Applying for the APEC Business Travel Card in Malaysia

APEC Business Travel Card Application Letters

Getting an APEC Business Travel Card is quite a tough process if you don’t know how to go about doing it. The government websites are not particularly helpful, and you can totally forget about them answering the phone or replying emails.

If you’re not sure what an APEC Business Travel Card is used for, here’s a previous article with 5 reasons you should get one.

Requirements for Malaysians wanting to apply for an APEC Business Travel Card

  • Hold a Malaysian passport with more than 3 years validity
  • Be part of the senior management of a company (Sdn Bhd or Bhd) – CxO level, Directors, General Manager, Heads of Departments, Presidents / VPs
  • Applicant cannot have a criminal record or be blacklisted by the Malaysian Immigration Department

The application process

PART ONE: Supporting letter from a business regulatory agency

Before you even begin the formal application, you will need to get a supporting letter from a relevant agency. Requirements differ from agency to agency and you may need to pay some fees to get this letter.

The agencies are:

  • Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA, MITI)
  • Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) for MSC Status Companies
  • 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)

Option 1: Getting a support letter from MDeC

As my company, Integricity Technology Sdn Bhd is an MSC Status company, we were able to connect with our Account Manager and get the letter by providing the following documents / information.

  • Latest CV
  • Scanned name card
  • List of countries you plan to visit using the APEC Card (and frequency) – it must show that it’s quite frequent to qualify.
  • IC Number & Passport Number

Fees: None

Option 2: Getting a support letter from a business regulatory agency (eg, MIDA/MITI)

MDeC only agreed to provide us with one supporting letter for the APEC Card, so we had to resort to getting the support letter from a different agency. Documents you need are:

  • Cover letter to MIDA/MITI (Download sample letter)
  • Copy of IC (certified true copy by Company Secretary or Commissioner of Oaths)
  • Copy of Passport (certified true copy by Company Secretary or Commissioner of Oaths) – ensure there is a minimum of 3 years validity!
  • Copy of Form 9, 24, 49, 13 (if relevant due to change of company name)
  • Company Profile (brochure, catalogue, annual report)

The GOOD NEWS is that you can send them an email with all these documents and they will process it! WOW. You need to email abtc@miti.gov.my.

When MIDA/MITI approves it, you can get them to send it by courier (at no cost) or if you’re in a rush (but why?), collect it yourself or arrange for someone to collect it with an authorisation letter. The silly thing is the small timeframe to collect the letter, which is only on Wednesday from 10.00 to 11.00 am!

Collection is from:

Bahagian Hubungan Serantau Dan Antarabangsa
Kementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri
Aras 13, Menara MITI,
No 7, Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah,
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Fees: None

 

PART TWO: Submission of application with the Immigration Department at Putrajaya

You will need to submit this application in person at Putrajaya. You can send a representative to perform this task.

  • APEC Business Travel Card Application Form (Download here)
  • Cover letter to Immigration (Download sample)
  • 1 passport size photo (blue background)
  • Supporting letter from agency (as per Part One)
  • Photocopy of passport (including the signature page)
  • Photocopy of IC

After the successful submission, you will be given a pink slip with an application number. Keep this safe!

 

PART THREE: Collection of APEC Business Travel Card

 

Check periodically to see if your card has been approved. You may do so at www.businessmobility.org and keying in the application number provided. After you have been cleared for at least 18 countries, then only can you request that the APEC card be issued.

Note: The waiting process will take months!

Check the approval status for your APEC Business Travel Card

The collection must be done at Putrajaya. You may send a representative, though you will once again need to submit a letter of authorisation (Download sample) and bring along the pink slip that you were given previously. Bring along cash of RM100 to pay at the cashier (bank drafts used to be required, but not anymore. Phew!)

The collection of the card is from here:

Visa, Pass and Permit Division
No. 15, Level 3 (Podium), Persiaran Perdana Precinct 2
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62550 Putrajaya

 

After all that hassle, here’s what my card looks like.

My APEC Business Travel Card

 

PART FOUR: Leave TheBackpackr a comment!

This is the most important part! If this helped you, please leave a comment, so that others will know if it works, or whether the process has changed.

114 Comments

  1. Melvin - May 20, 2016

    Hi,

    Your post has been very helpful. Just wondering how long does it take MITI to respond to the email?

  2. Ms Yoong - May 20, 2016

    Hello,
    I have a question, can i submit to the Immigration Department at Putrajaya by post courier?
    Thanks.

  3. TW - June 8, 2016

    Very details. Thanks for sharing the info.

    Just 1 note: support letter from MITI will take you more than 1 month to be ready although MITI website said 3 working days.

  4. Anne - July 27, 2016

    Hi. Thank you for your post – very informative!
    The requirement as stated above:
    1. APEC Business Travel Card Application Form (Download here)
    2. Cover letter to Immigration (Download sample)
    3. 1 passport size photo (blue background)
    4. Supporting letter from agency (as per Part One)
    5. Photocopy of passport (including the signature page)
    6. Photocopy of IC
    Question: The APEC Application Form already required 1 passport size photo to be pasted on it. Does it require additional 1 more passport size photos (item 3), which adds up a total of 2 pcs of passport size photographs required? Appreciate your input. Thanks.

  5. Kent - July 27, 2016

    Hi, many thanks for your info.

    I would like to ask, from the letter template, the person who write the letter is the one who certify himself as the managing director of the company.
    It is accepted by the agency like MITI? Or we actually need anoother director/manager to certify?

    Many thanks.

  6. Angie - August 4, 2016

    Hi, do you know how about the renewal of this APEC Card ? My info is need to renew 6 mths before our card expire.
    1. But im not sure the renewal procedure is same first time application ?
    2. Need Support Letter ?
    3. Also need to wait so many months for approval or renewal steps is easier ?

    Hope you can share your info with me ! Because i had call to APEC department many many times , but no one answer the phone ! Thanks.

  7. Maggie - August 15, 2016

    Hi Alexander,

    Thank you for the useful info.

    I would like to send in the application via courier. IMI website indicates that we need to bind the application form together with other documents. Do I bind it with plastic ring to make it like a booklet or I could just staple the documents?

    Thanks.

  8. VT - August 16, 2016

    Dear Alex,

    Thanks for your details information! I managed to apply for my boss and got the application number. Now has to wait for 2-6months for approval to get the card :) My friend told me he get agent to apply and they charged for RM3k.

    • TheBackpackr - November 14, 2016

      Wow, 3k is quite nuts. Yes, it takes forever – we check the businessmobility website every few weeks to check on the status.

      • Mk - November 14, 2016

        Hi Alex,
        I just got my application number last week and it seems not yet updated in the system. May I know how long it will takes to update into the system and to see the first approval

    • ng228 - March 23, 2017

      My friend knew some contacts that can help apply apec cards for those who reside or work in oversea. Applicant do not need to travel to putrajaya or jalan duta miti.
      They can get supporting letters pretty fast as well and Apec card will deliver to any address of your choice.

  9. Ms Ng - August 17, 2016

    Hi there,

    I have a question. If I have already gotten a supporting document from one of the agency (e.g Matrade), do still need to get a supporting letter from MITI as well? or is one sufficient?

  10. Thian - August 24, 2016

    Thank you Alex for your information… Is clear and easy understanding…

  11. Shin - August 24, 2016

    Hi,

    Would like to ask, how do we know if we are successful in getting the supporting letter from MITI? They will call to inform us or we need to call to follow up ourselves?

    Thanks a lot.

  12. Pui - September 20, 2016

    hi, thanks for the good brief of APEC business travel card.
    May i know if we choose option 1, getting a support letter from MDeC with submitting options 2’s documents. is it possible? if yes, mind to share the email address to request the supporting letter / doc.

    Thanks a lot.

  13. Michelle - September 22, 2016

    Hi Kent,

    How does a Malaysian apply for an APEC if they are based overseas ? I am currently living in Singapore and travels frequently both in Asia and in the US. the process of applying a card in Msia is simply daunting. My company has applied for both Singapore and American but no experience in applying for a Malaysian. The process for both the Sporean and American are a breeze as compared to ours.

    • TheBackpackr - November 14, 2016

      Hi Michelle,

      I’m Alex. :)

      I think you will still have to go through Putrajaya, unfortunately. See if someone can send in documents on your behalf. Make sure you have the authorisation letters as you’ll need them for everything.

      • Peace@Chin - April 25, 2017

        Hi there,

        I am also having a similar situation as Michelle whereby I work in Singapore and travels frequently to overseas. I can get the supporting letter from my working company but getting a letter from Malaysia’s regulatory agency is an issue to me. My working company does not have any business unit in Malaysia. Do you have any idea how this can work out?

        Thanks a lot.

      • Alfred - August 15, 2017

        Hi Alex,

        I am a Malaysian based in Singapore similar to Michelle. Does MTI still provide support letter when the company I am working is an MNC based in Singapore?

        Thanks
        Alfred

  14. Er Joo Ling - October 13, 2016

    Hi,

    17 out of total 18 countries have been approved, just left China since my application on end Feb.16. What should I do now beside just waiting, who can I seek for help?

  15. Hanim - October 13, 2016

    Hi,

    If i want to getting a supporting letter from MDeC , where i should email to ?

  16. Julie - October 24, 2016

    Hi,
    How long do you take to submit the application on the day of submission e,g, 1hr, 2hr or 3hr? As i reside in Singapore and I need to return to Singapore. Do u have the english version of the letter to MITI?

  17. Julie - October 25, 2016

    Can anybody apply on behalf?

  18. Angel - November 10, 2016

    Dear Alexander, Thank you very much for your detailed information. I am trying to help my colleague who is a malaysian to apply the APEC card. How could i know which agency i could get the supporting letter from? Thank you.

  19. SM - November 13, 2016

    Thanks so much, your post and the readers comments have guided me well in my process to date. I am based in Singapore and have decided to make a trip to KL to submit my application to Immigration in person, and take advantage of the trip to attend to other matters.

    Question: what are the operation hours of the APECBTC section of Immigration, and how long is the wait/queue?

    I just received my support letter from Miti, and in contrast to your letter to the Immigration officer Puan Kasthuri, the letter from Miti to Immigration simply addresses the officer as Tuan. Just fyi to all.

  20. Ms Yoong - November 14, 2016

    Hi, thanks your info.

    I would like to ask, the fee (Rm 100) need prepare bank draft or cash as well?

    Thanks.

  21. Agnes - November 17, 2016

    hi Alex,
    Do you know what is the procedure to renew the APEC card, please?
    rdgs/agnes

  22. MAY HOW - November 21, 2016

    Hello, Can I Know the covering letter for apply APEC card is sign by the APPLICANT
    or other director, I saw the sample is sign by him self. But last time i apply is sign
    by different director, !

  23. Ivy - November 23, 2016

    Hi, i done my application through postal, will get the application number through email and once the card have been approve, will prepare bank draft to immigration-rm100. Izit they will automatically send the APEC card to stated address? Does anyone know about this?

    • TheBackpackr - December 11, 2016

      No, you will have to collect it at Putrajaya or send a representative.

      Please do not prepare a bank draft until the approval is complete. It may take 6 months, by which time the bank draft will be stale – it happened to us twice.

  24. Tai - November 24, 2016

    Hi, thank you for your information

    I had successful submit my application at Putrajaya.

    How long it take for the approval?

  25. Peggy - November 24, 2016

    Hi Alex, thanks for sharing the steps. Very helpful indeed.

    The first step is to get supporting letter from a business regulatory agency before we approach MIDI?

  26. Brandon - December 11, 2016

    Good resource, thanks for putting in the effort to provide clear information.

    At this point of time, my passport is valid for another 2.5 years, do you think its worth the effort to renew it to extra 5 years first before applying for the APEC card?

    So as a summary, how long does it take from the beginning of the application process to getting approval from Putrajaya?

    And in your personal opinion, is it worth the effort and RM100?

    • TheBackpackr - December 11, 2016

      Hi Brandon,

      It will take you half a year to get the card, I reckon. These days, the queue for new passports in Malaysia is bad, so I would advise against it.

      I got runners to go and do everything for me, so I didn’t have to go over to Putrajaya at all. All the best…

  27. Reena Chor - December 21, 2016

    Hi Alex,

    I need to submit this application on behalf of my boss, do I need to bring along an authorise letter?
    Thank you.

    • TheBackpackr - January 19, 2017

      Yes, everything seems to need an authorisation letter with the company’s letterhead. You don’t want to go all the way there and find out you cannot proceed because you don’t have a letter.

  28. Adward - January 5, 2017

    Hi Alex,
    Very interesting information and helpful too.

    I am not a director but a finance manager in joint venture company. And don’t do trade directly, but look after accounts.. :)

    How does one get qualified?

  29. wei han - January 13, 2017

    well content, clear process what to do.

    Backpackr, do you think the supporting letter from Singapore Regulatory Agency for Malaysian who working in Singapore registered company is recognizable?

    Regards,
    Wei Han

  30. Kuan - January 18, 2017

    HI Alex, thanks for the info, very details.
    btw, I would like to know, .

    “Before you even begin the formal application, you will need to get a supporting letter from a relevant agency. Requirements differ from agency to agency and you may need to pay some fees to get this letter.
    The agencies are:
    Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA)
    Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) for MSC Status Companies
    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)”

    to request the letter, is it my company have to have relationship with them? Or I can just simply ask a supporting letter

  31. Peggy - January 19, 2017

    Hi, do you’ve letter sample copy to business regulatory agency? thanks

  32. liew - January 26, 2017

    any agency can help us to apply this apec card ?

  33. MIA - January 30, 2017

    The Malaysian Investors’ Association membership letter is accepted as a support letter for ABTC application

    Please visit http://www.ia.org.my for more information

  34. Vinnie - February 15, 2017

    If I already got my interim card and now I will to request for full pre cleared card. Do I need to bring along the interim card when i go to request for full pre cleared card. Call apec department for 2days and no one answer guess they are still sleeping :p

    • TheBackpackr - February 15, 2017

      I would advise you to bring whatever you have from your birth cert to your SPM results (ok, I’m kidding), but you know how they are. They don’t give you clear instructions and their office is so far away, you don’t want to be caught off guard. All I know about the interim ABTC card is:

      Pending issuance of the final ABTC you have the option of applying for an interim card to be issued to you if you require entry to an economy urgently and cannot wait for other participating APEC economies to vet your application.

      However at least 10 economies must have granted you pre-clearance before an interim card can be issued. A fee of RM100 will be charged by Immigration for the
      interim card.

      If you would like to receive an interim card, please contact the APEC unit at the Immigration Department, abtc@imi.gov.my.

      Note: If you are issued an interim card, the 3 years validity period of your final card will begin from the date your interim card was issued. The final card will have the pre-clearance of all 19 countries. A fee of RM100 will be charged for the final card.

  35. YP Tye - February 20, 2017

    Very informative sharing on APEC that you have shared much appreciated.
    I am checking to apply for both our Managing and Marketing Directors.

    Btw, it is true that once we successfully apply the card, no more VISA needed to enter the countries stated in ? Especially China ?

    Coz it seem that for Malaysian we do not need to apply visa for many of the stated countries already except China and the South America countries ( which our company has no business links there so not so important)

    I read some where else, it takes 2 years for China to make clearance?
    Your experience in total how long the process took you?

    • TheBackpackr - February 21, 2017

      Apparently, you don’t need it. I have not tried going to China without a visa – maybe someone else can share their experience? No, China does not take 2 years for clearance – within 5-6 months, it does clear.

      For Australia, you don’t need a visa if the check-in counter can verify your name as per your passport against the APEC card. Unfortunately, on my previous trip, I had to buy it as they couldn’t match my name in the passport with the APEC card based on first name / last name. When I got to Australia, I asked and was told that my first name was registered by Putrajaya as First Name = “FULL NAME” and Last Name = “LAST NAME”.

  36. Ginny Wong - February 21, 2017

    My APEC Card is expiring this May 2017, but my passport is expiring in Dec 2018 (21 months’ validity). What can I do in the interim?

  37. KB - February 21, 2017

    I would like to say a big thank you to Alex for his detailed information and explanation on how to go about applying for an APEC card. Very much appreciated

    To share my personal experience on application process –

    1. I got my support letter from MATRADE as my company has an account there. The letter took about 1 week to come out. ( I had to follow up with the office in charge);

    2. I didn’t use a runner and instead went to Putrajaya to submit my application. I went in the afternoon after lunch. The submission of the document was shorter than my drive there. I was in and out within 10 mins. There is a dedicated APEC counter for form submission. Took a number, was called within a minute or so, handed over my completed documents and was given a pink slip;

    3. The whole process from document submission to card collection took approx 5 months;

    4. I took an interim card as PNG seemed to be taking their time to approve whilst the rest of the countries had approved;

    5. Drove to Putrajaya in the morning to collect the card. Didn’t not take long for me to submit my pink slip (same counter as submission) before i was asked to go pay the RM100 fee. Paid this using cash;

    6. Thereafter, it took them slightly under an hour for them to issue the card;

    7. All in all, not too painful experience;

    8. FYI, The expiry of the card coincides with the expiry date of the passport.

    • TheBackpackr - February 21, 2017

      Hi KB, thank you for sharing and validating what I’ve shared too. You rock!

    • shapes - March 7, 2017

      You mentioned that expiry date of the card coincides with expiry date of the passport. Does that mean your passport validity is less than 3 years since Malaysia only provide 3 years while other countries provide up to 5 years for the card?

      My card is expiring in 3 months time but my passport is expiring in 2.5 years time but I read from imi website that we need to have at least 3 years passport validity to apply.

      • TheBackpackr - March 7, 2017

        You will need to get a new passport (and yes, you will lose 2 years in validity by doing that). Write a letter to the immigration before you go and tell them you are renewing early because you’re applying for an APEC card.

        • shapes - March 8, 2017

          If that’s the case, how could KB here get a card that coincides with expiry of his passport?

          ‘8. FYI, The expiry of the card coincides with the expiry date of the passport.’

          • KB - March 8, 2017

            the expiry of my passport is in 09/20… that makes it slightly over 3.5 years from today.

            however, in all likelihood, i would only get 3 years since i would need to renew my passport 6 month before expiry.

            not sure why they timed the card to coincide with my passport expiry.

  38. Daniel Chuah - March 6, 2017

    Hi Alex,

    I would like to ask only directors/senior management of a company are eligible for this card?
    Any other way for averages joe’s to apply this card?

  39. Wendy Tan - April 18, 2017

    Thanks advance for Thebackpackr info, it is very clear about it.

    May I ask if my boss open company at SG, he don’t want go back Malaysia to do application and send on behalf person too. Can we use email and courier services for the whole process?

  40. wong - April 28, 2017

    hi sir,

    I would like to know do I qualify for apply for the apec card? I m workin at china holding workin permit actually. so what document I need to prepare?

  41. Naziah Ahmad - June 13, 2017

    Hi,

    My application is approved when I check online and state that I can collect the interim card. Do you have any idea what is interim card as I want the physical card itself. Any idea what is the next step as I am really clueless with no information on the internet. Emailed them and no reply :(

  42. Irene Chin - June 19, 2017

    Hi Alex. Thank you for all the useful information. Would like to check with you if our Singaporean directors who are also PR of Malaysia can apply the APEC card through our Malaysian company? Do they have to be professionals i.e. doctors / accountant etc? If their travel to Malaysia for business is not so frequent, will it affect the approval of their application? Thank you for your time.

    • TheBackpackr - October 22, 2017

      You will have to apply based on your nationality because the passport originates there. As such, you’ll have to find out about the Singaporean regulations and what can be approved. Sorry,I can’t help you there.

      No, they don’t need to be professionals.

      They probably do need to travel fairly frequently in order to get the supporting letter.

  43. Chloe Tang - August 4, 2017

    Hi Alex,

    My boss tasked me with the application, I visited several websites but was confused by the processes until I found yours. I started the application in April and he got his card today!

    Your post has been most helpful and you deserve the credits.

    Thank you!!

  44. Genesoul - August 15, 2017

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for the info.
    Would however like to know if a position of Senior Manager (Internal Audit) is eligible to apply for this card.

    Thanks.

  45. Samantha Hoe - October 21, 2017

    Hi thank you for sharing this information, but I have few questions for my submission.
    1) If we are not the business man but we are worker and always need to traveling, what kind of letter should I need to provide?
    2) We are not stay in Malaysia right now, so is it possible to apply through Malaysia Consulate office in Hong Kong?

    • TheBackpackr - October 22, 2017

      Hi Samantha, as long as your management can provide a strong letter showing you are one of the senior members of staff like a CxO or Senior Manager, it should be fine.

      As for applying through the consulate, I don’t think it is possible. You can use runners in Malaysia to get it done – in fact, I’ve never been to Putrajaya for this process at all.

  46. doreen see - October 25, 2017

    Hi Dear All,
    how can get the approve number.
    i already send document by email.

    thanks
    doreen

  47. Brandon - December 11, 2017

    Hi there, very informative post and is my go to page for resources.. i got my approval for 11 countries already in a month based on the website, am wondering if it’s worthwhile getting a temporary card or wait till its fully approved? Any thoughts?

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