Using the ABTC
On 1 March 2021, Australia transitioned to the Virtual ABTC, a digital version of the card accessible through a cardholder’s smart device. Physical cards will no longer be issued to Australian applicants and cardholders after this date.
For further information about the Virtual ABTC for Australian applicants and cardholders, see the
Virtual APEC Business Travel Card (VABTC).
Further general information about the Virtual ABTC can also be found at the Virtual ABTC page of the APEC website.
ABTC reciprocal entry arrangements are available in nearly all APEC economies, including:
- Brunei Darussalam
- China (accepting virtual ATBC from 1 May 2023 – see notice below)
- Chinese Taipei
- Hong Kong (SAR China)
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- the Philippines
- the Russian Federation (physical ABTC only – see notice below)
The People’s Republic of China is accepting virtual ABTCs from 1 May 2023. The ‘CHN’ notification has been reinstated for ABTC holders who have pre‑clearance from China.
Ensure your mobile application is updated with the latest IOS or Android version. Contact your home economy for assistance, as required.
Russia advised that they are unable to accept virtual ABTCs at this time. However, Russia announced a temporary travel scheme for eligible virtual ABTC card holders, commencing on Monday, 10 April 2023.
The temporary travel scheme facilitates a special permit granting a multiple entry and stay visa to Russia. The special permit will be valid for five years from the date of issue and will be issued free of charge in any Russian Federation diplomatic mission or consular office.
To be eligible for the special permit, ABTC holders must:
- have received pre-clearance from Russia and
- not have a physical ABTC.
Russia continues to accept physical ABTCs from all participating APEC economies.
In order to apply for a special permit for multiple trips to Russia, applicants are required to submit a completed visa application form, photo, passport and a personal statement to any diplomatic mission or consular office of Russia abroad.
Taking into account the formal financial regulations in force in diplomatic missions or consular offices of the Russia abroad, the personal statement to the head of a diplomatic mission or consular office of Russia should request to exempt the applicant, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity applied within the APEC forum when processing documents for business and official trips, from charging any fees for issuing the special permit multiple entry visa the same as when using a physical ABTC with a limitation of the total period of stay in Russia of 90 days from each period of 180 days .
An approved permit will be printed on a visa sticker form and pasted into the applicant’s passport.
Virtual ABTC holders may also wish to confirm the status of their pre-clearance to Russia using the ABTC pre-clearance status tracker.
- CANADA & THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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.
Getting an ABTC
You can apply for an ABTC if you:
- travel frequently to an APEC economy (other than Australia or your place of residence) for business purposes
- have not been convicted of a criminal offence
To be eligible, you must be one of the following:
- 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
- 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. See the Pro-forma nomination letter (20KB PDF)
- a senior government official (defined as a member of the Australian Public Service who is at the Senior Executive Service level or above, or a state/territory equivalent)
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. . Applicants may be required to provide evidence of their work and residence permit with their application.
Note - your application cannot be finalised unless you provide 4 identity documents as specified below. For a list of documents see Step 1: Before you apply, below.
We will consider a business to be engaged in trade or investment between APEC economies if the 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
- is an accredited Australian Trusted Trader
We might also consider a business to be engaged in trade or investment activities between APEC economies, provided the business is lawfully registered in the economy in which it is operating and is either:
- trading goods, services or conducting investment activities between APEC economies, or
- if the business is a start-up operation
The application must provide supporting evidence.
Supporting evidence for a lawfully registered business (in the economy in which it is operating) 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)
Supporting evidence for a business that is trading goods, services or conducting investment activities between APEC economies 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
Supporting evidence for a business that is a start‑up operation, might include:
- clear evidence of viability
- sound business planning
- market research
- product/s or services to be traded
- reputable business clients
- news articles
- financial or other documents 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.