iVisa | Updated on Jun 22, 2023
Frequent business travelers know that long-term business visas are a dream come true when repeatedly traveling to the same regions. The APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) recognizes that and developed the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC), a unified visa for entering any of the 21 countries under the cooperation.
Read more about eligibility criteria, travel requirements, benefits for APEC Business Travel Card holders, and the program fees in this article.
What is APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation)?
The APEC is economic cooperation between 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim region, 19 from Asia, plus Canada and the United States. This intergovernmental organization intends to facilitate economic growth, free trade, and regional investments.
One of the measures to promote integration in the APEC economy is the Business Travel Card (ABTC). This unique business visa simplifies business travel between member countries, making entry into APEC economies easier and faster. It’s an incentive to boost business and international trade.
Member countries of the APEC agreement
The APEC Business Card is available for citizens from any member economy who meet the requirements. The card allows to fast-track immigration procedures in major international airports. The participating member countries are:
Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), China, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Peru, Vietnam, Indonesia, The Philippines, Canada, Japan, Singapore, United States.
What is the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC)?
The APEC Business Travel Cards intend to make travel easier for business people within the APEC region. Once citizens apply, information is shared among the Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and transitional economies members. That’s why applicants only have to make a single application to enter any country.
With this travel authorization, cardholders get fast-track immigration lanes. They can stay in each territory for up to 60 or 90 days. But be aware that the ABTC scheme is only for business purposes, so you must apply for another visa type to meet the entry requirements for tourism.
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Who is eligible for an APEC Business Travel Card?
The ABTC is a facility for APEC nationals, but border protection measures still apply. So, there are some requirements to apply for this travel permission. Check all the eligibility criteria:
Citizens must be from participating APEC economies.
The travelers must have never been convicted of a criminal offense.
They must hold a valid passport issued by the home economy.
The ABTC is designated for business people that frequently travel on short-term visits within the APEC region for business commitments. Hence, proving that you work for a verified business is necessary.
Senior government officials in the region may also be eligible for an ABTC.
The applicants from fully APEC economies get a five-year card. It is a multiple-entry document for full APEC members and allows 60 or 90 days per stay.
APEC Business Travel Card Benefits
The Business Travel Card was developed to facilitate the flow of business travelers among the Asia-Pacific countries to promote economic integration, and these are its benefits:
A fast-track entry and exit through special APEC lanes at participating airports;
Multiple, short-term entries to pre-cleared APEC economies;
A single visa application to travel to any of the fully participating members;
Permission for a 60 or 90 days stay per entry.
Application for an APEC Business Travel Card
The best thing about the ABTC is that applicants must do a single application process, and the document will allow entering any APEC members. The travelers have to apply on the home economy application page.
It’s important to know that each economy is responsible for managing the ABTC processing of their pre-clearance applications, and no economy influences the processing of another.
APEC Business Travel Card processing time
Each country is responsible for the processing of its citizens. Once the application is submitted, the government will share the traveler’s APEC information with the other APEC members. This means the processing time can be longer than for other visas.
Each application can take two to three months to be processed, but the time required to process an application can vary between countries.