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US Corporate Visa Requirements – the US Joins APEC

APECThe APEC card has been the envy of American business travelers for some time now. Lucky for us, the US has decided to join the program allowing free multiple entry visas to members so we can get in on that action.

What’s the big deal? Along with expedited passage through airport security, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) card allows members unlimited 60 or 90 day visas to participating countries. It is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.

According to APEC:

The credit-card sized APEC Business Travel Card provides you with pre-cleared short-term entry to the 14 APEC Member Economies participating in the scheme. Being a card holder means there will be no need for you to individually apply for visas or entry permits each time you travel, saving you valuable time.

Other benefits of the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme include the capacity for multiple entries into participating economies during the three years the card is valid and faster immigration processing on arrival via access to fast-track entry and exit through special APEC lanes at major airports.

Members of APEC include the following high-traffic countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. and Vietnam. Not all countries participate in the card system.

To apply for the card, you must be a passport holder from a participant country, travel regularly to other member countries (3 or more times per year) and pass a background check (criminal offense free). To apply, contact the immigration authority in your home country. A list of links is here. The US participation is SO new that no link exists as of posting. That also means price for the card has not yet been released. Aussies pay $155 AUD, which translates to approximately $120 USD.

Once you get your card, APEC offers guidelines outlining the benefits received by country in their Travel Handbook.