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Note: Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, international travel has been severely curtailed, or even suspended in some circumstances. The restrictions to visa and visa processing has also had a direct impact on the ABTC Scheme and its cardholders in the APEC region. It is important that those wishing to travel using an ABTC should monitor entry restrictions in your travel destination to ensure that you will not be denied entry or placed into mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
These are extraordinary times that we are witnessing around the world, however, please be assured that work will continue to encourage and support ABTC holders being considered for travel as a priority when the restrictions on international travel are lifted.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Card
- The 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
- Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible to apply for an ABTC you must hold a valid passport from an APEC economy (or be a permanent resident of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong, China), engage in regular business travel throughout the APEC region and have no criminal conviction. Each economy has the discretion to impose additional eligibility criteria on their applicants. Further information about the eligibility criteria of each economy is available through the domestic websites of each economy, accessible via the contact details below.
Senior government officials and officials actively engaged in APEC business may also be eligible for an ABTC. As each economy will define a “senior government official” according to its own bureaucratic structure, please contact your home economy to determine whether you meet this criteria.
- Application Process
Applicants 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.
ABTC Pre-clearance Status Tracker
Once the home economy has approved the application, applicants can monitor which economies have provided pre-clearance using the ABTC Pre-clearance Status Tracker. If you are applying through Canada or the United States, you may check your application status through your TTP account.
Economy Contact Details and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the ABTC are available here. Any additional questions should be directed to your home economy.
- Questions about applying for the ABTC are managed by your home economy.
- Questions about the status of your pre-clearance application with a particular economy are managed by that economy.
- Questions about the requirements for travelling to a particular economy using your ABTC are managed by the economy to which you intend to travel.
Each economy has information about the ABTC, including relevant contact points available on their domestic websites in the Table below. Please consult this information prior to contacting an economy directly.