Step 1: a 45 minute phone call confirmed everything we had read on the website.
Step 2: complete and print online application
Step 3: schedule appointment online
Step 4: we arrived 3 hours prior to our appointment, the service centre was very well organised, streamlined and bright. They would not let us proceed early, however there was someone to look over our documents to be sure all was in order. After a short question of a signature we were assured that Mr T’s application was intact. We returned 1 hour before our appointment and still had to wait. Exactly 30 minutes before our appointment the woman at the front desk called Mr T to collect his ticket, which was called within 20 minutes. A quick break to copy Chinese documents for our own records and we walked out 1 minute after our scheduled appointment time. Passport will be ready for collection in four days.
We can only hope the process will be just as smooth for me in San Francisco!