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Business Mobility Group

The Business Mobility Group (BMG) was formed in 1997 when the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) made the facilitation of business travel a priority. Since the BMG’s establishment, the group has regularly consulted with the business community. 

The APEC Business Travel Card

The partnership between BMG and ABAC marked a significant achievement with the creation of the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC), streamlining entry for business travelers in the Asia-Pacific region.

The ABTC program benefits company and corporate executives, and board members who frequently travel for business across APEC economies. Moreover, government officials also utilize the ABTC for APEC-related activities.

In 1999, the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) decided to make the ABTC program permanent starting from 1 March of that year, and it has since expanded. Currently, there are over 405,000 active ABTCs across the APEC region.

In 2013, APEC leaders acknowledged the growing need for enhanced trade and travel within the region. APEC's goal is to bolster connectivity among member economies, focusing on physical infrastructure, institutional cooperation and people-to-people networks. The BMG was assigned the task of advancing travel facilitation efforts including improving the ABTC program.

On 1 September 2015, the validity period of the ABTC was extended from three to five years, enhancing user experience by reducing the frequency of card renewals. This extension not only improved convenience for cardholders but also led to increased efficiencies for users and economies through reduced processing times and costs associated with card production and distribution.

The virtual ABTC

The BMG has responded to the modernization and digitization of global travel. To ensure that APEC travel is positioned for the future, the BMG introduced the virtual ABTC. This complements initiatives such as advance traveller clearance and the increase of visa-free entry across the world, for example.

Launched on 1 March 2021, the virtual ABTC brings the existing scheme into the digital era, providing the much-valued service on cardholder’s smart devices. The virtual ABTC is a more secure, efficient, convenient and user-friendly service. Importantly, it provides real-time updates, so that a cardholder can immediately benefit from using their virtual ABTC. Travelling on the ABTC allows for the same streamlined and VIP service existing cardholders have come to enjoy, and in addition provides an alternative method for producing and presenting their card when entering and exiting an APEC economy.

The virtual ABTC transition

From 1 March 2021, all member economies allow entry to virtual ABTC cardholders*.

Member economies that have transitioned to the virtual platform so far include:

No.EconomyCommencement Date


01 March 2021
2Brunei Darussalam30 June 2021
3Chile30 June 2021
4Indonesia 01 April 2021
5Japan01 April 2024
6Malaysia24 October 2023
7Mexico23 April 2023
8New Zealand02 August 2021
9Papua New Guinea30 June 2021
10Peru28 May 2021
11The Philippines24 November 2021
12Thailand01 May 2021
13Viet Nam25 October 2023

The introduction of the virtual ABTC does not change current international port of entry processing when cardholders enter an economy on the ABTC — the cardholder is simply required to present their virtual ABTC on their smart device (just as they would present the physical card as instructed) either when entering the APEC fast track lane or an APEC economy.

*Note: Until further notice, Russia will NOT accept the virtual ABTC. A temporary travel scheme has been introduced for eligible virtual ABTC holders. More information available on the virtual ABTC webpage.

For more information, including introduction videos to the virtual ABTC for cardholders and port officials, see the ABTC and virtual ABTC webpages.

Last page update: May 2024


Sally McLean (Ms)
BMG Convenor
Nicole Ledoux Vargas (Ms)
Program Director

Current Activities


BMG member economies meet at the first and third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM1 and SOM3) each year.

The last BMG meeting was held on 29 February and 1 March 2024, in Lima, Peru. Economies discussed a range of key topics identified by economies such as pre-clearance; gender disparity among cardholders; management of data entry errors; communication between economy administrators and with cardholders; impacts of artificial intelligence, among other topics.

Japan announced the implementation of the virtual ABTC in its jurisdiction as of 1 April 2024.

ABAC also announced its plan to conduct a survey to gather insights on the user experience of the cardholders (consumer-oriented approach) to identify areas of improvement for the ABTC scheme. The results of the survey will be presented at the next BMG meeting in 2024 during SOM3.

Current Projects and/or initiatives

  • (APEC-funded) Project Proposal – Performance Review Study of the ABTC Scheme (Australia) has been endorsed by BMG members and is currently under review by the APEC Project Management Unit for quality assessment.
  • ABAC survey on the user experience of the ABTC holders. This ABAC initiative was endorsed by ABAC representatives during their first meeting in 2024 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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