Over the past five years AmCham Singapore has pushed the U.S. government to allow American citizens access to the APEC Business Travel Card. The card gives frequent business travelers pre-cleared, facilitated short-term entry to participating APEC member economies, saving them valuable time at airports around Asia-Pacific. For several years, the card has been available to citizens of every APEC economy except the United States and Canada. The U.S. government started issuing APEC Business Travel Cards to qualified U.S. travelers on June 12, 2014. We are pleased to announce that with strong support from AmCham Singapore, the U.S. Senate on September 27, 2017 approved bipartisan legislation (S.504) co-sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Steve Daines (R-MT) reauthorizing the legislation to allow American citizens access to the card for many more years to come! The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives where action is expected to be taken soon. Many thanks to all of our AmCham members who advocated with us on this important piece of legislation!
On November 16, 2016 AmCham Singapore strongly endorsed U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono’s letter to President Obama, co-signed by Senators Cory Gardner, Amy Klobuchar and Gary C. Peters, requesting that the United States extend the validity of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) from three to five years on the occasion of the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting to be held in Lima, Peru from November 19-20, 2016.
The ABTC has greatly improved procedures so that hundreds of members of AmCham Singapore can travel efficiently throughout the region to conduct trade and investment activities that are important to creating jobs in the United States.
“Clearing immigration at airports across the region involves a lot of time and even greater uncertainty about how long it will take on any given trip. The APEC Business Travel Card has removed this uncertainty, allowing business travelers to plan their time more efficiently and, ultimately, be more productive,” said Steven R. Okun, AmCham Governor. “The card is a game changer that allows U.S. citizens to compete more evenly with their foreign counterparts. A five-year validity will increase the card’s impact.”
Read the letter here.
On November 4, 2011 the U.S. Congress passed the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Travel Cards (ABTC) Act of 2011 and President Obama signed it into law shortly thereafter. AmCham Singapore applauded its passage and urged the government to begin issuing APEC Business Travel Cards to U.S. citizens as soon as possible. Since then, on our own, through APCAC, and with the support of U.S. Embassy Singapore, we have pressed the issue with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of State, and the White House. On June 12, 2014, U.S. citizens became eligible to apply for the ABTC.
How Can I Get an APEC Business Travel Card?
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- You must login to the GOES system (https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes/index.jsp).
- You must self-certify in the system that:
- You are an existing member in good standing of a CBP trusted traveler program (such as Global Entry) or that you have submitted an application to a CBP trusted travel program (this may be done concurrently);
- You are a bona fide U.S. business person engaged in business in the APEC region; and
- You are not a professional athlete, entertainer, musician, artist or person engaged in a similar occupation.
- You must pay the $70 application fee.
- You must provide an electronic signature at any enrollment center.
After that, the card will be mailed to any U.S. or international address.
Option #1: When your APEC card has not expired – Apply for a brand new APEC card
You are eligible to renew your APEC card when you are within 364 days of your expiry date. However, you cannot see the option to “Renew your APEC card” in GOES, as there is no option to “renew” as members with an expiring APEC can only apply for a brand new card just as they did when they applied for their first card. When you log in to your GOES account, click on “Manage Membership” and then under U.S. Programs, click on “Apply for APEC Business Travel Card”.
Option #2: When your APEC card has expired – Apply to renew your APEC card
When your APEC card has expired, you can now see an option to renew your APEC card. When you log in to your GOES account, click on “Manage Membership” and then under U.S. Programs, click on “Renew APEC Business Travel Card” in GOES.
An interview for the APEC card renewal may not be necessary. Once you submit your renewal application and fee, and your application is processed, check your GOES account periodically for updates on what actions are necessary to complete the renewal process.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How can I obtain the APEC Business Travel Card?
- If you are an existing member of a Trusted Traveler Program, in order to apply for an APEC Business Travel Card, you must login to the GOES system and follow the steps to apply for the card. You will pay a non-refundable fee of US$70. At this point, you will need to provide an electronic signature at an enrollment center or at a signature collection event.
- After you provide your signature at a Global Entry enrollment center, CBP will mail your card to the mailing address that you provided in your GOES account.
- Will CBP mail APEC Business Travel Cards to foreign addresses?
- 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.
We wish to thank all of our members who have written to and spoken with their representatives to help transform the APEC Business Travel Card legislation into a reality for U.S. citizens. In addition, the U.S. Embassy in Singapore has been a tremendous partner in terms of its flexibility in implementing Global Entry and the APEC Business Travel Card here and in encouraging lawmakers and government officials in Washington to get the cards in the hands of travelers.