I have an APEC Business Travel Card and would like to use it to travel to Vietnam visa-free. My nationality would otherwise require a visa for Vietnam.

I will be traveling from a European country that does not have direct flights to Vietnam, so odds are airline checkin staff will not be familiar with the ABTC.

How can I avoid being incorrectly refused boarding for not having a visa? I am particularly concerned because Timatic via iatatravelcentre.com does not list ABTC as a visa exemption option:

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  • The APEC main page contains an FAQ that says: Questions about the requirements for travelling to a particular economy using your ABTC are managed by the economy to which you intend to travel. Have you tried asking Vietnam or the Vietnam governmental office that manages ABTC? Sep 3 at 1:37
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    @DavidRecallsMonica I will not have any issues in Vietnam (I have previously entered using ABTC), I'm solely concerned with airline checkin. Sep 3 at 1:38
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    I understand your concern, and think it's well-taken. Still, perhaps the office will have some suggestions. Beyond that, I imagine having tangible paperwork with you, good manners, persistence, and asking for a supervisor is about all you could do. Sep 3 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


Checking Timatic via another source (The Emirates website) shows an additional line under "Visa Exceptions" that is not shown by IATA Travel Center website.

Passengers with an APEC Business Travel Card valid for travel to "VNM" for a maximum stay of 60 days.

Any airline using Timatic will see this additional line and you should have no issues boarding. I've had multiple flights to APEC Economies using an ABTC departing from countries in Europe and the US and never had an issue.

Note that Vietnam only allows ABTC to be used for business trips and not for tourism, so the above is only valid if you're travelling there for business.


Based on Doc's answer I'm pretty sure I'll be fine, but just to hedge my bets, I reached out to the airline in question (Turkish). They replied promptly to request copies of my passport and the ABTC card, which I provided. A few days later, they got back to me and confirmed :

We have forwarded your document to our sales office in Ho Chi Minh City and your travel has been approved.

Since I gave them my PNR, I presume the booking has now been annotated with this approval and they can see this at check-in. Fingers crossed!

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