5 Reasons to get an APEC Business Travel Card

I’ve just gotten an APEC Business Travel Card to facilitate my business travels.

Shortcut to: Find out how to apply for an APEC Business Travel Card

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

For now, head on to these two sites to find out more – Malaysia Immigration & MITI.

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)


  1. Lee - March 20, 2016


    Can you share a little bit more on the process on obtaining an APEC Business Travel Card for Malaysians.


  2. APEC Business Travel Card Application Instructions for Malaysia | TheBackpackr.com - March 22, 2016

    […] 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. […]

  3. Yap Jing Siang (Danny) - October 27, 2016

    Hi Alex,

    I would like to apply APEC card for my frequence travelling to China monthly..Pls advice and help for application…I am director of company in Malaysia in Johor..thanks

  4. Dennis - July 17, 2017

    Hi Alex,

    What if I don’t own any company in Malaysia but in HK? Thanks in advance.

  5. Irene Wong - November 27, 2017

    Do you mean to say that if I have this APEC business travel card, I do not need to apply for a visa when I visit China?

  6. Ken Taylor - January 10, 2018

    Hi Alex,
    Can you advise how long does it take to get a support letter form MITI?

  7. Goh - September 20, 2018

    Hi Alex, my company is under msc status , i rent a office lot from PFCC puchong (MSC). And u keep mention prefer to Client Manager or account manager, i really dont understand about this part, who i need to refer ? or i just send the document to https://www.mdec.my/ for the part 1. if i success get mdec supporting document, do i still need to get other agency (MITI) supporting documents ? pls advise , many thks .

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