Use of the card streamlines entry processes into APEC economies by requiring a single application to be made for permission to enter all participating APEC economies.
If you are a successful applicant from a fully participating economy you will be granted a 5-year card which permits entry to other fully participating economies which have granted ‘pre-clearance’ for short term business travel (up to 60 or 90 days). A card will also allow fast-tracked immigration processing at each economy’s major international airports.
Participating economies include:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Chinese Taipei
- Hong Kong (SAR China)
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Russian Federation
Note: Canada and the United States are transitional members only and do not offer reciprocal entry arrangements – they do, however, offer fast-tracked immigration processing at major airports.
The ABTC gives frequent business travelers:
- Fast-track entry, immigration processing and exit through specially allocated APEC lanes at major international airports in fully participating economies; and
- Multiple, short-term entries to precleared APEC economies without having to make a separate visa application to fully participating members.
To be eligible to apply for an ABTC you must:
- Hold a valid passport from an APEC economy (or be a permanent resident of Hong Kong); and
- Engage in regular business travel throughout the APEC region; and
- Have no criminal conviction; and
- You are:
- The CEO, CFO or regional or country head of a registered business entity; or
- An owner or director of a registered business entity; or
- A board member of a registered business entity; or
- The CEO or CFO of an Australian-based business peak body; or
- A Vice President, Executive, Director, Senior Manager or similar; or
- An employee of a registered business entity nominated by the CEO, CFO, regional head, owner or director of the organisation; or
- A senior government official (note: each economy may define “senior government” official slightly differently); and
- Your business is engaged in international trade or investment between APEC economies.
If you are living outside Australia, you must have permission to live and work within this economy of residence. Additionally, each economy may impose additional eligibility requirements at their discretion.
Is my business engaged in ‘international trade or investment between APEC economies’?
There are a number of factors that will be considered in determining whether your business is engaged in international trade and investment between APEC economies for the purposes of an ABTC being granted. Your business will be considered to be engaging in international trade or investment between APEC economies if it:
- Has received an Export Market Development Grant from Austrade in the past five years; or
- Has been a finalist in the Australian Export Awards in the past five years; or
- Is listed on the current Forbes Global 2000 business list; or
- Is an accredited Australian Trusted Trader.
Alternatively, your business will be considered to be engaging in international trade or investment between APEC economies if evidence of the following is provided:
- The business is lawfully registered in the economy in which it is operating; and
- The business is trading goods, services or conducting investment activities between APEC economies; and
- If the business is a start-up operation, there is clear evidence of viability, sound business planning, market research and products or services to be traded/
An application will typically take at least 2-3 months to be processed in fully participating economies. This timeframe may be longer in some instances if all fully participating members are required to review the application for pre-clearance approval. The timeframe may also vary depending on processing times between different economies.
Indicating priority economies at the time of application may reduce the waiting period. If you are the holder of a current card, you are encouraged to submit your application at least 3 months before the expiry of your current card.
If you are an Australian passport holder, an application fee of $200 (AUD) is payable at the time you lodge your application.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.