It seems that just after we finish jumping through one hoop with the freighter, they put another one in place. We have “booked” a freighter from Shanghai to Seattle, through NSB Reiseburo, on or about June 1st.
First booking, we were told that even though we are Canadians, we require a Visa for the USA. Both us and our travel agent Fred had received letters from Homeland Security and the USA Embassy saying that Canadians do not require Visas; however, the freighter company insisted. They had an issue a few years back where a Canadian was denied entry, so they do not wish to get burned again.
So, we jumped through that hoop, forked over about $400 and received 10-year tourist visas for the USA. We only hope that having the visa doesn’t cause us more trouble than it save, since we don’t require it.
We thought everything was OK, but when we sent copies of our Visa’s, we hit another hurdle. Now we are told that our type L Chinese visa (tourist) does not permit us to embark in Shanghai. That type of visa is OK for any other port in China, but for some reason, Shanghai doesn’t accept it. So, we now need to acquire a type F visa (business), which requires an invitation letter from a company. We are hoping the freighter agent can provide us with the necessary invitations. It certainly would have been nice if they informed us of this odd restriction prior to us applying for and paying for our visa.