When you go to China, not only do you need a passport but a Chinese visa. There are various types of visas but Mary Ann and I needed a work visa with an invitation by our Chinese partners. This visa would last 10 years.
Is a Chinese visa as simple as getting a United States Passport? No. The only reference we had was the Chinese Consulate website. It seemed like the only option was to go Chicago and possibly come back to Chicago to get our visas. Mary Ann and I were pretty sure that larger companies had an office that took care of these things for their employees who travelled. We did look for a passport/visa company that could do the same thing for us, however there were very limited options when searching and the companies that we found seemed too expensive or just didn’t seem right to work with.
The time came where it looked like we needed to bite the bullet and go to Chicago. Mary Ann and I filled out the ready made forms and got photographs. The forms were odd as the format didn’t allow enough space for our answers. Mary Ann would have to wait until Chicago to see if it was done properly or not. This is not an easy thing to accept for a proactive person such as Mary Ann or myself.
Luckily, Mary Ann had her mother, Margot, along for the ride to Chicago. The trip was uneventful and no issues with the paperwork. The one thing Mary Ann and I were trying to figure out all this time became apparent…right there was Swift Passport Services. For a reasonable fee they were able to pick up our visas and send them back to us. More important was Swift could have been able to do the initial work for us as well. A Chicago trip averted.
Although Mary Ann and I were happy that we learned there was a good way to get our Chinese visas, we wish we would have found Swift Services prior to us traveling to Chicago. If they advertise, we did not find it.