Countries throughout the Asia Pacific region are positioned
to gradually reopen to international travelers after two years of
strict regulations and closed borders. To help travelers prepare
for the reopening of these countries, a list of short-term business
travel options for several countries and jurisdictions throughout
the Asia Pacific region is found here.?Some of these options may
continue to be limited due to the conditions of the pandemic and
individual assessments made by each jurisdiction’s government.
Envoy continues to track these developments through
our Global Mobility Resource
The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC)
The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) is a convenient travel
option for nationals of an Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) member country
or jurisdiction who frequently travel throughout the Asia
Pacific region for short-term business purposes. The ABTC grants
APEC foreign nationals pre-clearance to travel between APEC member
states without requiring a visa. In some jurisdictions, it also
enables the holder faster customs processing upon arrival.
Once granted, the ABTC is issued as a five-year card that can be
used as the entry authorization to participating APEC
jurisdictions. However, if the holder renews their passport during
the five-year period, the card must be updated and reissued to
account for the passport number change. Holders will be permitted
to remain in the country or jurisdiction for short-term business
purposes for up to 60 or 90 days depending on the conditions set by
the APEC member state or jurisdiction.?
Currently, APEC member states include Australia, Brunei, Canada,
Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia,
Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Russia,
Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.
However, Canada and the United States are only transitional member
states of the ABTC scheme and do not permit foreign nationals of
other APEC member states to enter visa-free. Instead, these ABTC
holders are granted faster entrance and clearance options when
entering either Canada or the United States.?
As of January 2022, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
advised that some international travel is severely curtailed or
suspended due to the ongoing pandemic. Travelers should continue to
monitor entry restrictions and travel destination requirements
before making travel plans.
The Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Card
While India is not a member state of APEC, travelers of Indian
origin and their spouses may instead be eligible for the Overseas
Citizenship of India (OCI) card. Although it does not grant the
same rights as a citizen of India, the OCI card grants holders
multiple entry and long-term visa-free visits to India. It also
allows holders to perform certain work activities in India for an
indefinite period. In January 2022, the government of
India extended the timeline for re-issuance of the OCI
card until 31 Dec. 2022. For additional
information on qualifications and the application process,
Short-Term Visa-Free Travel Schemes?
As more countries begin to reopen their borders to international
travelers, short-term visa-free travel options might serve as an
alternative travel route for some business
As the government of Vietnam has begun to lift COVID-19
restrictions, it has reimplemented visa-free travel schemes for
business travelers arriving from the countries of Belarus,
Russia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway,
South Korea, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Under these
schemes, travelers from these countries are permitted to enter
Vietnam for a period of 15 days without requiring a work permit.
These visa-free travel schemes will remain in effect until
Nationals of Hong Kong and Macau are now permitted to enter the
Philippines as temporary visitors for a period of
14 days without requiring a business or tourist visa. The
government also recently resumed visa-free travel schemes with 133
countries and regions. As a result, nationals from these countries
and regions are permitted to enter the Philippines, visa-free,
for business or tourist purposes for an initial period of 30
Travelers should check each government’s website to ensure
that the business work activities being performed are
allowable and do not require additional work authorization.
Travelers should also ensure that they adhere to any COVID-19 entry
restrictions and entry requirements prior to traveling.
Originally published 29 March, 2022
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.