I've found that visiting Beijing and most other parts of China means getting a visa prior to arrival. I've also read about companies who obtain them for you from an embassy or consulate for a fee. Reading info on the official China website indicates you can get them at several locations around the USA including Chicago, DC, NYC and Houston. We're thinking about a 'warm up' trip to one of the cities and going to the embassy ourselves to get them ourselves.
Has anyne here done so on your own? If so, how long does the process take? Do you have to leave your passport and they ship it to you later? Or can you obtain them in a matter of minutes or perhaps hours during one visit?
Thanks for any help.