What is the change? APEC business cards issued after Sept. 1 will be valid for five years or until the card holder’s passport expires, whichever is shorter. Currently, APEC business cards are valid for a maximum of three years.

What does the change mean? Nationals of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member countries will be able to obtain five-year, multiple-entry, short-stay APEC business cards, provided that they have sufficient time remaining on their passports.

  • Implementation time frame: Sept. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: APEC business cards.
  • Who is affected: APEC business card applicants.
  • Business Impact: The change will ease business travel, as APEC business card holders will only have to renew their cards every five years, as opposed to every three years.

Background: The APEC business card was designed to streamline travel requirements for nationals of participating countries.

The travel cards were first issued in 1997 to nationals of Australia, the Philippines and South Korea. Other countries subsequently joined the scheme, and the card is now available to nationals of Australia, Brunei, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The U.S. and Canada are considered transitional members, which allows cardholders to use “fast-track” lanes at major international airports. Cardholders still must provide valid passports or visas in the U.S. and Canada if required by U.S. or Canadian law.

APEC’s 21 participating countries agreed earlier this year to extend the APEC business card validity to five years. The APEC Business Mobility Group issued a formal announcement on the extension last week.

BAL Analysis: Five-year APEC business cards will facilitate travel and trade for the more than 190,000 APEC business card holders worldwide.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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