Note: The Chinese Government has announced it will accept the virtual APEC Business Traveller Card (ABTC) from 1 May 2023 (00:00 Beijing Time). The Chinese Government has also announced that, as an interim arrangement, Chinese embassies and consulates will provide visas free of charge to those virtual ABTC holders who:
- have received pre-clearance from China and
- do not have a physical ABTC
China continues to accept physical ABTCs from all participating APEC economies.
Virtual ABTC holders need to provide proof pre-clearance has been granted by China. If no such proof is available, the application will be verified by China. Applicants may contact relevant Chinese embassies and consulates for details, noting the specific requirements and procedures may vary at different diplomatic services.
Virtual ABTC holders may also wish to confirm the status of their pre-clearance to China on their ImmiAccount, or using the pre-clearance status tracker via ABTC System.
The ‘CHN’ notification for pre-clearance to China will be reinstated on the virtual ABTC mobile application from 1 May 2023 (00:00 Beijing Time).
What is the Virtual ABTC (VABTC)?
The Virtual APEC Business Travel Card (VABTC) is a new way of presenting the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) on a smart device ‘app’. It is a digital version of the ABTC for approved applicants and cardholders when using their ABTC to enter an APEC Economy.
Your VABTC will be valid until the same date as your physical card. A new VABTC will be valid for five years from the date it is approved.
When will the Virtual ABTC be available?
From 1 March 2021, all Australian ABTC holders will be able to use the VABTC in place of any physical card they were previously issued.
From this date, physical cards will no longer be issued for new or renewing ABTC applications, lost cards or passport updates.
How do applicants and cardholders receive the Virtual ABTC?
Search for ‘ABTC’ on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and download the ABTC ‘app’ for your Apple or Android device. You can use your current Application ID, along with your personal details to register or login to the VABTC.
For more information, including how to retrieve your Application ID or reset your PIN, refer to the Virtual ABTC Quick Reference User Guide.
Are there any changes to procedures when presenting the Virtual ABTC?
No. The VABTC is a digital version of the physical ABTC.
When passing through international ports, you will need to present the Virtual ABTC using your smart device ‘app’, as you would your physical ABTC, as instructed by a port official either when entering the APEC fast track lane or when clearing immigration
Can I hold and use both the Virtual ABTC and the physical ABTC?
Australians can still use their physical ABTC until it expires, even if they have downloaded and registered their VABTC.
If cardholders need to present their ABTC when exiting a participating Economy, they should use the same card (either virtual or physical) they used for entry.
What happens if I get a new Passport?
Update your passport details by submitting a copy of your new passport bio-data page through ImmiAccount.
You will no longer be able to use a physical ABTC after this time. You will be notified when your new passport details have been updated on your VABTC, and you will need to login again using your new passport number to view this update.
What happens to lost, stolen or expired physical ABTCs?
If your physical ABTC has been lost or stolen it will not be replaced and you will be required to use the VABTC. You do not need to advise the Department of Home Affairs if your physical card has been lost or stolen, as it can only be used by the passport holder whose details appear on the card. Lost or stolen passports must be reported to the Australian Passport Office.
If you recover a lost or stolen ABTC, or have an expired physical ABTC, or no longer wish to use your physical card, you can securely dispose of the card without notifying the Department.
What happens if I lose my phone?
You can download the Virtual ABTC App to an alternative mobile device and login using your existing details, including: email, passport number, date of birth and your unique Application ID. Follow the steps in the Virtual ABTC Quick Reference User Guide.
What if I forget my PIN?
If you forget your PIN, you can reset it on the login screen. You can also select ‘forget me’ if you want to use the same device to log into another Virtual ABTC.
Where can I find further information about the VABTC?
For more information go to the Virtual ABTC page in the Business Mobility Group section of the APEC website.
If you need further technical support for the VABTC not covered in this document or on the APEC website, please contact email@example.com