Visa Validity and Reciprocity

Visa Validity and Reciprocity

“When I first applied, I got a 5-year visa with multiple entries. Why was I was only issued a 3-month visa with a single entry this time?” a Taiwanese applicant once asked me. 

The applicant’s country of citizenship determines the visa’s validity period. In most cases, visa validity is  determined bythe applicant’s purpose of travel and by the Reciprocity schedule.  The latter term means that if country “A” issues a 5-year valid visa to an American citizen, the same length of validity will be given to the citizens of country “A” when they apply for a U.S. visa.

The longest validity is up to 10 years with multiple entries, including for Philippine nationals. This is an effort to provide reciprocity to the Philippines that do not require visas from American citizens.

Some Philippine residents, however, hold Taiwanese passports. Taiwanese nationals, meaning those with an unrestricted right to enter Taiwan, are given a 5-year valid visa if their passport meets the requirement of INA 101(a)(30). Generally, Taiwanese passports meet that standard as long as they contain a national identification number on the biographic page. Taiwanese passport holders without unrestricted re-entry permits may still be eligible for visas,. They will, however, be limited to a single entry within three months.  Refer here for the full information.

Knowing your visa validity is important. Remember that validity does not dictate how long you may stay in the U.S. See our previous post, Visa Validity and Length of Stay in the United States for more on how long you can stay on a B1/B2 visa and share your thoughts on visa reciprocity below!  

9 thoughts on “Visa Validity and Reciprocity

  1. hi, i can’t access the DS156 form, having troubles filling the form, tried many times, but whenever i click the “continue” buttonit will always show the error or can’t interview is next wednesday..i’m worried about it, please help. thanks

    • Hi Happy. Are you applying for a Non Immigrant Visa like a Tourist visa? If yes, you need to fill out the DS 160 application form. The DS 156 form is for K Visa applicants (Fiancee applicants- this is applied thru the Immigrant visa unit. Applicants for K visas has petitions). Please take note of the difference because you may be filling out the wrong application form.

  2. Hi, I had my US visa B1/B2 renewed last 11 June 2013. I received the new visa last 20 June 2013 through an agent indicating a 5-year multiple entry. Last night I was not able to board the plane because the personnel at the counter was looking for papers required for the C1/D visa the embassy issued. I later realized that the latter type of visa was for seafarers. I sent my passport through an agency to clear matters. How do I go about this?

    • You can send an email to the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit at to inquire about your visa. Or call the NIV helpline (02)301-2104, anytime from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. In general, if there is an error on the visa, the passport with visa should be sent back to the Nonimmigrant Visa Unit via 2GO courier. Please include a letter that clearly states the error. The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit will determine the legitimacy of all visa correction requests.Thank you.

  3. good day! i wanna ask about travelling from Philippines to USA, my concern is my daughter is already 18 years old and she will be travelling from Phils to USA on the first week of October of this year, does she need a special power of attorney and affidavit of support from the philippine consulate here in USA for her travel? thank you so much for your reply and have a nice day.

    • Hi Emmy. You concern falls under Immigration particulars. It is best that you contact or direct your query to an authorized agency/ govt department like the Bureau of Immigration or Department of Foreign Affairs, as they are the one who knows about travel and immigration requirements.

  4. Greetings!
    My daughter studies in the US and entered under an F1 visa that expires 07 June 2014, the day given by the consul because her I20 indicates that her last day of class is 06 June 2014. She also has a valid B1/B2 visa that expires in 2015. We hope to visit her and plan to have a couple of days vacation that may go beyond 07 June 2014. My question is : since she entered the US under an F1 visa that expires 07June2014, can she still extend her stay up to, say June 10 or 12, 2014 – given that she has a valid B1/B2 visa anyway? I would appreciate your advice. Thanks!

    • Hi Malexto Bantatua. Your daughter should follow the length of stay indicated on her I-94. Staying beyond this allowed period of time will be considered overstaying. If she intends to stay for a couple of days more, she needs to file an extension with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and there present her B1/B2 visa.

  5. Very useful info. thanks for the clarification.
    How is Reciprocity determined ? and what an applicant can do to change the Reciprocity from 3 monthly single entry visa to a little more extended multiple entry one?


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