in Beijing on May 15th that starting on June 17th Chinese tourists would be able to travel to the U.S in group tours.

The first tourist visas from China to the United States are restricted. Essentially, Chinese needs to prove that they have no desire or need to move to the United States, and so need to show proof of employment, a title to a home, money in a bank account, and so on.

Hopefully the comprehensive immigration reform long championed by George Bush and John McCain (and tepidly endorsed by Barack Obama) will be passed in the next Congress, shrinking the grey market of unskilled immigrant labor and allowing more tourists from oversees to visit our country.

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