For those of you who haven't had the joy yet...
First, you have to have a 2"x2" pic taken with a white background. Why this requires a unique size and background from all other forms of US ID photos is one of those bureaucratic mysteries best left unexplored.
Then you get to fill out a huge online form that times out every 10 seconds. Make sure you give a quick and easy answer to the security question - you get to re-type it every time the form kicks you out.
The questions are borderline funny. I'm not sure how many people who have committed genocide would admit to it when filling out a form. Then again, US rules make it easier to throw a foreigner out of the country for lying about genocide on a visa application than for actually committing genocide. Even a Lunatic would never set things up that way - it's not crazy, it's just stupid.
To make the appointment, you need to pay not only the fee at a branch of Citic Bank, but for a special phone card. Yes, there is a per-minute fee to call and make the appointment. At least they claim to not charge you when you are on hold. It took 11 minutes for my wife to complete the process. The card was good for 12. If she had spent just a little more time, we'd have had to go back to the bank to buy another card.
"Average" appointment time at the GZ Consulate is 25 days. Our appointment was more like 35 days.
Now to gather the documentation. They don't give specifics, just general ideas. I'm thinking the originals and copies of:
My Passport (including 2 most recent res permits).
Invitation letter from my parents (they are paying for the plane tickets - I've got it in writing!
Her bank records.
Her apartment deeds.
Various things associated with our perfect daughter
who won't be going on this trip.
Her employment contract with that evil US company she works for.
A letter from me saying that I wouldn't even date a green card girl, much less marry one.
Any other suggestions?