I arrived at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC around 10 am. There were about 20 people waiting to submit their visa applications. There were 5 female embassy staffs handling visa applications. I don’t think I’ve seen any male staff expect the security guy who is an American. The office was a small room about the size of a class room from DC campus. I was quite uncomfortable with the room setting where you can hear the conversations between the applicants and staffs. Well, it was entertaining for me to hear all of those conversations for 2 hours.
I saw 2 fellow Smith MBA students from the business plan competition group. One of the students was trying to explain to the embassy staff that he was applying for a tourist visa. But, I saw that the embassy staff got confused after hearing so many words about business, school, tourist, etc. The second student stepped in and explained that they just wanted tourist visa. He did not mentioned anything else at all. It worked.
Since I wanted my passport back by Friday, 12/18/09, I paid $20 extra. As a result, I paid $150 for the single entry tourist visa. During my conversation with the staff, I could feel a bit of the language barrier between us. It took me about 15 minutes answering questions and waiting at the window.