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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 24 September 2005

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Singapore implements APEC Business Travel Card Scheme

Source: www.ica.gov.sg

SINGAPORE IMPLEMENTS THE APEC BUSINESS TRAVEL CARD SCHEME

With effect from 1 October 2005, Singapore will implement the APEC[1] Business Travel Card (ABTC) Scheme.
The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the issuing authority of the card, will begin to accept applications for the card through its website http://www.ica.gov.sg.
About the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme
The ABTC scheme aims to facilitate the travel of business persons between APEC economies. Cardholders enjoy the following benefits:

- Streamlined processing through designated lanes at the major airports and entry points of participating economies.

- Without having to make a separate visa application, pre-cleared cardholders will be able to travel to and enter the participating economies for business purposes up to 60 or 90 days.

The application fee for a new card is $100 (non-refundable). Each card is valid for three years, or up to the validity of the passport, whichever is shorter.
The average processing time for each card is at least two months. This is because each application has to be routed to all participating economies for approval, and more time may be needed for all economies to revert.
For the convenience of the applicant, an interim card will be mailed to him one month after he submits his application, or after five or more economies have pre-cleared his application, whichever is later. The interim card is issued at no extra charge. (A sample of the card is attached.)
Which are the participating economies?
Currently, 17 out of the 21 APEC economies participate in the ABTC scheme. The participating economies are

- Australia

- Brunei Darussalam

- Chile

- China

- Chinese Taipei

- Hong Kong

- Indonesia

- Japan

- Republic of Korea

- Malaysia

- New Zealand

- Papua New Guinea

- Peru

- the Philippines

- Singapore

- Thailand and

- Vietnam[2]

Who is eligible to apply for the card?
The following groups of Singapore Citizens are eligible to apply for the card:

- Bona fide business persons (i.e. those who represent an economically-active business entity);

- Members of professional bodies such as doctors, lawyers, artists and other members of professional bodies.

- Public officers from Ministries, Government departments, economic agencies and statutory boards who need to travel in their official capacity.
All applicants must have a valid Singapore passport.
Foreign cardholders
Designated lanes have been set up at all checkpoints to provide immigration clearance for foreign cardholders that will be pre-cleared by Singapore.
Foreign cardholders are advised that Singapore¡¯s ABTC facilities are accorded only after Singapore has pre-cleared the foreign cardholder and Singapore¡¯s code ¡®SGP¡¯ is printed on the reverse of the card.
More information pertaining to the card can be found in the set of Frequently-Asked Questions at Annex.
More.....

Source: www.ica.gov.sg News Release 23 Sep 2005

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