APEC Business Travel Card - Express Immigration Clearance

Discussion in 'Visas, Immigration & Customs' started by AlwaysUpThere, Jul 15, 2005.

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How useful is the APEC Business Travel Card?

Poll closed Aug 16, 2006.
  1. Waste of time and effort...

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. OK - but needs improvement

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Pretty Darn Good

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  4. Extremely - Don't leave home without it!

    4 vote(s)
    66.7%
  1. AlwaysUpThere

    AlwaysUpThere Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    126
    0
    Sydney
    :idea: The APEC Business Travel Card has been mentioned sporadically through these postings. Its such a great tool, I think it deserves its own thread here. :idea:
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    Info is available at APEC Business Travel Card Scheme; it is possibly the best card to have when you travel in the APEC region .

    It provides express immigration processing (in AND out) of Australia as well as Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong (SAR China), Indonesia, Japan, RO Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, People's Republic of China#, The Philippines, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Thailand.

    # Another significant benefit will be China when they start operating - means you won't need a visa.

    It is so helpful to be able to go through what at most airports is the diplomatic or crew channel. In Australia, you use the Crew / Domestic / Diplomatic channels, deparding on the airport and time of day/staffing etc.
    In HKG, you line up with the residents - much quicker than the Visitors queue.
    KUL, you go "Premium" channel.
    Not obvious in NRT, but just head to the left hand side where the crew go (and often the “illegals” are waiting).

    If you're not sure where to go, just have the card in your hand and head to the seemingly most appropriate line and they'll point you in the right direction.

    Many airports also have a more efficient baggage delivery system than we have in Oz so there's not too long spent waiting for the bags - or if you're travelling without bags, so much the better. ESPECIALLY handy when there are several flights arriving at the same time - just cruise through.

    Often on departure, as the APEC Channel is over to one side, you can generally use the crew/Diplomatic/VIP security clearance as well, saving more time and angst.

    If you travel often with in APEC region, its a must have for FTs. You'll be :lol:
     
  2. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    One of the important things to note about this card is that it is not available to everyone...

    "Who is eligible

    If you want to apply for the card, you need to be a business person who:

    * holds a valid passport of a participating economy;
    * travels frequently to conduct trade and investment activities within the APEC region; and
    * has never been convicted of a criminal offence.
    "
     
  3. RTWFF

    RTWFF Intern

    Aug 12, 2005
    63
    0
    Not quite

    You need to be a business person who SAYS he will travel in the APEC region. I use it no matter where I am coming from, including the US
     
  4. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    377
    9
    Sydney
    This card is fantastic.

    There are delays in the processing for China at the moment, but last weekend I jumped 10-12 planeloads of people in immigration in Shanghai to go straight to the apec line and no waiting in waht were close to 2 hour queues...it works in pretty well every economy that is signed up and you have pre-approval.

    Also, the Immigration people who manage this are helpful and responsive.

    I have had it a while, so I forget the requirements, but I certainly qualify...now how do we do business in peru?
     
  5. RTWFF

    RTWFF Intern

    Aug 12, 2005
    63
    0
    Employer letter

    That must be a new requirement, AlwaysUpThere - all I did was fill in the form and state who my employer is
     
  6. AlwaysUpThere

    AlwaysUpThere Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    126
    0
    Sydney
    You're right RTWFF - recall now that I had to as I was working for the Fed Gvt OS when I applied - something internal to get it paid for I think.
    Posting removed to save any confusion...

    FYI, my China clearance took 16 months so you'll do well to get the interim card on offer.
     
  7. cowombat

    cowombat Intern

    Aug 17, 2005
    57
    0
    Melbourne
    I first heard about the APEC card a month or so ago, overhearing a conversation in the Melbourne QF 1st class lounge. I got on the web there and then and ordered mine. Canberra sent me an e:mail today affirming the mailing of my provisional card (I'm not waiting for China!).

    Interesting conversation with the guy who told me about the APEC card. He was unaware of the equivilent US "Portpass", which I do have, and allows entry into that country in the US citizen lane.... about twenty times faster at LAX compared to being an alien. The card takes about 20 mins to get on the spot (less than one queue wait) and is good for a couple of years.

    So with an APEC card and Portpass, I should be skipping most queues (I hope)....

    Puzzling is that Qantas has never made me aware of either card. Not even my now departed (and not replaced) ineffectual personal QF support person (allocated to people dumb enough to fly as much as me). I mentioned the APEC card to the QF Club lounge reception staff in International at Tulla... "Never heard of it mate!". I suggested that if QF wanted to add value to its premium passengers (at no cost to them) maybe they could research and inform such stuff to us. (Pigs are now turning onto runway 34 and preparing to roll.....)
     
  8. QF WP

    Moderator

    Jun 20, 2002
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    cowombat, welcome to AFF and an excellent first post.

    Can you give us some links to reading up on the Portpass..seems that it might be useful.
     
  9. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    377
    9
    Sydney
    Go from here:

    http://www.americanlaw.com/portpass.html

    Also, IMHO, I don't think it's Qantas' job to tell people, they are only responsible gate to gate, but in fact they did promote the face ID scan thing when the trial went public for Platinum members.
     
  10. serfty

    Moderator

    Nov 16, 2004
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  11. cabbage74

    cabbage74 Intern

    Mar 28, 2005
    91
    1
    I have been having a look at several sites relating to this since seeing the post this morning. I have not read on any of the sites that the program has been discontinued. www.uscis.gov has a copy of of the I-823 form (however it is dated 08/25/00).

    The thing which puzzels me is on some of the non-official sites it mentions that you must travel to the US on business more than three times a year, while the I-823 form and USINS site does not mention that at all. Infact the form asks for your intended purpose of travel to the US.

    If someone could comfirm that you are able to use this for lesuire I would be grateful.
    Regards,
    Malcolm.
     
  12. cowombat

    cowombat Intern

    Aug 17, 2005
    57
    0
    Melbourne
    I last renewed my PortPass (definitely called that - I'm looking at the card now) about 18 months ago. So it is definitely still working post 9/11, and I last used it in June 05, so is current (although the scanner was broken at JFK on this occasion... so I just went up to any US citizen lane counter and presented my card with passport. The Officer was happy to process me.

    The card is labelled a PortPass, but the system (including the scanners etc) is called INSpass, because the INS issues the Port Pass.
    Someone told me awhile ago that when the terror alert is high in the US, the pass is not valid. But I have never yet been turned away from the US citizen entry lane. (although last year in Dallas, the embarrassed Officer admitted to having never heard of the system... they don't have the system there. But he happily let me through... and I avoided about 500 latin americans in the alien queue)

    To get one? Go to the Portpass office in Tom Bradley terminal at LAX (also at JFK, Miami, Newark, SFO, Toronto Pearson IA, Vancouver IA, Washington Dulles). Unfortunately if you have to be on the US side of customs to get a card. It takes about 20 minutes to get a photo ID card prepared on the spot. I vaguely recall when I got my first pass long ago, they did affirm I was visiting the US at least 3 times a year.
     
  13. cowombat

    cowombat Intern

    Aug 17, 2005
    57
    0
    Melbourne
    PS for Cabbage74, I have used it for vacation travel, even bringing my kids into the LAX US citizens queue with me. The Officers never have had any issue with this. It just makes their job easier to have the confidence of processing a person (and dependants) for which they hold a full history including comprehensive biodata at hand.
     
  14. QF WP

    Moderator

    Jun 20, 2002
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    I'll definitely look into PortPass in either LAX, MIA or YVR as I'll be in each of there in Dec/Jan. Problem is that I probably wouldn't travel that regularly to USA.

    I've downloaded the APEC card and will get my photo done this afternoon at the travel agents'. I'll mail in the application tomorrow and see how long it takes.

    Now, as I would have the card and sometimes travel with my wife to work conferences (NZ, Hong Kong, Thailand, etc) would she get to come with me to the APEC queue (without her having the APEC card), or should I just get her to apply for hers anyway. Anybody had experience with this - what would you do??
     
  15. AlwaysUpThere

    AlwaysUpThere Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    126
    0
    Sydney
    Had mixed luck with two people.
    NRT - Yes
    SYD - No
    HKG - No

    Seems like there is a low awarness of these systems. Not a bad thing in my view as if everyone had one, there would be no benefit...

    As an additional experience, at TPE - Eventhough I had been cleared in "the system" but Taiwan was not listed on the back of my card so they gave me a gob-full and let me through anyway...
     
  16. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    377
    9
    Sydney
    Issuing the card could take 4-5 months, depending on the country, even though the agreement is supposed to be 2 weeks. China is currently a 5 month backlog. You can request any number of interim cards once some of the economies are posted. They give you a reference number and you can track the approval process online. They update the list about twice a week.

    Some economies will let a non-apec partner go through with you. Sydney, of all places, departing, they have been pernickety. As this is their only moment of power, different immi officers in different countries react differently. Mostly they have been accommodating for me and my son, who doesn't have a card (at this stage).
     
  17. QF WP

    Moderator

    Jun 20, 2002
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    Well, got the first letter today (mailed 1 September) from APEC Business Travel Card Project saying my application had been lodged (they'd debited my CC on 23 August and issued a Tax Invoice which were attached). Now I can track the progress to find which economies have pre-cleared my application.

    They note that the average clearance time is currently one month for all economies except China. In bold, they advise clearances for China currently take in excess of 4 months.

    Went and checked the progress - well, at least I've been cleared by Australia :lol: :eek:
     
  18. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    732
    13
    Hmmm, wonder if I would be cleared by Australia, not having lived there for several years? Any Aussie expats had success in getting this card issued either from Australia or elsewhere?
     
  19. infoworks

    infoworks Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    377
    9
    Sydney
    You apply to the country of your passport, so, yes Aussie Expats are eligible, but you apply thru Immi in Oz.
     
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