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ABTC/APEC Business Travel Card for US/Canadian Citizens: Updates, Experiences, Q&A

Old Jun 23, 14, 11:17 pm
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Last edit by: Boraxo
US/Canadian-issued ABTC can only be used to access the APEC/Crew/Diplomat lane. It does not replace/waive any visa requirements. Chinese embassy webpages mentioning visa not being required is for ABTC with CHN endorsed on the back. No US/Canadian-issued ABTC will have that endorsement.


Locations confirmed up and running:
AUS
BOS (Logan) only one of the two signature pads was working (late nov 2014)
BOS (Logan) still only 1 signature panel working, and a bit of confusion, but it all worked out (Jan 2015)
CVG (Minneola Pike)
EWR
IAD signature capture working in GE enrollment center; walk-in accepted after appointments accommodated - I was in the office for less than two minutes
IAH (outside security in E, no word on inside security GE office yet)
JFK (walk-in accepted; entrance directly across from Central Diner on arrivals level, T-4)
LAS
LAX
Long Beach, CA (downtown CBP Seaport offices, not LGB airport); posted as No Walk In, but may accommodate just the signature capture
MIA
MCO
ORD
PHX (Terminal 4, behind #6 baggage carousel)
SEA (Nexus office)
SFO (walk-in)
TUS (walk-in accepted)
Washington, DC/Reagan Bldg. walked in, only person there, signature captured, walked out, all within 5 minutes
YYZ (Nexus office)
YVR (Nexus office)

Usage Experience Updates:

BKK - 11/11/14 - success, 03/19/17 - success, 05/10/17 - success
CGK - 02/20/15 - denied (exit), 05/10/17 - success (exit), 08/20/17 - success (entry)
CRK - 10/28/16 - success, but only 30 days, not 59 days for no-endorsement US issued ABTC.
CTU - 03/18/16 - denied -(APAC lane has limited hours)
CUN - 12/30/17 & 12/27/19 - success (with family) but difficult to enter express lane due to pushback from line monitor
DMK - 9/20/17 inbound - success, had to go under lane ropes; use Official/Diplomatic, not Crew. No APEC markings.
DPS - 03/08/15 - success but with pushback (exit)
GMP - 09/18/14 - success, 03/18/15 - success (arrival)
HKG - 09/21/14 - success, 02/28/15 - success, 02/29/15 - success (exit), 3/18/17 success, 3/19/17 - success (exit)
HND - 07/30/14 - success
ICN - 09/13/14 - success, 03/24/25 - success (departure)
KUL - 03/10/16 - success
MEX - 06/28/15 - success, 7/11/17 - success
MNL - 11/27/2015 - success (T1) (business visa not necessary for U.S. citizens) 59 days (depends on agent training. Most give 59, some give only 30, (Oct 2018))
NRT - 12/1/2014 - success both inbound and outbound immigration (visa not needed); 9/25/17 - inbound success
PEK - 07/25/14 - success (T3)
POM - 11/01/15 - denied, PNG immigration has a sign saying "only endorsed ABTC cards"
PVG - 07/24/14 - success (T2)
PVR - 11/2018, 4/2021 success (with family)
SGN - 09/04/2014 - success (visa on arrival), 02/15/2017 - denied (visa on arrival)
SHA - 11/10/2014 - success
SJD - 6/2017 & 6/2018 - success (with family)
SIN - 2/3/2016 - denied, 5/3/2017 - success; 9/16/17 - success at APEC lane
TPE - 07/24/14 - success (T2), 9/30 - success (T1), 10/12 - Denied (T2), 02/24/2015 - success (T1), 5/11 & 5/13 - success (T1)
YUL - 11/2014 - success inbound (repeatedly into 2016 via dip line)
YVR - 06/2015 - success inbound
YYZ - 07/2016 - Success inbound
SCL - 04/02/2017 - Success inbound
LIM - 12/04/2017 - Success inbound

China land crossings from HK:
Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Huanggang, Shenzhen Bay - 09/29/14 reported - success

China Train crossings from HK:
Dongguan and Guangzhou - 09/29/14 reported - success
Hung Hom (Hong Kong's International Train Station) - 04/30/15 - success in both directions

China Seaports from HK/Macau:
Shekou, Zhongshan, Zhuhai and Baoan and and Macau/China ferry terminal in Hong Kong - 09/29/14 reported - success

[On all above China-HK crossings look, to use ABTC to enter/exit China, look for the "Special" counters]

For CGK: Go to line marked 3 on left side just before main immigration hall. If you get to line in main hall you've gone too far. Do not use crew line.
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ABTC/APEC Business Travel Card for US/Canadian Citizens: Updates, Experiences, Q&A

Old Jun 8, 18, 4:40 pm
  #1486  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,373
Originally Posted by gpeso8 View Post
I would be very careful using a ABTC for a leisure visit in a country where a business visa is required for business. I reported this event up-thread. Last year, I witnessed an American guy trying to use the APEC lane at CGK (he was on my flight arriving from NRT.) He was ahead of me in line and I overheard parts of his conversation with immigration.

The immigration official asked him if he was visiting the country for business purposes, the young man said "yes." Then the agent asked where his business visa was. The guy then backtracked and explained that he was heading to Bali for vacation. No clue what ended up happening to the guy inasmuch as he was escorted to a side room and had a very nasty attitude. So YMMV, especially at CGK.
I would never misrepresent anything. What worked in SGN was simply, "I'm here on holiday, I have an APEC card, may I come through here?"
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Old Jun 8, 18, 4:53 pm
  #1487  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by jamienbaker View Post
I would never misrepresent anything. What worked in SGN was simply, "I'm here on holiday, I have an APEC card, may I come through here?"
That is the best approach. The man I referenced in my post above was one of the most obnoxious tools I have ever experienced while traveling. I'm sure if he was honest from the start it would have worked out better for him.
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Old Jun 8, 18, 5:56 pm
  #1488  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London; Bangkok; Las Vegas
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Originally Posted by kawaii View Post
Sure, as always, YMMV, but anecdotally, I have yet to be refused. I would be curious if anyone has a story where they were refused entry and if so, would be curious to learn about that fact pattern.
Manila. Only allowed the card holder to use the APEC queue. Family had to go through regular immigration queue.
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Old Jun 10, 18, 4:00 pm
  #1489  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Danville, CA, USA;
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Posts: 14,636
Just used card at SJD. You show it to the girl who controls entrance to the Mexican e-gates & crew line. No problema with family in tow. Did not save any time as there was no queue for the regular line.
Boraxo is online now  
Old Jun 11, 18, 3:16 am
  #1490  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Programs: Marco Polo, BA Executive club, SPG, Hyatt,
Posts: 65
Originally Posted by kawaii View Post
This isn't an issue with the US-issed ABTC (which is the one I have) so I can't say for the HK-issued ABTC. I've never had an immigration agent give me any problems because I've indicated on the immigration form that I was arriving for holiday but still using my ABTC, so I don't think there's necessarily an explicit expectation that you must be on a business visa to use an ABTC.
Thank you for your sharing.
HKUSFLYER is offline  
Old Jun 11, 18, 10:23 am
  #1491  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Francisco/Sydney
Programs: UA 1K/MM, TK Elite, DL Gold, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Platinum, IHG Gold, Hertz PC, Avis First
Posts: 7,642
According to the APEC BTC website, FAQ #15 :

Question 15 Can I use the ABTC for non-business purposes, such as tourism?

The ABTC is not designed for tourism purposes, but some economies may facilitate entry for cardholders depending on their circumstances. Please refer to the relevant economy for individual entry arrangements for cardholders and tourist visits.
The US website takes it a bit further...

Can I use my U.S. APEC Business Travel Card for personal travel, such as vacation?
No. The APEC Business Travel Card is for members who travel frequently on short-term visits within the APEC region to fulfill business commitments. To use the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card, you must be traveling solely for business purposes to the foreign APEC economy.
Realistically for US card holders I'd agree with the comments above - tell the truth and worst case you'll get bumped back to the regular line.

For non-US card holders when visiting countries that would otherwise require a visa for personal travel it could well be a very different story...
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Old Jun 11, 18, 1:08 pm
  #1492  
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Consider the following:
  1. As indicated earlier, the B in ABTC stands for business.
  2. One of the eligibility criteria is the person have to be bona-fide business person.
  3. The intend of ABTC to remove the need for a business visa.
There should be no confusion as to who can use the card and what purpose of visit it should be/expected to be used for.

Enforcement of reason of travel or taking family along members is up to enforcement of individual immigration officer.
gpeso8 likes this.
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Old Jun 11, 18, 7:20 pm
  #1493  
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The comments and questions about personal use should not be read to create any confusion nor do they. It is simply a matter of sharing info on where ABTC card has been used successfully on leisure trips (and without deception in answering any questions). Whether you personally choose to limit card usage to business trips is entirely up to you.
WoodyWindy likes this.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 2:48 am
  #1494  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: SFO
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post

Enforcement of reason of travel or taking family along members is up to enforcement of individual immigration officer.
As an example, posted signs at ICN for both incoming / outgoing utilizing the special lane state:
You can bring your family or your colleagues.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 9:54 pm
  #1495  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: DEN / DPS
Programs: UA 1K, AS MVPG 75K, Marriott Gold, Hertz PC
Posts: 1,678
Just a datapoint: I had Global Entry, which I stacked Nexus on top of. I got conditionally approved for APEC but I was only able to select Nexus centers on the Northern border.

I walked into SFO with both my Global Entry and Nexus cards and was approved on the spot after showing my company ID.

Easy stuff.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 9:30 am
  #1496  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
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As others have mentioned here, DMK continues to be a problem for US ABTC. I've had success here in the past though.

Flew into DMK. Immigration officer (2 of them) denied me the use of line saying I needed a specific endorsement for Thailand. I had time and there was no one in line I was holding up (and regular lines were also short) so I asked for a supervisor. He came around and concurred with denial. At this point, another immigration officer came by (for a total of 4) and all concurred.

I asked the supervisor politely why this wasn't an issue at BKK and he said that (paraphrased) "BKK is BKK, this is DMK". My guess is, given the airlines that serve DMK, they do not see a lot of US ABTCs.

In the end, as a "one-time exception" they let me through. In the future, if regular lines are short, I will use the regular lines instead at DMK.
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Old Jul 5, 18, 3:13 pm
  #1497  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Apologies if this has been mentioned earlier, but what do I need to prove myself as a 'bonafide' businessperson? Websites give no details (CBP one is ok, APEC one is atrocious in that it hasn't been updated since 2007-2012). Went through the online application process and it is ridiculously easy as I already had everything populated from my NEXUS approved application. Seems I only need to go into a Global Entry/NEXUS office to give an electronic signature? Wish that had been taken at the time of my NEXUS interview so I wouldn't have to go again into the interview office--easier for them and for me.
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Old Jul 5, 18, 6:33 pm
  #1498  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Datapoint on APEC renewal. My APEC card expires December 2018. I went on-line and renewed APEC last week with "approved" appearing shortly thereafter. One week later (today), I received a new card with an expiration date of December 2023 in the mail -- interestingly, postmarked Vancouver (I'm in the northeast US).
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Old Jul 5, 18, 8:12 pm
  #1499  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Programs: Marco Polo, BA Executive club, SPG, Hyatt,
Posts: 65
Originally Posted by xobile View Post
Apologies if this has been mentioned earlier, but what do I need to prove myself as a 'bonafide' businessperson? Websites give no details (CBP one is ok, APEC one is atrocious in that it hasn't been updated since 2007-2012). Went through the online application process and it is ridiculously easy as I already had everything populated from my NEXUS approved application. Seems I only need to go into a Global Entry/NEXUS office to give an electronic signature? Wish that had been taken at the time of my NEXUS interview so I wouldn't have to go again into the interview office--easier for them and for me.
YMMV.......Renewal seems to be much easier as they have no way (or no intention) to track your travel within APEC.

My application has details on what countries I have been to, What position I am in the company (since they specifically mentioned some occupations as "No", others would likely be ok). I did it together with my GE on arrival to SFO. The process is separate and while I was asked again on my "interview" about the countries I have been to (which shows on your passport as she checked), a letter from the company is not required as supporting.
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Old Jul 6, 18, 8:40 am
  #1500  
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: CX MPC DM
Posts: 416
@xobile You don't mention which county you are applying from, but it looks like your are applying in the US. I got my APEC card last year in the US. Approval was almost immediate and I made an appointment next day for signature. At the appointment, CBP officer only asked me how often I travel to Asia for business. I don't know if he was looking at my statistics while I answered the question, but my answer was acceptable to him. The answer I gave him matched up with my travel patterns, I said "about 7 times per year"

While the APEC my approval stated that an appointment was not necessary for signature, I made one anyway since EWR had a lot of open slots. When I went for the signature, the CBP officer processing me asked if I had an appointment. I interpreted the tone and nature of his question that he would be annoyed if I didn't have an appointment. I'm not saying you should make one but it worked out for me.
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