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

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card gives business people faster and easier entry to countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The APEC Business Travel Card:

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

Where can I use an APEC Business Travel Card?

The APEC Business Travel Card is accepted in nearly all of the APEC economies, including:

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

Canada and the United States of America are transitional members of the scheme. Transitional members do not offer reciprocal arrangements for entry to their economy. They only provide fast track immigration processing lanes.

Can I get an APEC Business Travel Card?

You can get an APEC Business Travel Card if:

  • You travel frequently from where you live to an APEC economy other than Australia (at least four business trips in the past 12 months).
  • 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 countries. See Business assesment for details.
  • If you are living outside Australia, you must have permission to live and work in the economy or country you are in. 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

When assessing that your business is engaged in trade or investment activities between APEC economies, we will make an assessment against the following and ask that you include supporting evidence in your application.

  • The business is lawfully registered in the economy in which it is operating and has provided clear evidence supporting it.
    Supporting evidence may 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 may 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 may include:
    • business plans
    • reputable business clients
    • news articles
    • financial or any documentation that may 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 may not otherwise have available evidence that they are a start-up operation).

Note: We will consider your business to be engaged in trade or investment between APEC economies (and the above supporting evidence is not required) 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.

How do I apply for an APEC Business Travel Card?

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 photo page of your passport
  • a certified copy of your Australian drivers licence. If you do not hold a current Australian drivers licence, provide 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 you are a member of (including name and date of birth)
    • records of a financial body of which you are a known customer (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 Cri​mTrac
  • supporting evidence to demonstrate your business is engaged in trade or investment activities between APEC economies (as outlined above).

Complete and lodge your application form

If you are an Australian citizen, and your business has been certified by an approved body, complete:

If you are not the chief executive officer, regional or country head, chief financial officer, 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​.

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​, which gives 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 APEC Business Travel Card processed?

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

Each of these economies will assess your application against their own immigration requirements. They will issue visas and entry permits as necessary. The length of time they take can vary. It is not controlled by us. As a guide, most economies are working to finalise these 'pre-clearance' within two to three months.

When you get your card, it will list all the economies that have cleared you for entry.

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

You can ask for an interim card if:

  • we tell you that you are eligible for an APEC Business Travel Card, and
  • at least one APEC economy has approved your pre-clearance.

The interim card will display only those economies that have approved your pre-clearance.

An interim card gives you pre-clearance to a maximum of five participating economies. It can be used while you wait for the other economies to finalise their clearance processes.

How to apply for an interim card

Use the APEC Business Travel Card Enquiry form to apply for an interim card. You will need to tell us which economies (a maximum of five) you want to get pre-clearance. You can also do this when you lodge your application for an APEC Business Travel Card.

If you want to travel to any other economy not listed on your interim APEC Business Travel Card, you will need to apply for a visa to enter that economy until they have approved your pre-clearance.

If we tell you that you are eligible for an APEC Business Travel Card, you can track the progress of your pre-clearances from participating economies.

I have lost my APEC Business Travel Card. What do I need to do?

You must tell us if your APEC Business Travel Card is lost or stolen.

You will also need to tell us how it happened, and include any supporting information (for example, a police report, an insurance claim, or a statutory declaration).

In certain cases, we might not issue you with another card.

If you find your card after you reported it as lost or stolen, please return it to us.

If you find someone else's card, return it to the agency responsible for managing the travel card scheme in the APEC economy listed on the front of the card.

What do I do if my circumstances change?

You need to tell us if your circumstances change, for example if your name, passport, or contact details change, or if you stop working in the position you held when you applied for the APEC Business Travel Card.

You can tell us using the APEC Business Travel Card Enquiry Form.​

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