I’ve just gotten an APEC Business Travel Card to facilitate my business travels.
If you’re from one of these countries, go and get one – it’ll save you time and money. The participating countries as of 2016 are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia; Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Note the long queue on the right and the fast-track lane on the left for APEC Travel Card holders. I took this photo at Changi Airport, Singapore, in December 2015.
REASON #1: Fast-track lanes at the immigration
Long queues typically plague many airports and after a flight, you just want to get in and out quickly. The special entry and exit APEC lanes are available at major airports in the countries mentioned above.
REASON #2: Visa-free travel
Obtaining visas are a hassle. You may need to visit the embassy, turn in your passport, pay money and wait – none of which are enticing to me in the least. With the APEC Business Travel Card, you are allowed multiple entries into these countries without having to do any of those painful tasks.
REASON #3: Longer length of stay
The participating countries provide a minimum period of stay of 59 days, with some going up to 90 days! It may save you lots of time and money from doing visa runs to the border and back again.
REASON #4: It’s cheap!
Really, it doesn’t cost you much. For Malaysians, the cost of obtaining the card is a mere RM100 for 5 years! (It used to be 3 years, but as of late 2015, cards are issued for 5 years). The cost and time savings from obtaining just one visa already pays for this card!
REASON #5: Lower security risk
As an APEC card holder, you will be designated with a lower security risk, as you have been pre-cleared by all these countries for travel. Keep your card visible when going through security checkpoints, immigration & customs and hopefully, you won’t be subjected to too much groping and scanning!
SO… go get one today!
I will write up about the process on obtaining an APEC Business Travel Card for Malaysians as the process is not very clear, and as always, the government isn’t particularly helpful if you call or email them for instructions. Sigh.
Update: Find out how to apply for an APEC Business Travel Card on TheBackpackr
In a nutshell, you need a supporting letter from a regulatory agency before you apply for the card itself. These agencies are:
MDEC (I got a letter through my Client Manager, since we are an MSC Status company)
Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM)
Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI)
Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE)
SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp.)
Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia (DPMM)
The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM)
Malaysian Service Providers Confederation (MSPC)
Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI)
MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry)