BEIJING, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- More than 1 million applications for U.S. visas from Chinese were processed during fiscal 2011, up 34 percent from last year, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.
U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke said the applications were handled by U.S. missions in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Chengdu, the Embassy said on its Web site.
The report quoted the U.S. Department of Commerce as saying more than 801,000 Chinese visited the United States last year, which helped add more than $5 billion to the U.S. economy.
"The U.S.-China relationship is profoundly important, and welcoming Chinese visitors to the United States strengthens our cultural and commercial ties," Locke said. "I am very pleased at the success we have had in significantly reducing wait times for visa appointments this year."
The embassy said the United States will continue to invite Chinese tourists, students and businesspeople to visit America, and urged the Chinese government to grant longer validity visas to U.S. travelers.