Knowledge base articles

What is an APEC card?

The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) provides accredited business people with streamlined access to participating APEC countries.

Participating APEC countries

Cardholders enjoy:

  • express immigration clearance through special APEC lanes on arrival and departure
  • no requirement to apply for visas before travel
  • multiple entries to participating countries

To apply you will need to download the application form and send this with a passport-sized photo, any supporting documents, and the application fee.

Information on the fee and receiving centre is available on our website:

Fees, decision times and where to apply

APEC Business Travel Card application form 

Am I eligible for an APEC Business Travel Card?

The APEC Business Travel Card is available to New Zealand business people engaged in trade and investment activities who:

  • are nationals of New Zealand and hold a current New Zealand passport
  • travel frequently (on short notice and for short term stay) to conduct trade and investment activities in participating APEC countries
  • have not been convicted of a criminal offence

The APEC card is designed to meet a business person's frequent short term travel needs and not to replace visa applications for infrequent travel.

A bona fide business person is taken to mean a person who is engaged in the trade of goods, the provision of services or the conduct of investment activities. It specifically does not include:

    • the business person's dependent spouse and children
    • persons who wish to engage in paid employment or a working holiday
    • professional athletes, news correspondents, entertainers, musicians, artists or persons engaged in similar occupations.

What supporting documents do I need to include?

All applications need to provide supporting documents highlighting your need for frequent business related travel to APEC economies.

You must provide as much information as possible to allow us to process your application. Failure to provide sufficient evidence may result in the application being declined.

Some examples of supporting documents are:

  • supporting letter from your employer
  • invoice from overseas suppliers
  • contracts and agreements
  • invitations to overseas trade shows, fairs or exhibitions
  • any other third party documents which can identify you, your business and your need to travel for business related purposes.

How long is a card valid for?

APEC cards are valid for five years from the date the card is issued to you. However, if the passport you provided with your application expires before this date, the expiry date listed on your card will match the expiry date of your passport.

Your clearance will still be valid for five years. When you obtain a new passport, you will need to contact us with a scanned copy for us to update your details and issue you with an updated card.


Can I renew my APEC Business Travel Card?

All applications are treated as new applications. There is no facility for cardholders to renew their APEC Business Travel Card.

As such you will be required to submit a new application, photograph, and supporting documents. These will all be assessed against eligibility criteria.

What if I have a criminal conviction?

If you have a criminal conviction you will not be eligible for an APEC card.

If you have old convictions which are concealed under the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, you do not need to disclose these convictions when you apply for a card and it will not affect your eligibility.  Information regarding these convictions will not be disclosed to other participating countries.

Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004

Note that the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 does not apply when you fill out forms while travelling overseas. You will need to declare these convictions on your arrival card(s) overseas. If you do not meet that country’s entry requirements, you may be refused entry.

You will need to check the entry requirements with that country’s embassy or consulate before you travel. 

You can visit this website for their contact details:

Foreign Representatives to New Zealand

How long does it take to receive the full card?

The timeframe for issuing a full card is determined by the speed of clearance and requirements of each selected participating country. Processing times can be between 4-6 months.

We also send out an interim card based on the economies you select on the application as priority economies. When the economies you've selected have provided clearance, an interim card will be printed and sent out before the full card with all economies.

Cards are sent via overnight courier within New Zealand or via standard mail internationally. We have no tracking or timeframe for delivery of international mail. If you live overseas and need your card urgently, you can contact us to arrange international courier delivery at your expense.

How do I check the status of my application?    

You can use your application number (a five digit number at the top right hand corner of the acknowledgment letter and in the fee receipt) to monitor and track your application status online:

Application - Check Status - Search

  • Next to "Economy of Application", select "New Zealand"
  • Enter your application number and click "Search"

Please note that you will not be able to track the status online until New Zealand has approved your application. You are then able to confirm the other member economies which have approved for travel for the selected APEC Business Travel Card.

This online status is updated daily.

What do I do if my acknowledgement letter or APEC card includes incorrect data?

You will need to email us and advise which information is incorrect.


If I get a new passport can I still use my existing APEC card?

No. Your card must be linked to the passport you will travel with.  When you have your new passport, you will need to contact us with a scan of your new passport. If your application is still valid we will issue a new card to you.


What do I do my if New Zealand passport is lost or stolen and I have a new passport?

If your APEC card is still valid, email us to request a re-issue of your card. You will need to include a scanned copy of your new passport.


What do I do if my card is lost or stolen?

Contact the police to report your card as lost or stolen. 

Email us with the relevant information, detailing how and when your card was lost or stolen. We will then issue you with a replacement card. You will need to provide your passport number when you contact us so we can easily identify you.


What do I do if my address or email has changed?

Contact us by email and we will update your personal data.


What do I do if my name has changed?

You will be required to submit a new APEC card application. We are unable to change your name in the system once the application has been approved. Your passport details on your APEC card and the passport you travel with must match.

Please note all applications are treated as new applications.  As such, you will be required to submit a new application, fee, photograph, and supporting documents which will be assessed against the applicable APEC eligibility criteria.   

I have an APEC card, but I'm planning to go to New Zealand for a holiday rather than business. Can I still use my APEC card?

No. APEC cards can only be used for business purposes, so it is not appropriate for use in this situation. If you are not from a visa waiver country, you will need to apply for a visitor visa in order to travel to New Zealand for a holiday.

Visa waiver countries

Apply for a visitor visa

I hold an APEC card. Do I need to request an NZeTA?

When travelling to New Zealand for business purposes in line with the grant of the APEC card, you are deemed to hold a visa for New Zealand. This means you are exempt from the requirement to hold an NZeTA.

If travelling for other purposes (such as tourism), you may require an NZeTA or visitor visa.


Explore visitor visa options