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Updated Travel Exemptions for APEC Card Holders

The Department of Home Affairs updated their information in relation to travel exemptions for APEC card holders.

Travellers are exempt from travel restrictions, and can leave Australia without applying for an exemption if they are:

  • ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
  • an airline, maritime crew or associated safety worker
  • a New Zealand citizen holding a Special Category (subclass 444) visa
  • engaged in the day-to-day conduct of outbound freight
  • associated with essential work at Australian offshore facilities
  • travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

If a traveller holds an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC) they are not automatically exempt. Such individuals can apply for an exemption and provide evidence to support any relevant claims to travel claims.

ABTC reciprocal entry arrangements are available in nearly all APEC economies, including:

  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • China
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Chile
  • Hong Kong (SAR China)
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • the Philippines
  • the Russian Federation
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Canada and the United States of America are transitional members of the ABTC scheme. Transitional members do not offer reciprocal entry arrangements, but do provide fast track immigration processing at major international airports.

Getting an ABTC

You can apply for an ABTC if you:

  • travel frequently to an APEC economy (other than Australia or your place of residence) for business purposes
  • have not been convicted of a criminal offence

To be eligible, you must be one of the following:

  • the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or regional or country head of a registered business entity
  • an owner or director of a registered business entity
  • a board member of a registered business entity
  • the CEO or CFO of an Australian-based business peak body
  • a Vice President, Executive, Director, Senior Manager or similar
  • an employee of a registered business entity nominated by the CEO, CFO, regional head, owner or director of the organisation. See the Pro-forma nomination letter (20KB PDF)
  • a senior government official (defined as a member of the Australian Public Service who is at the Senior Executive Service level or above, or a state/territory equivalent)

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