APEC Business Travel Card Goes Digital
Canberra, Australia, 04 March 2021
Officials from APEC member economies finalized their work toward modernizing and improving the security and efficiency of business travel by launching the Virtual APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC).
The Virtual ABTC displays a digital version of the APEC Business Travel Card on a mobile application, giving cardholders the ability to present their virtual card to enter an APEC economy.
“Our objective is to make traveling under the APEC Business Travel Card scheme more secure, efficient, convenient and user-friendly, particularly as APEC members are looking for safe and effective measures to open up borders and resume international travel,” said Kimberlee Stamatis, convenor of the APEC Business Mobility Group, who oversees the scheme.
The Virtual ABTC includes security features such as user verification, the use of holographic watermarks and disabling of screenshots within the mobile application to ensure authenticity of the cardholder. It also includes real-time connectivity to the internet, providing immediate updates of pre-clearance information needed for entry into APEC economies.
“Each APEC economy will determine its own timeline to transition to the Virtual ABTC for its cardholders,” Stamatis added. “Cardholders from transitional members will not have access to the digital service for now; however, existing processes will remain unchanged.”
Stamatis, who is also a director at Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, added that Australia will be the first economy to transition to the digital service for all Australian cardholders from March 2021.
“We really look forward to seeing other economies transition as soon as possible thereafter,” she added.
In order to support member economies’ transition to the new digital service, the process for issuing Virtual ABTCs has been streamlined to align with existing operations with as little change as necessary.
Nineteen APEC economies are fully participating members of the ABTC scheme, including: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; the Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; and Viet Nam. Canada and the United States are transitional members.
The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme facilitates short-term business travel within the APEC economies by streamlining the entry process at ports of entry within the region. Approved applicants are issued with a card that serves as the entry authority to fully participating economies.
The scheme reduces travel costs between APEC economies by 38 percent for cardholders, businesses pay 27 percent less in application fees and 52 percent less in immigration processing.
Information on the Virtual APEC Business Travel Card, please read the frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Information on the application process and eligibility criteria, please visit the APEC Business Travel Card page.
Information on the ABTC Mobile Application, please visit the ABTC Mobile Application page.
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