Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) for Australian citizens

From 1 July 2017 Australian citizen business people will be able to apply online for the ABTC.

The ABTC gives business people faster and easier entry to economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The ABTC:

If you are not an Australian citizen, you can apply to the agency responsible for the ABTC in your home country. Contact details are available on the ABTC website.

Where can I use an ABTC?

ABTC reciprocal entry arrangements are available in nearly all APEC economies, including:

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • China
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Chile
  • Hong Kong (SAR China)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • the Philippines
  • the Russian Federation
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam.

Canada and the United States of America are transitional members of the ABTC scheme. Transitional members do not offer reciprocal entry arrangements, but do provide fast track immigration processing at major airports.

Can I get an ABTC?

You can get an ABTC if:

  • You travel frequently to an APEC economy other than Australia or your place of residence (constituting a minimum of four visits during the previous 12 month period).
  • You have not been convicted of a criminal offence.
  • You are either:
    • the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or regional or country head of a registered business entity
    • an owner or director of a registered business entity
    • a Board member of a registered business entity
    • the CEO or CFO of an Australian-based business peak body
    • an employee of a registered business entity nominated by the CEO, CFO, regional head, owner or director of the organisation.
    • a senior government official – contact us for the eligibility requirements before you apply.
  • Your business entity or Australian-based peak business body must be engaged in international trade or investment between APEC economies. See Business assessment below for details.
  • If you are living outside Australia, you must have permission to live and work within this economy. Attach a copy of your work permit or residency permit to your application form. We will verify the permit in consultation with the relevant economy.

Business assessment

The Department will consider your business to be engaged in trade or investment between APEC economies if your business:

  • has received an Export Market Development Grant from Austrade in the past five years
  • 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
  • was certified by an approved body under the previous arrangements and the certification is still valid, or
  • was already assessed as engaged in trade or investment between APEC economies in the context of another employee's application in the past three years.

Alternatively, the Department will consider your business to be engaged in trade or investment activities between APEC economies, if your application provides supporting evidence of the following:

  • The business is lawfully registered in the economy in which it is operating and has provided clear evidence supporting it.
    Supporting evidence might include:
    • an Australian or overseas business registration certificate that can be verified with the issuing authority
    • an Australian Business Number (if applicable)
    • registration with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (if applicable).
  • The business is trading goods, services or conducting investment activities between APEC economies, and there is clear evidence supporting it.
    Supporting evidence might include:
    • publicly available product/service information that identifies goods or services that the business trades internationally
    • reputable business clients who receive a good/service from the business
    • a copy of a lease or other document evidencing an address and location of an officer of the business in another APEC economy
    • a business licence or other document evidencing approval to establish and operate an office in an APEC economy.
  • If the business is a start-up operation, there is clear evidence of viability, sound business planning, market research and product/s or services to be traded.
    Supporting evidence might include:
    • business plans
    • reputable business clients
    • news articles
    • financial or any documentation that might reasonably attest to the bonafide establishment of a start-up operation
    • letter of support from a recognised business peak body (that is, a body that is duly incorporated for a minimum of five years, has not less than 200 members, has an annual turnover of not less than AUD200 000 based on audited financial accounts, and whose aims include the promotion, trade and investment between Australia and another APEC economy, will be recognised where they provide a letter for a member who might not otherwise have available evidence that they are a start-up operation).

How do I apply for an ABTC?

Prepare your documents

The application form has a checklist that lists the information and supporting documents you must provide with your application. Incomplete applications could be delayed or, in some cases, refused.

In particular, provide:

  • a certified copy of the bio-data page of your passport
  • the application fee
  • a certified copy of your Australian drivers licence. If you do not hold a current Australian drivers licence, provide a certificed copy of one of the following:
    • credit card (including signature)
    • Medicare card
    • foreign drivers licence
    • telephone account
    • council rates
    • records of a tertiary educational institution you attended in the last 10 years (including name and date of birth)
    • records of a professional or trade association of which you are a member (including name and date of birth)
    • statement from a financial institution (including name and address).
  • a completed National Police Checking Service Application/Consent Form (403KB PDF) as a national criminal history check will be conducted by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission
  • supporting evidence to demonstrate your business is engaged in trade or investment activities between APEC economies (as outlined above)
  • a current business card
  • if you reside outside of Australia, evidence of authority to reside and work within this economy.

Complete and lodge your application form

If you are an Australian citizen, complete Form 1390 - Application for APEC Business Travel Card (189KB PDF)

If you are not the CEO, CFO - regional or country head, or owner or director of the business, your application must also include a supporting nomination letter (20KB PDF) from one of those people.

You can lodge your form by post, courier or in person at the APEC Business Travel Card Unit in our Brisbane office​. Electronic or faxed applications are not accepted.

You must pay​ a fee​​ when you lodge your application. This fee is not refunded if your application is unsuccessful. The preferred method of payment is by credit card.

More information

There is more information to help you prepare your application​, including advice about certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with us, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from us, and receiving assistance with your application. Also see Designated list of occupations and professions.

How is my application for an ABTC processed?

We will check your application to determine whether you meet the criteria for an ABTC. If you meet the criteria, your application will then be sent to all participating APEC economies for consideration.

Each of these economies will assess your application against their own immigration requirements. APEC economies will independently process and issue visa and entry permits linked to your ABTC. Consequently, the period of time required to completely process your application may vary between economies, and is beyond the control of the Department.

The reverse side of your ABTC will feature a list of all the economies that have granted you pre-clearance.

What is an interim ABTC and how can I apply for one?

An interim ABTC allows you to nominate up to five priority economies for pre-clearance assessment. An interim ABTC will be issued once the priority economies have granted pre-clearance. The interim ABTC can be used while the remaining economies finalise their pre-clearance processes.

When applying for an ABTC, complete Part J – Options for receiving an interim card and nominate up to five priority economies for pre-clearance assessment.

Should you wish to travel to one of your nominated priority economies prior to receiving your interim ABTC, you will need to apply for a separate visa for travel.

You can track the progress of your pre-clearance assessments on the APEC website. Pre-clearance assessments are processed by individual economies and are subject to their respective immigration procedures

I have lost my ABTC. What do I need to do?

If your ABTC is lost or stolen you must advise the Department of the circumstances and provide any supporting information, for example, a police report, an insurance claim, or a statutory declaration.

If you find your ABTC after you have reported it as lost or stolen, please return it to the Department

What do I do if my circumstances change?

If your circumstances change, such as your name, passport, contact details or employment, you must advise the Department using the APEC Business Travel Card Enquiry Form or by emailing

My passport associated with my ABTC is about to expire. What should I do?

Your ABTC expiry date is aligned with the expiry date of your passport.  To make full use of your ABTC’s lifetime, you can advise the Department of your new passport details. A new ABTC, which aligns with your new passport, will be issued to you.

To update your passport details please email a copy of your new passport bio-data page to

My ABTC is about to expire, can I renew it?

The ABTC cannot be renewed. A new application and supporting documentation is required to obtain a new ABTC. 

It is recommended that ABTC holders submit an application at least two months prior to expiry.

Changes to the ABTC scheme - extension of validity

At the most recent APEC Business Mobility Group (BMG), all 21 member economies agreed to implement the extension of validity of the ABTC from three to five years, effective 1 September 2015.

It was agreed that all applications lodged on or before 31 August 2015 are to be granted an ABTC valid for three years and applications lodged on or after 1 September 2015 are to be granted an ABTC valid for five years.

To align with these changes, permission to enter member economies will be granted for a five year period. As the ABTC is linked a passport, if an ABTC holder renews their passport within five years of the ABTC issuance date, they must advise the Department of their new passport details to allow a replacement ABTC to be issued for the remainder of the five year period.

Note: A new application is not required for a replacement ABTC to be issued. The ABTC holder is required to contact the Department via email, providing a copy of the bio-data page of their new Australian passport. Once processed a replacement ABTC will be issued.

As there is provision for only one passport to be linked to an ABTC, failure to update the Department’s records with the correct passport might result in refusal to enter foreign member economies.