31 Aug 2015
The Immigration Department announced today (August 31) that successful applicants for an APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) whose applications are submitted on or after September 1, 2015 will be granted an ABTC valid for five years.
The Immigration Department spokesman said, "The APEC Business Mobility Group has announced the implementation of the extension of validity of the ABTC from three to five years, effective from September 1, 2015. The extension of validity of the ABTC brings greater travelling convenience to business travellers among the APEC economies, thus further promoting business within the region."
At present, there are 19 economies participating in the scheme, namely Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and Vietnam. The USA and Canada have joined as transitional members but do not offer visa pre-clearance referred by other participating economies under the ABTC Scheme.
In Hong Kong, residents holding a Hong Kong permanent identity card and a valid national passport may apply for an ABTC. Applicants must be bona fide business people, have no criminal record and must never have been refused entry to any of the participating economies. Applicants should also have a need to travel frequently on a short term basis to the APEC economies to fulfill business commitments.
The ABTC is the size of a credit card. It is valid for multiple visits for a stay of two to three months to participating economies without the need for a visa if pre-clearance has been granted. ABTC holders may also use the special service lanes at selected control points of participating economies for speedy immigration clearance.