Q: If I book flight reservations online for flights to Beijing, how would I handle the visa part of the trip? Do I have to go to the Chinese Consulate office in Los Angeles, CA and present them with my Visa, passport and flight tickets?
You can book your plane ticket online if you so choose and apply for China visa at the LA Chinese Consulate (assuming that's the consulate in charge of your part of the U.S.). To apply for your visa, you need to provide your passport, and an filled-out application form with a passport photo attached to it. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you need to have documents such as a green card. You also need to determine the type of visa you should apply. For most people, it is L Visa, which is for tourists traveling to China for sightseeing or visiting family/relatives. To apply for this type visa, you need to show your roundtrip air tickets and hotel reservation. If you are going to stay with family/relatives, provide the connecctions. Generally a visa provides for a stay up to 30 days. If you need to stay longer, ask for visa extension.
Other types of visa include those for businessmen, students, etc.
Visa applications should be made in person. If the applicant cannot go to the consulate to apply himself or herself, he or she should entrust someone else to do it. There are also preofessional services which, for a fee, assist people in applying for their visa. It takes about 4 business days for a consulate to process your visa application. There is a processing fee, $130. In any event, check with the Chinese consulate to veryfy the information.
When you enter China, show your passport with visa at the border-check point and you'll be in.