We went to the Chinese consulate in SF today to apply for our visas.
Not changed yet. The forms are essentially the same for now but the requirements and processes are expected to change, well, as of yesterday. New categories including the M, R, Q and S visas. If you're going to work on a work permit, you'll also now need a certificate of no criminal conviction.
Forms. The forms can be saved and then typed and printed. You still need your old visas along with one passport photo.
Return flights. Last year we didn't need to show our return flight but today we had to go to the nearby J-town UPS store to print a copy of our tickets leaving China. Many countries require proof that you plan to actually leave at some point but this was a first for me from China. Of course, after last summer's crackdown for "illegals" in Beijing, it's not surprising. It was a hair-raising period for me, but I didn't blog about my concerns or share them with LiLi, and then the 100 days passed.
Strategy: It used to be that the visa line was around the corner outside the SF China consul and that the best strategy was to go 20 or so minutes before opening in the morning or right before the end of the lunch break to minimize the wait. But today, maybe because it's the week of US holiday July 4th or maybe because folks still think there is a lunch break, there was zero line outside and inside the wait was only about 20 minutes. The hours are now 9 to 2:30 with no lunch break.
We go back next week to pick up our passports hopefully sporting their brand new visa pages. We travel in three weeks.