APEC Business Card Information
The American Chamber of Commerce in Thailand, as the voice of U.S. business in Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, has been a strong supporter of the United States’ participation in the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) program and applauds the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to allow American business travelers access to such program. The card gives frequent business travelers pre-cleared, facilitated short-term entry to participating APEC member economies, saving them valuable time at immigration points in APEC member countries. Please note that for U.S. citizens the APEC Business Travel Card does not eliminate the need to have a valid visa for countries that require U.S. citizen business travelers to have a visa.
For several years, the card had been available to citizens of every APEC economy except the United States and Canada; however after an “interim final rule” published by DHS, the U.S. government has begun to issue APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTC) to qualified U.S. travelers since June 12, 2014.
In order for a person to obtain an ABTC, the applicant must comply with the following criteria:
• The person must be a U.S citizen.
• After login to the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES), the person must self-certify that he/she is:
If the applicant is able to comply with these criteria, then upon completion of the GOES online application, which includes a US $70 application fee, and submission of an electronic signature at a CBP Global Entry Enrollment Center, the CBP will mail the applicant’s completed card to the address provided in the GOES account.
In order for a U.S. business person to apply for a Trusted Traveler program, the applicant must schedule an appointment and physically appear at a designated CBP office in the U.S. Given that Trusted Traveler appointments often cannot be done in conjunction with planned travel to the U.S. due to appointment scheduling difficulties, it becomes difficult for U.S. business travelers, who are stationed in Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos, to apply. If a U.S. business person is already enrolled to a Trusted Traveler program, the enrollment centers where it is possible for the applicant to submit his/her electronic signature for the ABTC application are located only in the U.S, thus creating a major inconvenience.
Hence, in the interest of maximizing the number of interested individuals who are able to obtain the APEC Business Travel Card promptly, AMCHAM Thailand is encouraging DHS to collaborate with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Asia-Pacific, as well as with the respective American Chambers of Commerce, to find ways to schedule Trusted Traveler appointments outside the United States, either on a regular basis or around major U.S. regional business events such as the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC). The Chamber is also urging CBP and relevant institutions to make it possible for current Trusted Traveler members to have their electronic signatures collected overseas, so as to minimize the inconvenience for Trusted Traveler members of having to travel to the U.S. to complete their APEC Business Travel Card application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I learn more about Global Entry?
The Global Entry website contains information about the program and its benefits.
When should I apply for Global Entry?
You should apply as soon as possible. In order to schedule an interview, your status needs to change from “Pending” to “Conditionally Approved.” This process can take up to one month and only then will you be able to select an interview time slot.
Will CBP mail Global Entry cards to foreign addresses?
APEC Business Travel Card
Where can I learn more about the APEC Business Travel Card in general?
The APEC website contains information about the program.
Where can I learn more about the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card?
U.S. Customs & Border Protection maintains a list of frequently asked questions on its website.
Can the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card be used in lieu of a visa in a foreign APEC member economy?
No. Unlike APEC Business Travel Cards issued by some other countries, the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card does not eliminate the need to have a valid visa in countries that require U.S. citizen business travelers to have a visa.
Will CBP mail APEC Business Travel Cards to foreign addresses?
I have applied for Global Entry (or another Trusted Traveler Program), but I have not had yet had my interview. Can I apply for the APEC Business Travel Card now?
No, you must wait until after your Global Entry interview to apply for the APEC Business Travel Card.
Can I use the APEC card for personal travel?
No, you must be either a verified business person, or a U.S. government official, who is actively engaged in APEC business. A “verified business person” engaged in APEC business means a person engaged in the trade of goods, the provision of services or the conduct of investment activities in the APEC region. Professional athletes, news correspondents, entertainers, musicians, artists or persons engaged in similar occupations are not considered to be verified business travelers engaged in business in the APEC region when they are traveling in such a capacity.
Non-U.S. Citizen APEC Business Travel Card holders applying for U.S. Visa
APEC Business Travel Card Holders and their immediate family members (spouse and children under 21) do not need an appointment and may come in any weekday morning between 7:30 am – 10:00 am (except Thai and American holidays, and the last Friday of the month).
No email request or prior appointment is necessary. However, all other requirements for visa applications must be met, and applicants must bring both the visa application fee receipt and the DS-160 application confirmation page to take advantage of this special channel for APEC cardholders.