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

Old Jun 23, 14, 11:17 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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 5, 18, 8:22 am
  #1471  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 40
Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
HK issues ABTC for HK residents provided other criteria are met; don’t have to be CHN on passport. This is outside the scope of this topic.





I agree that this certainly has the potential to go off topic; having said that, it is still relevant for ABTC cards for US and Canadian citizens if we keep it there. The Hong Kong application requires US and Canadian citizens - and everyone else, for that matter, including Chinese citizens - to supply a Hong Kong permanent resident number for the application: https://www.immd.gov.hk/pdforms/id900.pdf This will exclude the vast majority of US and Canadian citizens.

For those who are eligible, the only advantage that a Hong Kong ABTC offers over US or Canadian cards is visa-free access to four countries: Vietnam, China, Papua New Guinea, and Russia. PNG has visas upon arrival for people from the US and Canada, and Vietnam now has an easy-to-use eVisa system, so you could make the case that we're talking only about visa-free travel to China and Russia (granted, I'm over-simplifying a bit to keep this relevant). A Hong Kong ABTC could also avoid the issue of immigration authorities who are unaware that US and Canadian ABTCs do not list countries that have pre-screened individual travelers for visa-free travel, but this problem is rapidly becoming a non-issue, as least according to reports on this site.

Now then, before we inadvertently go off track, I suggest that we take Seawolf's advice and head back to the overwhelming majority of US and Canadian ABTC holders who do not also happen to be permanent residents of Hong Kong!

Last edited by Nexpoman; Jun 5, 18 at 8:30 am
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Old Jun 5, 18, 3:51 pm
  #1472  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,373
Originally Posted by tookay View Post
Just used my ABTC at DPS, going through the diplomatic/ABTC queue off to the left of the immigration hall. Presented the immigration, he flipped it over (and saw nothing there of course) and said "just a minute". He left and went to an office, I suppose to speak with his supervisor. After about five minutes, he returned and said they did not understand why there were no countries listed on the back, but OK, he would stamp me in and I received the usual 30 day visa exempt stamp.

No queue at all at the normal positions. It would have been faster for me to just use one of those, but I wanted to see what would happen at the ABTC queue.
Were you traveling on business or for pleasure? I'm hoping to use my ABTC card on arrival but I'm going there on holiday.
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Old Jun 5, 18, 9:53 pm
  #1473  
 
Join Date: May 2018
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Originally Posted by Nexpoman View Post
I agree that this certainly has the potential to go off topic; having said that, it is still relevant for ABTC cards for US and Canadian citizens if we keep it there. The Hong Kong application requires US and Canadian citizens - and everyone else, for that matter, including Chinese citizens - to supply a Hong Kong permanent resident number for the application: https://www.immd.gov.hk/pdforms/id900.pdf This will exclude the vast majority of US and Canadian citizens.

For those who are eligible, the only advantage that a Hong Kong ABTC offers over US or Canadian cards is visa-free access to four countries: Vietnam, China, Papua New Guinea, and Russia. PNG has visas upon arrival for people from the US and Canada, and Vietnam now has an easy-to-use eVisa system, so you could make the case that we're talking only about visa-free travel to China and Russia (granted, I'm over-simplifying a bit to keep this relevant). A Hong Kong ABTC could also avoid the issue of immigration authorities who are unaware that US and Canadian ABTCs do not list countries that have pre-screened individual travelers for visa-free travel, but this problem is rapidly becoming a non-issue, as least according to reports on this site.

Now then, before we inadvertently go off track, I suggest that we take Seawolf's advice and head back to the overwhelming majority of US and Canadian ABTC holders who do not also happen to be permanent residents of Hong Kong!
Actually Australia is another one that is VISA free for U.S. citizens. Thank you for the thorough analysis though.

There is actually quite a sizable population (although pales in comparison to those who actively comes to APEC countries for trade) who can go through APEC card with PR. Anyone who has a valid work visa (other than domestic helper) who worked in HK for 7 years would qualify. That would include expats from U.S. countries with Hong Kong as their Asian Headquarters.
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Old Jun 5, 18, 10:00 pm
  #1474  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Programs: Marco Polo, BA Executive club, SPG, Hyatt,
Posts: 65
Another Question: If you use APEC card, then supposedly you are on business. Do you then have to get a business visa (for the five countries that are not visa-free)?

China Business Visa is quite difficult to get, because it requires a party in China to write a letter for you as invitation so that, more or less implied, that company is responsible for your whereabouts. It then makes it difficult for people who just want to go to China to tap individuals for startups and stuff......
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Old Jun 6, 18, 4:53 am
  #1475  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: HKG
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Originally Posted by jamienbaker View Post
Were you traveling on business or for pleasure? I'm hoping to use my ABTC card on arrival but I'm going there on holiday.
I've never had an issue with using it on holiday traveling with my family - they are usually kind enough to wave me, the wife and the kids all through the expedited line (although, interestingly enough, they wouldn't wave me and two co-workers through, even though two of us had ABTC cards).
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Old Jun 6, 18, 4:55 am
  #1476  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: HKG
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Originally Posted by HKUSFLYER View Post
Another Question: If you use APEC card, then supposedly you are on business. Do you then have to get a business visa (for the five countries that are not visa-free)?

China Business Visa is quite difficult to get, because it requires a party in China to write a letter for you as invitation so that, more or less implied, that company is responsible for your whereabouts. It then makes it difficult for people who just want to go to China to tap individuals for startups and stuff......
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.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 6:15 am
  #1477  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Originally Posted by kawaii View Post
I've never had an issue with using it on holiday traveling with my family - they are usually kind enough to wave me, the wife and the kids all through the expedited line (although, interestingly enough, they wouldn't wave me and two co-workers through, even though two of us had ABTC cards).
Thank you for this. Im arriving DPS solo, around midnight, and eager to get to the family in Sanur as quickly as possible. Less concerned about our departure as a family, midday a few weeks later. We ordinarily arrive together on the first flight from SIN so never have a problem. We stopped flying CX years ago due peak arrival time. Midnight not much better as I recall.

Best, Jamie
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Old Jun 6, 18, 6:27 am
  #1478  
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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.
Originally Posted by jamienbaker View Post


Thank you for this. Im arriving DPS solo, around midnight, and eager to get to the family in Sanur as quickly as possible. Less concerned about our departure as a family, midday a few weeks later. We ordinarily arrive together on the first flight from SIN so never have a problem. We stopped flying CX years ago due peak arrival time. Midnight not much better as I recall.

Best, Jamie
The B in ABTC stands for Business. Enforcement of business as purpose of visit up to individual immigration officer; similar to how some officer will let you thru even when back of card dont contain country endorsements while others have to make a call to a supervisor. YMMV.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 7:08 am
  #1479  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post




The B in ABTC stands for Business. Enforcement of business as purpose of visit up to individual immigration officer; similar to how some officer will let you thru even when back of card dont contain country endorsements while others have to make a call to a supervisor. YMMV.
Totally agree. Card has served me well on business, no way Id be able to swing breakfast in HKG, lunch in KUL and dinner in SIN without it. Have had luck traveling for pleasure and using card in HND and SGN. Dont see any harm in trying in DPS, but wont get my hopes up. I miss the $30 airport VIP service.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 8:49 am
  #1480  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by seawolf View Post
The B in ABTC stands for Business. Enforcement of business as purpose of visit up to individual immigration officer; similar to how some officer will let you thru even when back of card dont contain country endorsements while others have to make a call to a supervisor. YMMV.
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.
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Old Jun 6, 18, 11:14 am
  #1481  
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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.
If you read the entire thread history you will see that some officers have refused to permit family members to use the expedited line. As noted above, it depends on the location and temperament of the officer. So far I have yet to be refused in Mexico with the family in tow but YMMV...
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Old Jun 6, 18, 5:48 pm
  #1482  
 
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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.
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.
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Old Jun 7, 18, 10:42 am
  #1483  
 
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Any experiences (or know if there is even a lane) at MZT Mexico? TIA!
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Old Jun 7, 18, 1:22 pm
  #1484  
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Originally Posted by meducate View Post
Any experiences (or know if there is even a lane) at MZT Mexico? TIA!
If it is not marked then I would first try the crew/diplomat lane as that is the one used at other Mexican airports.
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Old Jun 7, 18, 4:52 pm
  #1485  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Used it at ICN upon arrival. It wasn't a business trip, so I marked it accordingly on my landing card. Had no issue using APEC line.
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