U.S. Permanently Authorizes APEC Business Travel Card

Following successful lobbying by APCAC (the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce), the U.S. Congress recently passed legislation to permanently authorize the APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC). Aimed at facilitating business travel for U.S. citizens and government officials engaged in verified business in the APEC region, the U.S. APEC Business Travel Card enables access to fast-track immigration lanes at airports in the 21 APEC member economies. Users of the APEC Business Travel Card must also be participating in a Customs and Border Patrol trusted traveler program. APEC Business Travel Card users enjoy pre-cleared, facilitated, short-term entry to participating member economies, reducing costs and waiting times.

For more information on the APEC Business Travel Card, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

A Message for U.S. Citizens: Notice Regarding Social Security Services

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has consolidated its overseas operations into several regional offices that provide a full range of SSA services for U.S. citizens residing outside of the United States.  Effective October 1, 2017, individuals residing in Taiwan who require social security services or have questions about SSA benefits must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in the Philippines, rather than the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Please be advised that as of October 1, AIT can no longer accept telephone calls, emails, or walk-in consultations regarding Social Security issues.

For more information or any questions about the services provided at the FBU in the Philippines and how to contact them, please visit their webpage at: https://ph.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/. You can also reach them at (632) 301-2000 ext. 9, or [email protected].

For comprehensive information on SSA’s services abroad, please visit SSA’s webpage, “Service Around the World.”

If you are already receiving SSA benefits payments, there will be no change in the method of distribution of those payments.