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Longer validity for APEC Business Travel Cards

Released at: 13:32, 31/10/2015

Longer validity for APEC Business Travel Cards

PM issues Decision on card terms and those who may apply.

by Hoai An

The Prime Minister has issued Decision No. 54/2015/QD-TTg amending and supplementing certain articles in regulations on the granting and management of APEC Business Travel Cards (ABTC). An ABTC provides business travelers with short-term entry in APEC member economies, removing the need to apply for visas or entry permits and allowing for swift passage through immigration upon arrival.

The term of an ABTC is now five years not three and cannot be extended, with a new card to be issued instead.

The Decision also specifies those eligible to receive an ABTC: businesspeople working at State-owned enterprises (SOEs), businesspeople working in private enterprises, and officers and civil servants participating in APEC activities. At the request of competent authorities the Minister of Public Security may grant an ABTC to other individuals.

For businesspeople at SOEs who need an ABTC to attend APEC meetings, conferences and other activities in economic development and cooperation, their superiors must request an ABTC be issued in writing, with the PM to decide on such cases.

Other cases need permission from ministers, heads of authorities of equal standing, or chairmen of provincial people’s committees approved by the PM to issue cards.

Decision No.54 will take effect from December 15. ABTCs granted before September 1 will remain valid until expiry.

The ABTC program was first introduced in 1997 and by mid-2014 164,000 cards had been issued to APEC businesspeople. According to the APEC Policy Support Unit, ABTCs help reduce 38 per cent of costs in conducting overseas business in APEC economic areas. The time to apply for entry was reduced by 43.3 per cent and the time at immigration counters was cut by 52.4 per cent.

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