The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel CardThe Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) facilitates short-term business travel within the APEC region by streamlining the entry process into APEC economies. The ‘apply once, information used for multiple purposes’ approach is used which means that applicants are only required to make on application for permission to enter participating economies. Successful applicants from fully participating economies are issued with a five-year card that serves as the entry authority to other fully participating economies which have granted pre-clearance for short-term business travel of up to 60 or 90 days. The card also enables holders to fast track immigration processing at each economy’s major international airports. Note that Canada and the United States of America (the United States) are transitional members of the ABTC scheme and do not offer reciprocal entry arrangements, but do provide fast track immigration processing at major international airports.
What are the general eligibility criteria for ABTC applicants?
- are citizens of participating APEC economies, or in the case of Hong Kong China, permanent residents holding a Hong Kong permanent identity card;
- have never been convicted of a criminal offence;
- hold a valid passport issued by the home economy or, in the case of Hong Kong China, a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport or a valid travel document issued by another country or territory; and,
- are bona fide business persons who may need to travel frequently on short term visits within the APEC region to fulfill business commitments. A bona fide business person is a person who is engaged in the trade of goods, the provision of services or the conduct of investment activities.
Application ProcessApplicants make a single application to the economy for which they hold a passport (home economy), or have permanent residence in the case of Hong Kong, China. If this economy assesses the application as meeting the relevant criteria, the applicant’s details are provided to the other participating economies who conduct their own assessment of whether to grant pre-clearance. When all economies have made a pre-clearance decision, the applicant receives an ABTC that lists the economies to which they have permission to travel. Each economy is responsible for managing the processing of their own pre-clearance applications and no economy has any influence over the processing timeframes of another.
- Fast-track entry and exit through special APEC lanes at participating airports; and,
- Multiple, short-term entries to precleared APEC economies without having to make a separate visa application to fully participating members.
Once the home economy has approved the application, applicants can monitor which economies have provided pre-clearance using the ABTC Pre-clearance Status Tracker (https://www.abtc-aps.org/abtc-core/status/check.html). If you are applying through Canada or the United States, you may check your application status through your TTP account.
ABTC holders must maintain a valid passport during the use of their card. Cardholders must renew their ABTC if their passport is renewed or replaced and their card makes reference to their previous passport information. Applicants will need to verify with their home economy on rules with regards to their passport and card validity.
Each economy has their own set of guidelines and processes for applying for an ABTC, including application forms, fees, and applicant screening. Please refer to your home economy’s website.