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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 Jul 9, 18, 5:53 am
  #1501  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
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Originally Posted by tide View Post
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.
I went through DMK last week. Not only was my ABTC accepted without question, they stamped me in for 90-days.

No, I do not have another visa. My Non-Imm B expired months ago.
Always Flyin is offline  
Old Jul 14, 18, 5:18 pm
  #1502  
 
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Originally Posted by Always Flyin View Post
I went through DMK last week. Not only was my ABTC accepted without question, they stamped me in for 90-days.

No, I do not have another visa. My Non-Imm B expired months ago.
Is yours US issued? Because you qualify for neither visa on arrival nor visa exemption for a 90 day business visit unless your ABTC is issued with pre-clearance.
kyanar is offline  
Old Jul 15, 18, 6:07 am
  #1503  
 
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Originally Posted by kyanar View Post
Is yours US issued? Because you qualify for neither visa on arrival nor visa exemption for a 90 day business visit unless your ABTC is issued with pre-clearance.
There may be some agent (in)discretion here. While the participating member country isn't required to grant access to the transitional members' citizens without a traditional visa, there is nothing in the ABTC agreement that prevents them from doing so (local law may be another matter...). Personally, I wouldn't count on it happening, but I certainly wouldn't complain if it did!
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Old Jul 15, 18, 11:13 am
  #1504  
 
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Originally Posted by WoodyWindy View Post
There may be some agent (in)discretion here. While the participating member country isn't required to grant access to the transitional members' citizens without a traditional visa, there is nothing in the ABTC agreement that prevents them from doing so (local law may be another matter...).
It's got nothing to do with transitional members as such, but everything to do with the endorsements on the back of the card. If a card isn't endorsed for a country, then you haven't been pre-approved for that country, so you can't use your ABTC card as a visa substitute if a visa is required.

It's not a matter of whether you're going to get into the country or not, it's a matter of whether you're going to be able to get on the plane. Without a visa, you should be denied boarding at your departure point - at least not without multiple levels of human error coming into play.

Saying there's nothing in the rules that say they can't let you in without the correct endorsement is a bit like saying there's nothing in the rules that say they can't let you in based on you showing your Starbucks card at the border. Whilst technically true, it's just not going to happen.
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Old Jul 15, 18, 4:37 pm
  #1505  
 
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Originally Posted by kyanar View Post
Is yours US issued?
Yes.

Originally Posted by kyanar View Post
Because you qualify for neither visa on arrival nor visa exemption for a 90 day business visit unless your ABTC is issued with pre-clearance.
I know, which is why I mentioned it here.

Originally Posted by WoodyWindy View Post
There may be some agent (in)discretion here. While the participating member country isn't required to grant access to the transitional members' citizens without a traditional visa, there is nothing in the ABTC agreement that prevents them from doing so (local law may be another matter...). Personally, I wouldn't count on it happening, but I certainly wouldn't complain if it did!
First time it has happened to me in any APEC country, but as to Thailand, I usually have a non-imm B anyway. It expired a few months ago and I haven't renewed it as I haven't needed it.

Originally Posted by docbert View Post
It's got nothing to do with transitional members as such, but everything to do with the endorsements on the back of the card. If a card isn't endorsed for a country, then you haven't been pre-approved for that country, so you can't use your ABTC card as a visa substitute if a visa is required.

It's not a matter of whether you're going to get into the country or not, it's a matter of whether you're going to be able to get on the plane. Without a visa, you should be denied boarding at your departure point - at least not without multiple levels of human error coming into play.

Saying there's nothing in the rules that say they can't let you in without the correct endorsement is a bit like saying there's nothing in the rules that say they can't let you in based on you showing your Starbucks card at the border. Whilst technically true, it's just not going to happen.
Thailand is a visa free country for U.S. citizens for 30-day entries for non-business purposes.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 3:59 am
  #1506  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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FWIW, I was just through DMK a few weeks back and used my ABTC card. They stamped for 30 days (presumably tourist visa - it looks like H.30? and the expiry was 30 days out).

I think it is important that we separate the two facts - for my US-issued ABTC, I used it for the ability to use the diplomatic lane, but for visa purposes, relied on the tourist visa-free exception. While I appreciate that the stated use of ABTC is for business-only. this is one of the many times that immigration seemed fine to allow use of ABTC while traveling for leisure.

They are probably within their right to turn ABTC holders away if you don't have a business visa, but I have yet to experience that myself (and I don't think I've seen a story to that effect here).
kawaii is offline  
Old Jul 16, 18, 1:22 pm
  #1507  
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
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China Visa biz or tourist ?

Anyone have Chinese entry experience? Do you need to still get a full visa from USA ?
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Old Jul 16, 18, 3:27 pm
  #1508  
 
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You still need a visa

Originally Posted by jvanyc View Post
Anyone have Chinese entry experience? Do you need to still get a full visa from USA ?
The card does not exempt you from needing a Chinese Visa. If you are going for business and not relying on a 72-hour tourist visa you will need to get a Chinese visa.
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Old Jul 16, 18, 4:11 pm
  #1509  
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Originally Posted by meducate View Post
The card does not exempt you from needing a Chinese Visa. If you are going for business and not relying on a 72-hour tourist visa you will need to get a Chinese visa.
Just one point to caution the OP - there is no 72 hour tourist visa - there is a 72 hour TRANSIT visa which has very specific requirements and is highly complex and the OP should carefully review the thread on that subject in the China travel forum. Using the APEC card to enter on a transit visa without any legitimate business purpose could be problematic, however the transit visa counter is often the same as the APEC counter, or at least the wait time is similar to be processed.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 12:19 pm
  #1510  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Just one point to caution the OP - there is no 72 hour tourist visa - there is a 72 hour TRANSIT visa which has very specific requirements and is highly complex and the OP should carefully review the thread on that subject in the China travel forum. Using the APEC card to enter on a transit visa without any legitimate business purpose could be problematic, however the transit visa counter is often the same as the APEC counter, or at least the wait time is similar to be processed.
Thanks for the correction!
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Old Jul 23, 18, 6:39 pm
  #1511  
 
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Just one point to caution the OP - there is no 72 hour tourist visa - there is a 72 hour TRANSIT visa which has very specific requirements and is highly complex and the OP should carefully review the thread on that subject in the China travel forum. Using the APEC card to enter on a transit visa without any legitimate business purpose could be problematic, however the transit visa counter is often the same as the APEC counter, or at least the wait time is similar to be processed.
Originally Posted by meducate View Post
Thanks for the correction!
And to be truly pedantic, it's Transit WithOut Visa - TWOV: China 24, 72, and 144 hour Transit Without Visa ("TWOV") rules master thread
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Old Jul 26, 18, 8:34 pm
  #1512  
 
Join Date: May 2018
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I was recently in BKK and there was a premium lane pass handed to me together with the landing card. I was wondering whether that is the same entry as the ABTC entrance?
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Old Jul 27, 18, 5:49 am
  #1513  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
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Originally Posted by HKUSFLYER View Post
I was recently in BKK and there was a premium lane pass handed to me together with the landing card. I was wondering whether that is the same entry as the ABTC entrance?
Yes, those passes use the same fast track queues as the ABTC card. You have three choices:

The dedicated fast track lane located between the two main immigration halls, or;

The fast track lanes located inside the main immigration halls. Those are located on the far right side as you walk in.
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Old Aug 10, 18, 3:49 am
  #1514  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Originally Posted by jvanyc View Post
Anyone have Chinese entry experience? Do you need to still get a full visa from USA ?
Ive used the ABTC in China probably going on a hundred times over the past several years and while they're usually a bit free and easy with the one person restriction (I've often brought a single friend or co-worker with me, although the rules specifically state it's just for the holder) as well as with the purpose of the visit (I only have a tourist visa and always check "visit" on my entry cards), they are NEVER free and easy with the visa requirement. You don't have to get the visa from the US, you can get it almost anywhere they have a consulate, but you must have one. That said, if you're a US citizen, you can get a 10 year multiple entry tourist visa for the same price that the former 1-2 year visas were.
I'm also a bit concerned with all the issues that Trump has been stirring up with China, so at some point they might decide to start hassling US travelers but so far the most serious issues have only been with "newbies" that hadn't encountered the transitional card with no visas on the back. They suddenly become confused, but a call to a supervisor sorts this out.
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Old Aug 14, 18, 5:43 am
  #1515  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Originally Posted by WoodyWindy View Post
You have pretty much summed it up for US/CA based travelers. Given that Congress just passed a long-term/permanent extension, maybe we'll get past this whole "transitional" thing, and start working on endorsements. (OK, rose-colored glasses, but a guy's gotta have a dream...)
I think the inclusion of endorsements would actually make things worse, as I could see more places/officers trying to kick you out of the queue if you don't have their countries endorsement.
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