In sum, student visas will be valid for 5 years and visitor visas will be valid for 10 years. These lengths of validity exist for some other countries already. I expect to see the change reflected in the Visa Reciprocity Table.
This change will be useful for many reasons. The most important reason will be the forthcoming EB5 retrogression. The EB5 visa category is likely to see retrogression for the first time since the program began in 1990. Retrogression in this context means that the visa timeline goes backwards and a long waiting period begins. At the moment, for EB5s, the visa wait timelines are ‘current’ meaning, there is no waiting time-only the time it takes to process the case. Retrogression in the EB5 category will only affect citizens of China.
If indeed we see retrogression, with the extended visas, Chinese applicants can come to the US in the interim and visit. Each visit will still be six months in length but they will be able to visit multiple times without renewing their visas.
If there are extraordinarily long waiting times in the near future, Chinese investors may find alternative countries to invest in to receive residency – there are plenty of choices. Here is a link to an article I wrote last year about the world clamoring for the rich investor.
Therefore, while the extended visitor visa will not solve the waiting time for the application approval, at least people can visit the US during the interim period.
|Tahmina Watson is an immigration attorney and founder of Watson Immigration Law in Seattle Washington. She was a practicing barrister in London, UK, before immigrating to the United States herself. While her practice includes family-based and employment-based immigration, she has a strong focus on immigrant entrepreneurs and start-up companies. She can be contacted at email@example.com. You can visit www.watsonimmigrationlaw.com to learn about Tahmina and her practice.|
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