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China issues first ten-year visas to US citizens

Updated: Nov 13,2014 9:28 AM     Xinhua

Edmund Thomas Downie shows his visa to the press after becoming the first US citizen citizen to be issued a ten-year visa at the Visa Department of the Chinese Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C., Nov 12, 2014. China issued the first-ever group of visas with ten-year validity to US citizens in Washington on Nov 12, implementing a new agreement that is expected to boost exchange between the two countries.[Photo/Xinhua]

WASHINGTON — China issued the first-ever group of visas with ten-year validity to US citizens in Washington on Nov 12, implementing a new agreement that is expected to boost exchange between the two countries.

At the visa office of Chinese Embassy in the US, 23-year-old researcher Edmund Downie became the first US citizen to receive the ten-year visa with multiple entries. In what will be his fifth trip to China, he planned to travel to southern Chinese city Kunming and stay there for about a week.

Edmund Thomas Downie shows his visa to the press after becoming the first US citizen citizen to be issued a ten-year visa at the Visa Department of the Chinese Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C., Nov 12, 2014. China issued the first-ever group of visas with ten-year validity to US citizens in Washington on Nov 12, implementing a new agreement that is expected to boost exchange between the two countries.[Photo/Xinhua]

“I am glad that I’ve been granted the honor of being the first US citizen to receive the ten-year visa,” Downie told Xinhua. “I am excited to be able to keep going to China for the next ten years and not have to worry about coming back to the visa office.”

Starting Nov 12, under a new agreement announced during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing, China and the US will grant each other’s citizens business or tourist visas with maximum validity of ten years. The validity of student visas will also be extended to up to five years.

“It eases the process of visa acquisition and makes it more affordable,” Downie said of the new arrangement, adding that it is a positive step for Americans to learn more about China.

Ruan Ping, Consul General at the Chinese Embassy in the US, believed that the new visa policy will enhance mutual understanding between China and the United States.

A notice of long-term visa application is seen on the wall of the Visa Department of the Chinese Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C., Nov 12, 2014. China issued the first-ever group of visas with ten-year validity to US citizens in Washington on Nov 12, implementing a new agreement that is expected to boost exchange between the two countries.[Photo/Xinhua]

“It will greatly promote the people-to-people exchange between China and the US and boost our economic and academic ties,” Ruan said.

Earlier on Nov 12, US Secretary of State John Kerry handed out the first ten-year visas to a group of Chinese citizens in a ceremony at the US Embassy in Beijing.

“You are literally helping to write the next great chapter of the history between the United States and China,” Kerry told the Chinese citizens with the new visas and people at the ceremony, according to the US State Department.

“This will pay huge dividends for US citizens and Chinese citizens and it will strengthen both of our economies,” he added.

Edmund Thomas Downie shows his visa to the press after becoming the first US citizen citizen to be issued a ten-year visa at the Visa Department of the Chinese Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C., Nov 12, 2014. China issued the first-ever group of visas with ten-year validity to US citizens in Washington on Nov 12, implementing a new agreement that is expected to boost exchange between the two countries.[Photo/Xinhua]

Edmund Thomas Downie (L) receives his long-term visa from Ruan Ping, Consul General at the Chinese Embassy in the US, at the Visa Department of the Chinese Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C., Nov 12, 2014. China issued the first-ever group of visas with ten-year validity to US citizens in Washington on Nov 12 , implementing a new agreement that is expected to boost exchange between the two countries[Photo/Xinhua]

Edmund Thomas Downie shows his visa to the press after becoming the first US citizen citizen to be issued a ten-year visa at the Visa Department of the Chinese Embassy to the United States in Washington D.C., Nov 12, 2014. China issued the first-ever group of visas with ten-year validity to US citizens in Washington on Nov 12, implementing a new agreement that is expected to boost exchange between the two countries.[Photo/Xinhua]

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