(Last Updated On: October 26, 2018)

Good news! The United States is very friendly to Chinese nationals who want to explore the country. This open-arms policy in the visa application process can differ wildly between countries or regions, but to China, the US says ‘visit us as much as you like!’ The protocols of the host country — that is, the country a traveller is trying to enter– can depend on a number of different domestic factors related to the traveller’s nationality, resulting in countries who make applying for a visa either difficult or impossible.


China, luckily, enjoys a very flexible and universal visa application process when entering the United States for business or for leisure: 90 days, multiple renewals, with just proof travel itinerary. For Chinese Nationals obtaining a visa before entering the USA, the application is simple and only asks a few questions. For those already in the immigration office in the USA applying for one, there will be more of an interrogation, but if the mistake was that the travellers didn’t plan ahead, they will usually be granted one anyway. So, do Chinese need a visa for USA? The answer is yes, but as long as they have prepared their travel plans ahead of time, and turn out not to be fugitives, they will almost certainly be admitted a tourist visa. And once they do have one, every state within every region of the United States is accessible to them.


The question of whether one government is going to allow the citizens of another government to travel freely depends on a few factors. Do the visitors from these countries often fail to honour their visas and remain in the country illegally? In the case of Chinese citizens visiting the US, the answer is usually no. Do visitors engage in favourable economic standings? Brutally speaking, countries let people in who come from wealthier countries. This is why United States citizens are free to obtain tourist visas practically anywhere in the world. In the eyes of the United States, China is treated the same way. Their visit is seen as a mutual benefit to improve relations and bolster the tourism industry.


The same goes vice versa. Every year thousands of Americans obtain work visas from the Chinese government to teach English overseas. A work visa, in every immigration customs, is a more difficult status to obtain, and China gives them to Americans on a large scale regular basis. In turn, this probably makes things smooth for Chinese nationals needing to visit the US for an extended period of time. They can apply for extension while in the country, and not have to leave while the request is being processed. Then, if they are denied a renewal, they are generally given a grace period to find an affordable ticket within the next few upcoming days. This, however, does not mean the denial will not be carried out by the US government. Further, it means that when the three months is over, an expired visa on someone who did not leave the country in time could have consequences for that individual, should they wish to visit the US again.


There are, however, different types of visas granted to Chinese nationals for different circumstances, and these differences will decide how long a Chinese national is allowed to stay in the USA with no other extenuating circumstances in play. If a Chinese national comes on a tourist visa and marries an American while visiting, for example, the circumstances might change. If they don’t find a spouse, a Chinese national on a tourist visa can still stay in the United States for three months. That’s one quarter of a year! Three months is enough time to drive back and forth more than once. Instead of doing that, and spending the whole time driving and wasting gas, most Chinese tourists stick to either the East or West Coast. Here’s Why.


The East Coast is 50% of the US population


This fact sounds like it could not possibly be true, even to most Americans, but it is. Television shows in the United States advertise the time that their program airs in Eastern Standard Time, despite the fact that the majority of television in America is produced and filmed in Pacific Standard Time. Why would that be the case, if television shows are filmed on the West coast but always give you the Eastern Time Zone? It’s because that Eastern Time zone makes us the majority of their viewing block.


Still, this is not too unusual. A countries population is usually centered on a city or group of cities. It’s not quite as important nowadays to build a city near running water in the way it used to be, but port cities do reap major economic benefits, so it tends to still happen that way. China is one of the largest examples of a population that is unevenly distributed along the coast. The difference with the US is that there are two coastlines, separated from each other, and travelling from one to the other is a week-long task without a plane ticket. Leading to the second reason why Chinese visa-holders stick to coastal areas in the US: The West coast is 30% of the US Population.


….Which leaves only 20% of the people in the United States in the entire middle of the country. Naturally, this means that as a tourist, most of the relevant sights will be on one coast or the other, as well as the more immersive experience. Start first, if you’re visiting, with the East Coast and some of its major tourist attractions for Chinese tourists: New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Eat the so-called Chinese food and laugh at it. Do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t land you in jail.