What is an APEC Business Travel Card?
The APEC Business Travel Card gives business people faster and easier entry to countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
The APEC Business Travel Card:
- identifies your passport details
- lists the economies you can enter and stay in (for a period of up to 60 or 90 days, depending on the economy) without separately applying for a visa
- provides access to fast-track entry and exit lanes at major airports of participating economies
- is valid for three years, or until your passport ends, whichever comes first.
Where can I use an APEC Business Travel Card?
The APEC Business Travel Card is accepted in nearly all of the APEC countries, including:
- Brunei Darussalam
- Hong Kong (SAR China)
- the Russian Federation
- the Philippines
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Chinese Taipei
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:
- your business is certified by an ‘approved body’ as being engaged in international trade or investment between APEC economies (there are some exceptions to this)
- you meet the individual requirements.
Certification by an approved body
A business entity must be certified by an approved body or be exempt from the certification requirement. Contact one of the following approved bodies to apply for certification:
Your business does not need to be certified if any one of the following applies:
- it is listed on the current Forbes Global 2000 business list
- it has received an Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) from Austrade in the past five years
- it has been a finalist in the Australian Export Awards (supported by Austrade and ACCI) in the past five years.
You must also meet the following requirements:
- You must be able to show that 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 must not have been convicted of a criminal offence.
- You must be 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 (certified by an approved body, see above).
- 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.
I am an Australia citizen, 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 (403 kB PDF) as a national criminal history check will be conducted by CrimTrac.
Complete and lodge your application form
If you are an Australian citizen, and your business has been certified by an approved body, complete:
- Form 1390 Application for APEC Business Travel Card (189 kB PDF file)
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 (20 kB PDF file) 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.
There is more information to help you prepare your application, which gives advice about certifying and translating documents into English, communicating with the department, using a migration agent, authorising another person to receive information from the department, 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?
It depends on how you applied.
- If your business applied for certification through an approved body: contact the approved body for processing details.
- If you applied directly with us: 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.