• Extended-stay U.S. visas are becoming a huge hit among Chinese businessmen.

Extended-stay U.S. visas are becoming a huge hit among Chinese businessmen. (Photo : AFP)

The U.S. embassy saw an increase in Chinese applicants for extended-stay U.S. visas in December and January in the wake of the amended international visa reciprocity agreement between the two countries.

Mostly comprised of Chinese businessmen, citizens in the Asian country applied for the extended United States B1 business and B2 tourist visas, which allow the visa holder to stay in the Western country for a maximum of 10 years.

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According to recent reports, the U.S. issued around 351,650 extended-stay business tourist visas during the last month of 2014 and the first month of 2015, a clear escalation from the former 209,100 during the same period about a year ago.

This data was based on a statement from a U.S. State Department official who was interviewed by the South China Morning Post.

Back in Nov. 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a reciprocal visa policy, which entails an increase of allowable years of stay from one year to 10 years for tourists and businessmen, while those holding student visas would enjoy five years of validity beginning on Nov. 12, 2014.

"A competitive visa policy will help us meet projections that suggest 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the U.S. economy and supporting up to 440,000 U.S. jobs," the White House explained, noting China's contributions to the American economy.

Despite this, however, the approval rate for Chinese citizens seeking extended U.S. visas has not increased at all, according to a travel agency director.

According to the White House, Chinese students account for almost 30 percent of all foreign students, while visitors from the Asian giant comprise one-fifth of overseas travelers to the U.S.