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

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

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Old Jan 2, 19, 3:39 pm   -   Wikipost
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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 - success (with family)
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 - 11/17/18 - 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.


No Working Equipment as of Reported Date:
AMS - 06/03/14 - indicated GEEC outside of U.S. not expected to do ABTC at all
Blaine Nexus office - 6/23/14
Houston downtown city hall office - 07/2014 - no signature reader
PDX - 6/21/14
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Old Mar 22, 18, 7:37 am
  #1426  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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4/4 success in recent trip to Asia
inbound at TPE
outbound at TSA (Songshan in Taipei)
Inbound at HND
outbound at NRT

amazing. Arrived in TPE at 930 pm, immigration was a ZOO. Colleagues arrived 2 hours before me and I beat them to the waiting car service. HND much the same. APEC Lin had 0 wait at all 4 immigration checks. HND officer was confused by the back having no endorsements but his colleague quickly set him straight.

Question, as a US citizen can I use this for entry / exit Canadian airports?
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Old Mar 22, 18, 8:47 am
  #1427  
 
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Originally Posted by jpasiczn View Post
4/4 success in recent trip to Asia
inbound at TPE
outbound at TSA (Songshan in Taipei)
Inbound at HND
outbound at NRT

amazing. Arrived in TPE at 930 pm, immigration was a ZOO. Colleagues arrived 2 hours before me and I beat them to the waiting car service. HND much the same. APEC Lin had 0 wait at all 4 immigration checks. HND officer was confused by the back having no endorsements but his colleague quickly set him straight.

Question, as a US citizen can I use this for entry / exit Canadian airports?
I've the same question about Canada, both for travelling to CA and for doing an inbound flight from Asia into CA (and doing a long weekend layover in CA for funsies). Also, I've had good experiences with inbound in TPE a few times, but I've been getting direct flights from SFO to TPE so no need to pass through NRT first for me. I may be headed to PEK soon though, so we'll see.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 5:55 am
  #1428  
 
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Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Jeff View Post
I've the same question about Canada, both for travelling to CA and for doing an inbound flight from Asia into CA (and doing a long weekend layover in CA for funsies). Also, I've had good experiences with inbound in TPE a few times, but I've been getting direct flights from SFO to TPE so no need to pass through NRT first for me. I may be headed to PEK soon though, so we'll see.
You "can" use it for entry in Canada, but to do so, unless you already have a Work visa, can be counterproductive. Since it is meant only for business travel, you will draw the attention of their immigration officers, and if you don't already have said visa, be prepared for a grilling about just what business activities that don't require a visa you might be undertaking.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 11:34 am
  #1429  
 
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Originally Posted by WoodyWindy View Post
You "can" use it for entry in Canada, but to do so, unless you already have a Work visa, can be counterproductive. Since it is meant only for business travel, you will draw the attention of their immigration officers, and if you don't already have said visa, be prepared for a grilling about just what business activities that don't require a visa you might be undertaking.
Context: As a US citizen, is a work visa necessary all the time in Canada? I mean, if I fly into CA for a day of meetings, is a Visa necessary for that? (With the caveat that YMMV for other countries).

Though really my use case is more: Returning from Asia, via Canada (YVR or YYZ) with a long (18+ hour) layover, I'd want to not spend that long layover in the airport.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 12:22 pm
  #1430  
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Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Jeff View Post
Context: As a US citizen, is a work visa necessary all the time in Canada? I mean, if I fly into CA for a day of meetings, is a Visa necessary for that? (With the caveat that YMMV for other countries).

Though really my use case is more: Returning from Asia, via Canada (YVR or YYZ) with a long (18+ hour) layover, I'd want to not spend that long layover in the airport.
Not all the time. You would have to check applicable trade agreements such as NAFTA. But if you claim you are visa exempt due to NAFTA, CBSA may ask for documentary evidence associated with the work permit exemption criteria such as contract/RFP/invite from Canadian business etc.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 2:43 pm
  #1431  
 
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Woah, I think y'all are over-complicating the issue:

IRCC Help Centre answer:

If I am a business visitor, do I need a work permit to work in Canada?

You do not need a work permit to carry out business activities related to your job back home, such as meeting clients of your company or visiting job sites.

Additional IRCC Help Centre answer:

What is a business visitor?

A business visitor is someone who comes to Canada:
  • for international business activities
  • without directly entering the Canadian labour market

Examples of this include someone who comes to Canada:
  • to meet people from companies doing business with their country
  • to observe site visits
  • because a Canadian company invited them for training in:
    • product use
    • sales
    • other business transaction functions

They don’t need a work permit to come to Canada.

Business visitors must prove that their main source of income and their main place of business are outside Canada.

Immigration and Refugee Protection regulations:

Work permit

  • 8 (1) A foreign national may not enter Canada to work without first obtaining a work permit.
  • Exception

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a foreign national who is authorized under section 186 to work in Canada without a work permit. ...
DIVISION 3 Work Without a Permit

No permit required

186 A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit
  • (a) as a business visitor to Canada within the meaning of section 187;
...

Business visitors

  • 187 (1) For the purposes of paragraph 186(a), a business visitor to Canada is a foreign national who is described in subsection (2) or who seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market.
...

Factors

(3) For the purpose of subsection (1), a foreign national seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market only if
  • (a) the primary source of remuneration for the business activities is outside Canada; and
  • (b) the principal place of business and actual place of accrual of profits remain predominately outside Canada.

Originally Posted by WoodyWindy View Post
You "can" use it for entry in Canada, but to do so, unless you already have a Work visa, can be counterproductive. Since it is meant only for business travel, you will draw the attention of their immigration officers, and if you don't already have said visa, be prepared for a grilling about just what business activities that don't require a visa you might be undertaking.
Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Jeff View Post
Context: As a US citizen, is a work visa necessary all the time in Canada? I mean, if I fly into CA for a day of meetings, is a Visa necessary for that? (With the caveat that YMMV for other countries).

Though really my use case is more: Returning from Asia, via Canada (YVR or YYZ) with a long (18+ hour) layover, I'd want to not spend that long layover in the airport.
Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
Not all the time. You would have to check applicable trade agreements such as NAFTA. But if you claim you are visa exempt due to NAFTA, CBSA may ask for documentary evidence associated with the work permit exemption criteria such as contract/RFP/invite from Canadian business etc.

Last edited by Newbie2FT; Mar 23, 18 at 2:58 pm
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Old Mar 23, 18, 4:48 pm
  #1432  
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You canít claim being a business visitor and expect CBSA to take it at face value. Bring evidence such as contract/SoW/business contacts etc.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 6:09 pm
  #1433  
 
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
You can’t claim being a business visitor and expect CBSA to take it at face value. Bring evidence such as contract/SoW/business contacts etc.
Was that a response to me? If so, I'm not sure what you're getting at.

The fact that business visitors should bring along documentation in case it's requested by a CBSA officer doesn't really change the government guidance or regulations above (in fact, it was even included in the guidance). It also doesn't mean that every person who wants to enter a Canadian airport or immigration booth through the APEC lane needs to "check applicable trade agreements ... or claim you are visa exempt due to NAFTA", or will automatically be subjected to a rubber-gloves-level examination of "documentary evidence ... such as contract/RFP/invite."

Hence, why I said the advice was over-complicating the issue.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 8:45 pm
  #1434  
 
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Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Jeff View Post
Context: As a US citizen, is a work visa necessary all the time in Canada? I mean, if I fly into CA for a day of meetings, is a Visa necessary for that? (With the caveat that YMMV for other countries).
A "work" visa may be required if you are going to "work".

A business visa is NOT required if you are going for "business", for stays of up to 180 days.

"Business" and "work" are very distinct terms when related to immigration. In a very (very!) simplistic sense, if you are not being paid locally, then you are in the country for "business".
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Old Mar 23, 18, 10:26 pm
  #1435  
 
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
A "work" visa may be required if you are going to "work".

A business visa is NOT required if you are going for "business", for stays of up to 180 days.

"Business" and "work" are very distinct terms when related to immigration. In a very (very!) simplistic sense, if you are not being paid locally, then you are in the country for "business".
Just to clarify for other readers, under Canadian regulations, 'business' is 'work' -- however, business activities are a subset of work that is exempted from the requirement to obtain a work permit.

You can see the wording of the regs in the post above:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/29559486-post1431.html
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Old Mar 23, 18, 10:44 pm
  #1436  
 
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
You canít claim being a business visitor and expect CBSA to take it at face value. Bring evidence such as contract/SoW/business contacts etc.
Actually, I'm not certain that's great advice. Business visitors are just that -- visitors. They're not supposed to close deals, sign contracts, or engage in anything that would ordinarily require an employed Canadian. From the CBSA's website, these are some activities which are routinely conducted by business visitors:
  • look for ways to grow your business,
  • invest or
  • advance your business relationships.
As a very knowledgeable immigration lawyer once told me, a business visitor must be able to conduct all activities while in the host country with his "hands in his pocket." That means no exchanging of payment, no signing of contracts, no use of tools, etc etc. It's a great rule of thumb which has helped me and my colleagues (both American and Canadian) satisfy countless border guard agents' questions over the years. The words "contractor," "consultant," and "training" are immediate red flags because they imply that the visitor is being paid for his presence during the visit.

Originally Posted by Newbie2FT View Post
Just to clarify for other readers, under Canadian regulations, 'business' is 'work' -- however, business activities are a subset of work that is exempted from the requirement to obtain a work permit.

You can see the wording of the regs in the post above:

https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/29559486-post1431.html

Careful... from the very post you linked to:

Business visitors
  • 187 (1) For the purposes of paragraph 186(a), a business visitor to Canada is a foreign national who is described in subsection (2) or who seeks to engage in international business activities in Canada without directly entering the Canadian labour market.
You're not "working" if you don't enter the labour market. As I mention above, any sort of business-related activity that doesn't eliminate a Canadian's ability to fill that employment position is eligible for entry as a business visitor. As soon as you're doing "work," you're taking a job from a Canadian and that's a no-no.
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Old Mar 23, 18, 11:06 pm
  #1437  
 
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Originally Posted by ffsim View Post
<snip>
Careful... from the very post you linked to:



You're not "working" if you don't enter the labour market. As I mention above, any sort of business-related activity that doesn't eliminate a Canadian's ability to fill that employment position is eligible for entry as a business visitor. As soon as you're doing "work," you're taking a job from a Canadian and that's a no-no.
Sure, but section 8 of the regulations specifically says that the business visitor defined in sections 186(a) and 187(1) is performing work:

Work permit
  • 8 (1) A foreign national may not enter Canada to work without first obtaining a work permit.
  • Exception

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a foreign national who is authorized under section 186 to work in Canada without a work permit. ..

It's simply a form of work that's allowed without permit, because the places of profit and headquarters are outside Canada, and because it doesn't effect the labor market.

It's mostly semantics, but it's how the Canadians choose to make their definitions.

I agree that when speaking to the typical border guard or immigration booth officer it's best to avoid the word "work" or similar terminology, as his/her knowledge of the regulations may not be deep.

And that imagery of "hands in pocket" is a useful tip to stay away from difficult situations.
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Old Mar 24, 18, 4:42 pm
  #1438  
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Originally Posted by Newbie2FT View Post
Was that a response to me? If so, I'm not sure what you're getting at.

The fact that business visitors should bring along documentation in case it's requested by a CBSA officer doesn't really change the government guidance or regulations above (in fact, it was even included in the guidance). It also doesn't mean that every person who wants to enter a Canadian airport or immigration booth through the APEC lane needs to "check applicable trade agreements ... or claim you are visa exempt due to NAFTA", or will automatically be subjected to a rubber-gloves-level examination of "documentary evidence ... such as contract/RFP/invite."

Hence, why I said the advice was over-complicating the issue.
Originally Posted by ffsim View Post
Actually, I'm not certain that's great advice. Business visitors are just that -- visitors. They're not supposed to close deals, sign contracts, or engage in anything that would ordinarily require an employed Canadian. From the CBSA's website, these are some activities which are routinely conducted by business visitors:


As a very knowledgeable immigration lawyer once told me, a business visitor must be able to conduct all activities while in the host country with his "hands in his pocket." That means no exchanging of payment, no signing of contracts, no use of tools, etc etc. It's a great rule of thumb which has helped me and my colleagues (both American and Canadian) satisfy countless border guard agents' questions over the years. The words "contractor," "consultant," and "training" are immediate red flags because they imply that the visitor is being paid for his presence during the visit.




Careful... from the very post you linked to:



You're not "working" if you don't enter the labour market. As I mention above, any sort of business-related activity that doesn't eliminate a Canadian's ability to fill that employment position is eligible for entry as a business visitor. As soon as you're doing "work," you're taking a job from a Canadian and that's a no-no.
In regards to over complicating it....I'm not the one responding with quotes to various applicable Canadian regulations/acts.

All I'm saying is bring evidence to support the reason for your business visit (whether it is contract/SoW/names of people you are meeting/ticket showing you are attending trade conferences etc). This applies whether you are visiting Canada or any other country where you are a foreigner.

It would not be a pleasant experience if you show up at immigration (wherther it is CBP/CBSA/UK Border Force/Bundespolizei etc) as a foreigner stating you are here for business and then IF they decide to ask for more details and you can't produce any evidence to backup your stated reason for visit.
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Old Mar 24, 18, 8:37 pm
  #1439  
 
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
In regards to over complicating it....I'm not the one responding with quotes to various applicable Canadian regulations/acts.

All I'm saying is bring evidence to support the reason for your business visit (whether it is contract/SoW/names of people you are meeting/ticket showing you are attending trade conferences etc). This applies whether you are visiting Canada or any other country where you are a foreigner.

It would not be a pleasant experience if you show up at immigration (wherther it is CBP/CBSA/UK Border Force/Bundespolizei etc) as a foreigner stating you are here for business and then IF they decide to ask for more details and you can't produce any evidence to backup your stated reason for visit.
Yes indeed.

It is easy for anyone to Google what is written and quote.

I believe the purpose and existence of FT is to share actual experiences.

Even with GE/Nexus as a Canadian I have always brought physical hard copies of evidence justifying my need to visit. I bring physical wedding and family reunion invitations as well. This applies when I am entering US/UK myself.
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Old Mar 25, 18, 5:24 am
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Originally Posted by tentseller View Post
Yes indeed.

It is easy for anyone to Google what is written and quote.

I believe the purpose and existence of FT is to share actual experiences.

Even with GE/Nexus as a Canadian I have always brought physical hard copies of evidence justifying my need to visit. I bring physical wedding and family reunion invitations as well. This applies when I am entering US/UK myself.
Correct, and in my case, I was certainly giving advice based on my personal experience (at the Toronto airport, specifically). I was going for a fully "hands in pocket" (as described by someone up-thread) purpose, and was indeed immediately flagged by the agents as soon as I tried to use my ABTC.
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