On November 13, The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)Travel Cards Act was enacted that will allow for US Government employee and Business travelers visiting the 20 nations that make up APEC to use expedited customs and immigration lines at airports. These travelers will now be able to use the same lines as airline crew. In addition to this benefit, a screened an approved traveler under this program will not have to renew Visas each time they travel to one of the APEC countries. Travelers will be able to take mulitple trips for a period of 3 years without renewing a visa.
APEC has been in place since 1997, but this is the first time its being expanded in such a manner.
Current APEC members include: Australia, Brunei, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Taipei, Thailand and Vietnam.
This act was submitted by Hawaiian Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka in a bid to make it easier for travel to Asia and to encourage more face to face dialogue with their “Neighbors” in Asia.
Also nearing completion is an expanded “Trusted Traveler” program that will allow citizens of Singapore, South Korea and the US to use expedited customs and immigration lanes/kiosks when traveling among the 3 countries.
Now if they would only expand Trusted Traveler Status to more than just a couple of airlines and a handful of airports in the US!!