H and L Visa Processing in China – Restricted to Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai

Up to now, H-1B and L-1 workers applying for their visas In China had five locations from which to choose:  U.S. Embassy in Beijing and U.S. Consulates in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang. Effective March 1, 2019, persons applying for either H or L visas who require an in-person interview must apply at the Embassy in Beijing or the Consulate in Guangzhou or Shanghai. The State Department cited the “volume and complexity” of these visa types for consolidating processing to the three locations.

What is not yet clear from the guidance is whether H-1B or L-1 workers who are renewing their visas and therefore may not require an in-person interview may continue to apply at any location in China. As of mid-February, neither the State Department nor the official visa service contractor has confirmed the procedure for visa renewals. It therefore will be important to check with the particular consulate before sending a renewal by mail to make sure it will be accepted.