How to apply for an APEC Business Travel Card

The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) allows cardholders to travel more freely between participating economies. This year, the number of applications for ABTCs in Shanghai has increased significantly.

What is an ABTC?

The ABTC is a card issued by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to facilitate business travel within the APEC region. With a valid ABTC and a valid passport, cardholders can travel visa-free between APEC economies for up to five years and enjoy expedited customs clearance at major airports.

What is the eligibility criteria for ABTC applicants?

The ABTC is currently limited to business travel. Eligible applicants include managers, business personnel, and technical staff from various enterprises in Shanghai who frequently travel to APEC economies for work-related business activities.

For non-privately owned enterprises, applications should follow the management procedures of overseas trips for official business. For privately owned enterprises, applications should be processed at designated ABTC acceptance sites and preliminary review units based on their registration location, industry association, or other relevant criteria.

Which economies can ABTC holders visit, and what is the maximum length of stay per visit?

Currently, APEC comprises 21 economies, including China. Each economy allows ABTC holders to stay for a maximum period ranging from 60 to 180 days per visit. Specifically:

60 days: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore

90 days: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam

180 days: Mexico

Please note that the United States and Canada are transitional members of the ABTC scheme and do not offer reciprocal entry arrangements. However, they do provide visa application assistance and expedited immigration processing at major international airports for cardholders from other participating economies.

Personnel exchanges between the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan will be managed in accordance with existing regulations governing such exchanges.

What documentation is needed from the applicant's company?

The enterprise is required to submit an application letter bearing the official seal of the company. This letter should primarily outline the nature of the enterprise, its registered capital, business activities, employee count, and operational performance for the previous year. Specifically, it should include details such as total assets, operating income, profits, taxes paid, debt-asset ratio, and import-export volume. For enterprises without import-export activities, documentation demonstrating business engagements with APEC economies, such as contracts, project plans, or business visas issued by other economies within the past year, should be provided. Additionally, the letter should include information about the applicant's position, employment status, and the reasons for their application.

What documentation is required from the applicant?

Personnel from State-owned enterprises and private enterprises, as well as Chinese nationals from Sino-foreign joint ventures, wholly foreign-owned enterprises, and Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao-funded enterprises in Shanghai are all eligible to apply. Applicants must hold a valid Chinese passport and have no criminal convictions. The required documentation include:

(1) Proof of social insurance payments by the applicant's company for more than three consecutive months;

(2) Copy of the first page of the passport valid for at least one year (If there are no exceptional circumstances, kindly submit a copy of the first page of your passport with an extended validity period);

(3) Electronic document signed by the applicant;

(4) Applicant's color photo with a white background and its digital copy;

(5) Certificate of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) issued by the public security department;

(6) Completion of the "APEC Business Travel Card Application Form".

How to use the ABTC?

The card should be used alongside the passport. To enter or exit an APEC economy, the cardholder must present both the valid ABTC and the passport originally used during the application process. It's essential to note that cardholders are only permitted to enter and exit APEC economies that have been approved (as indicated by the English abbreviation on the back of the travel card).


Source: "scofcom" WeChat account