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Home Grow your Business Trade and export APEC Business Travel Card Scheme

APEC Business Travel Card Scheme

The APEC Business Travel Card scheme is an important initiative that commenced permanent operations in March 1999. Developed in response to the need for business people to gain streamlined entry to other economies, it contributes to APEC's goal of free and open trade within the Asia-Pacific region.

The ABTC is valid for 3 years and provides the holder with a two or three month stay in an APEC economy that is a full member of the scheme.


The Ai Group is an approved body for the purposes of business certification under the ABTC Scheme. To apply for business certification, please download an application form or email

The eighteen economies participating in this program are:
Brunei Darussalam
Hong Kong
the Philippines
New Zealand
Papua New Guinea
Chinese Taipei


All APEC economies also provide fast track immigration processing lanes at major international airports for holders of the ABTC. This includes the 18 countries listed above and the remaining members of APEC; Canada and United States of America.

For Australia, the APEC Business Travel Card scheme is administrated by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).  For more information on the card, including applying for the card, please visit their website.

Every business entity that seeks to utilise Australia's ABTC for its employees must establish that it is engaged in international trade or investment in the APEC region.  A business is engaged in international trade or investment if it meets one of the following requirements:

  • The business is listed in the current Forbes Global 2000 business list
  • The business has received an Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) from Austrade in the past five years
  • The business has been a finalist in the Australian Export Awards (supported by Austrade and ACCI) in the past five years
  • The business has been certified by an 'approved body'

The Ai Group is an approved body for the purposes of business certification under the ABTC Scheme.  To apply for business certification, please download an application form or email

The Ai Group will make an assessment against the following criteria:

  • The business is lawfully registered in the economy in which it is operating and has provided clear evidence of this; and
    supporting evidence may 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)
  • The business is trading a good or a service conducting investment activities between APEC economies and there is clear evidence of this; or
    supporting evidence may 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 officer 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.
  • If the business is a start-up operation, there is clear evidence of viability, sound business planning, market research and product/s or services to be traded.
    supporting evidence may include: business plans; reputable business clients; news articles; financial or any documentation that may reasonably attest to the bonafide establishment of a start-up operation; letter of support from a recognised business peak body (that is, a body that is duly incorporated for a minimum of 5 years, has not less than 200 members, has an annual turnover of not less than AUD $200,000 based on audited financial accounts, and whose aims include to promote trade and investment between Australia and another APEC economy, will be recognised where they provide a letter for a member who may not otherwise have available evidence they are a start up operation).

If your business is certified and then you (or an eligible employee) wish(es) to be issued an ABTC, you or the employee must apply directly through DIAC.  The applicant should quote the certification number.  Please note that being employed by a certified business is only one criterion for card eligibility.  You must meet the other relevant criteria to be issued an ABTC.  Please visit DIAC's website for more information on applying for an ABTC.