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

From 1 July 2017, ABTC applications, renewals and passport updates for Australian citizen business people must be lodged electronically through ImmiAccount.

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

If you are not an Australian citizen, you must 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 international 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) for business purposes.
  • 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
    • a Vice President, Executive, Director, Senior Manager or similar
    • an employee of a registered business entity nominated by the CEO, CFO, regional head, owner or director of the organisation
    • a senior government official.
  • Your business entity or Australian-based peak business body is 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 of residence. Applicants may be required to provide evidence of their work and residency permit with their application.

Business assessment

We 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
  • is listed on the current Forbes Global 2000 business list.

Alternatively, we 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.
    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.
    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 office 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 other documentation that might reasonably attest to the bonafide establishment of a start-up operation
    • a letter of support from a recognised business peak body where a member who might not otherwise have available evidence that they are a start-up operation.

How do I apply for an ABTC?

From 1 July 2017, ABTC applications and renewals for Australian citizen business people must be lodged electronically through ImmiAccount.

Prepare your documents

The application process will prompt you to provide particular information depending on your individual circumstances. Incomplete applications could be delayed or, in some cases, refused.

In particular, prior to commencing your application prepare:

  • a certified copy of the bio-data page of your passport
  • a certified copy of your Australian drivers licence. If you do not hold a current Australian drivers licence, please see the identity requirements in the National Police Checking Service Application/Consent Form. You do not need to complete or submit this form. It is only for the purpose of informing you how to meet the identity requirements.
  • supporting evidence to demonstrate your business is engaged in trade or investment activities between APEC economies (as outlined above)
  • if you reside outside of Australia, evidence of authority to reside and work within this economy.

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.

How is my application for an ABTC processed?

Once you have submitted an application, this will be considered for assessment against the relevant criteria. If deemed that you meet the criteria for an ABTC, your application will be sent to all participating APEC economies for consideration.

Each economy 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 our control.

Once your application has been approved by Australia, you can track the progress of your pre-clearance assessments on the APEC Website using your Australian application number. When you receive your ABTC, the reverse side 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?

When you apply for an ABTC, you will be prompted to nominate up to five priority economies for interim card consideration. Once your application has been approved by Australia and your nominated priority economies, an interim card will automatically be issued to you. Only one (1) interim card will be issued to each applicant.

Please note that you are not eligible for an interim card whilst your application is still being considered by Australia and your nominated economies. Should you wish to travel to one of your nominated priority economies prior to receiving pre-clearance and hence your interim ABTC, you will need to apply for a separate visa for travel.

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

If your ABTC is lost or stolen you must advise us 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, return it to us.

What do I do if my circumstances change?

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

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

Your ABTC is valid for five years from the date of issue, or three years from this date if your application was received by the Department prior to 1 September 2015. If the passport associated with your ABTC application expires within this period, the expiry date shown on your ABTC will reflect that of your passport. To make full use of your ABTC’s lifetime, you should advise the Department of your new passport details. A new ABTC, which aligns with your new passport number, will be issued to you. The expiry date of your new ABTC will be five years from the date that your first card was issued, or three years from this date if your application was lodged with the Department prior to 1 September 2015.

To update your passport details submit a copy of your new passport bio-data page through ImmiAccount. You will be required to provide the document number of your current ABTC. As there is provision for only one passport to be linked to an ABTC, if you do not update your passport details with the Department, you may experience delays at airports and possibly be refused entry to foreign economies.

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

From 1 July 2017, holders of an ABTC that has expired or is nearing expiry are able to apply for a renewal of their card if they believe they continue to meet the eligibility criteria. Applications for ABTC renewal must be made through ImmiAccount.