APEC stands for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), it is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 to foster greater prosperity of its member-states through trade, economic cooperation, and policies. Its current members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Canada and the U.S. are transitional members of APEC, which means they abide by some terms of membership, but not all.
In 1997, APEC implemented a measure towards greater cooperation by creating the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). The purpose of the card is to facilitate the travels of businessmen and governmental officials among member countries. Qualified individuals can apply for the ABTC card through a streamlined process in their home country and, if issued, they can use it to access all the member states. This card is essentially a visa to 19 countries. In addition to the access granted by the card, it also enables holders to go through expedited lines at participating airports. Currently, there are more than 270,000 active users of the APEC card. The card is valid for 5-years, for short, multiple visits for the purpose of conducting business.
Canada and the U.S. participate in the ATBC to the extent that its nationals can get access to member states without a visa, without exempting ABTC card holders from other member states to do the same, and without going through the normal visa process. For these and other reasons, Canada and the U.S. are transitional members.
Businessmen and government officials of member and transitional member states follow similar processes and requirements for obtaining their ABTC Card. General requirements include a valid passport from a member country (or permanent resident in case of Hong Kong), no criminal convictions, and regular business travel to member countries. Each country sets their own requirements in addition to the three listed above, and assumes the responsibility for providing the application framework for their own nationals. Once the member country approves the national’s application, the application gets forwarded to each of the member states for their approval of the application, based on their own visa and entry requirements.
Below is a summary of additional requirements, procedures, website and contact information for each member and transitional member state.
AUSTRALIA – MEMBER
Additional requirements: Must hold a specified position, such as CEO, CFO, Regional or country head, owner or director, board member, an executive, a senior manager or equivalent, an employee nominated by a qualified executive, or a senior government official. Must be a part of a business that engages in trade or investment between APEC countries.
Procedure: Submit application online at https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/business-travel-card/australian-citizens
BRUNEI – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: The applicant must have an approval/endorsement from one of the following—The Department of Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources; Chamber of Commerce registered in Brunei; Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei.
Filing procedure: Submit application by mail to Senior Chief Immigration Officer; Visit Visa and Diplomatic Section; Headquarters; Department of Immigration and National Registration; Jalan Menteri Besear BB3910; Brunei Darussalam.
Additional requirement: Must be a nexus member prior to applying for ABTC
Procedure: Submit application online at https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/goes/jsp/login.jsp;jsessionid=5ce2LE8MmHat_Hvyu8ngHFloU4SUstO8Ms5Oz-ZEcKF6jv0Cbz8R!-1361149723
CHILE – MEMBER
Additional requirements: Certificate issued by Association de Exportadores de Productos Manufacturados, National Chamber of Commerce, Sociedad de Fomento Fabril, Chilean-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
Procedure: Please contact Ms. Gabriela Cabellos Huarcaya to arrange for submission at Legal Section; Migration Department; Home Ministry; San Antonio No 580, 6th Floor, Santiago CHILE; Ph: +56 2 550 2416 ; Fax: +56 2 550 2411; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Status check: https://www.abtc-aps.org/abtc-core/status/check.html
CHINA – MEMBER
Additional requirements: None
Procedure: Prior to submission, please contact the China APEC Development Council
F6, West Tower, Prosper Center, Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing,
PC: 100020. Tel: 86-10-59204268. Fax: 86-10-59204281. Website: www.chinaapec.org. E-mail: email@example.com.
Status check: https://www.abtc-aps.org/abtc-core/status/check.html
HONG KONG – MEMBER
Additional requirements: A letter of support from the employer.
Procedure: The completed application form, support documents, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and “Options for receiving an interim card” (if applicable), should be sent by mail or in person to the Other Visas and Permits Section, Immigration Department, 7/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
INDONESIA – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: A letter of recommendation from the Employer’s Association or Professional Association; Letter of Reference from Bank stating applicant has an account of at least five hundred million Rp and a letter of request from Applicant’s company or agency.
Procedure: Prior to submission, please contact the DIREKTORAT SISTEM DAN TEKNOLOGI INFORMASI KEIMIGRASIAN, via 1) Anita Rufaida, telp: (021) 5224658 ext. 2922. Or 2) M. Angga Kurniawan, telp: (021) 5224658 ext. 2919.
JAPAN – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: Documents to establish ownership or investments, such as balance sheet, profit and loss statements; Documents to establish the work of affiliated companies; Certification of company registration; and Letter of support from company.
Procedure: Submit application along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: 2-2-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8919 Ministry of Foreign Affairs Economic Bureau Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Office “APEC · Business Travel Card” ABTC team. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org FAX: 03-5501-8340.
MALAYSIA – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirement: Letter from Employer and supporting letter from trade association or chamber of commerce; and Company registration forms 24 & 49.
Procedure: Send your application to The Director of Visa, Pass and Permit Division Immigration Department of Malaysia APEC Business Travel Card Unit No. 15, Level 3 (Podium), Persiaran Perdana, Precinct 2, Federal Government Administrative Centre, 62550 PUTRAJAYA Malaysia.
Contact: APEC Business Travel Card Unit. Telephone: 03-88801515/1410/1405/1404, Fax: 03-88801374, Email: email@example.com.
MEXICO – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: None
Procedure: Upon completion online application (https://www.inm.gob.mx/abtc-web/publico/solicitud.html), print and take to the nearest ABTC office, located here: http://www.gob.mx/tramites/ficha/solicitud-de-la-tarjeta-de-viaje-para-personas-de-negocios-de-apec-en-su-modalidad-provisional/INM802
NEW ZEALAND – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: None
Procedure: Once this application has been completed please check your details, then read and sign the declaration before posting to the address below: APEC Business Travel Card Scheme Auckland Central Area Office PO Box 76895 Manukau City, Auckland 2241 New Zealand.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA – MEMBER STATE
Additional requirements: Support letter from approved business organization (PNG Business Council, Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Fisheries Association, and Forestry Association) OR proof that applicant is a PNG Government Minister or Senior Official actively engaged in APEC business.
Procedure: Submit application by mail to the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority head office, Moale Haus, Waigani. Marked for the attention of the APEC section.
PERU – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: Letter of sponsorship from an authorized employer association (www.perucam.com, www.snp.org.pe, www.camarlima.org.pe, www.sni.org.pe, www.comexperu.org.pe, www.snmpe.org.pe, www.adexperu.org.pe); copy of the current DNI; proof of original payment of duties set by TUPA from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Procedure: Submit application by mail to Mesa de Partes del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores Jr. Lampa N° 545 sótano 1 – Centro de Lima.
PHILIPPINES – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: Endorsement from the Makati Business Club, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or Philippine Exporters Confederation; BI and BNI certifications; Total capitalization of business, annual volume of past and current transaction with business partners in APEC.
Procedure: Submit application by mail to ABTC Philippines Desk, Visa Division, Office of Consular Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs; Tel Nos: (632) 836-7763/834-4000.
RUSSIA – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: A letter addressed to Mrs. Marina Larionova regarding necessity of obtaining the ABTC
Procedure: Submit the full package of documents in person to the RSPP International Relations Department (contact person: Elizaveta Safonkina, tel: +7 (495) 663-04-04 ext. 1233, e-mail: SafonkinaEA@rspp.ru). Please arrange your visit date and time beforehand by email or phone.
SINGAPORE – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirement: Possession of Sinpass and a letter of support from employer.
Procedure: Apply online https://eabtc.ica.gov.sg/
SOUTH KOREA – MEMBER STATE
Additional requirements: A completed application form with ID issued by the Korea International Trade (www.kita.net); Covenant (regulation form, handwritten with seal of representative); report on the status of tax withholding; Proof of qualification (export and import performance certificate, foreign direct investment notification, and certificate of achievement of overseas construction order, foreign invested company registration).
Procedure: Submit application by mail as instructed here http://abtc.kita.net/abtc/member/member_list.screen.
TAIWAN – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: Copy of company registration certificate, copy of certificate of service of enterprise (six copies) and letter of recommendation.
Procedure: Applicant should submit the package in person or by appointment of agent to the Consular Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Central, South, Southwest, Southeast Offices, or related overseas Mission Offices.
THAILAND – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: Copy of company registration, and proof of membership in the Chamber of Commerce or FTI Bank of Thailand or Bank Association, Work Certificate, and Company letter of support for applicant’s ABTC.
Procedure: Applications are submitted online http://www.abtc-jsccib.org
UNITED STATES – TRANSITIONAL MEMBER
Additional Requirements: Must be a nexus member prior to applying for ABTC (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/bsf658-eng.pdf)
Procedure: Application is submitted online at https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/goes/jsp/login.jsp;jsessionid=5ce2LE8MmHat_Hvyu8ngHFloU4SUstO8Ms5Oz-ZEcKF6jv0Cbz8R!-1361149723.
Contact: Toll Free: 1-877-CBP-5511 (877-227-5511), Outside the United States: 202-325-8000
VIETNAM – MEMBER STATE
Additional Requirements: Organization or enterprise letter of introduction.
Procedure: Submit application by mail to the Immigration Department Ministry of Public Security.
After the applicant has been pre-approved in his or her home country, s/he can track the application via one of two trackers below.
Tracking for transitional members: https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov
Tracking for members: https://www.abtc-aps.org/abtc-core/status/check.html