Apec business travel card (abtc) scheme (Part 1)

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The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) was developed in response to the need of business people to gain facilitated and streamlined entry to the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

The Philippines takes pride in being one of the pioneers, along with Australia and Korea, of the ABTC scheme, which was conceived in 1996 in response to clamors for enhanced business mobility, including facilitated port entries and exits for bona fide business people in the APEC region.

At present, the Philippines is of one of the nineteen (19) members of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme. The other members include Russia, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Singapore and Thailand.

Issued only to bona fide business persons, the ABTC works like a visa with validity of three (3) years or upon the expiry date of the holder’s passport. It provides each holder facilitated entry and exits through special APEC/ABTC lanes at major airports of these participating economies. An ABTC holder, however, is still required to carry his or her valid passport.

The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) cuts through red tape of business travel, and gives accredited business people a pre-cleared entry to participating APEC economies. Benefits for Card holders enjoy

  • Pre-cleared short-term entry to participating economies (no need to individually apply for visas or entry permits each time you travel). For information about the period of stay allowed in each participating economy; and
  • multiple entry to economies that have granted approval through the ABTC pre-clearance system (cards are valid for three years)

If you want to apply for the card, you need to be a business person who:

  • holds a valid passport of a participating APEC economy;
  • travels frequently to conduct trade and investment activities within the APEC region; and
  • has never been convicted of criminal offense; and
  • qualifies to hold an ABTC in accordance with the eligibility criteria, as determined by ABTC-Philippines.

If you are a Philippine passport holder and wish to apply for an ABTC, you may coordinate directly with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) which will, consistent with the respective criteria and guidelines, endorse your application to ABTC Philippines.  The application, together with its supporting documents, may be filed either with the PCCI. If the application and its supporting documents are found in order, it will be endorsed by the sponsoring business organizations to ABTC-Philippines (Visa Division-DFA). A processing fee is charged by PCCI for ABTC applications.

ABTC-Philippines will conduct an evaluation and screening of the applications forwarded by the PCCI to determine whether the applicant is eligible to apply for and hold an ABTC in accordance with the ABTC Operating Framework as agreed upon by all ABTC participating economies. If the documentation is incomplete or the applicant is found not qualified and eligible to hold an ABTC, ABTC Philippines will refer the application back to PCCI. (PCCI releases)

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