Immigration upgrades automatic channel for departing foreign tourists


From Friday (December 15), foreigners departing from Suvarnabhumi International Airport can use automatic channels for passport checks.

Pol Lt Gen Itthipol Itthisarnronnachai, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, said the upgrade of the automatic departure service to cover foreigners has been done in line with the policy set by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

In the middle of November when Srettha departed the country to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in the United States, he witnessed long lines of foreign tourists at immigration counters, waiting for immigration police to check their passports.

Srettha then told the immigration chief to improve the automatic passport checking system to cover foreign visitors as well, saying the measure was necessary to boost tourism. Immigration upgrades automatic channel for departing foreign tourists

Currently, there are 16 automatic passport machines at Suvarnabhumi airport. The machines have been in use since 2012 but only for Thai nationals.

Each machine takes only 20 seconds to check a passport, compared to 45 seconds spent by an immigration police to manually check it.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 passengers leave the kingdom via Suvarnabhumi daily, leading to long lines at the immigration counters especially during periods when about 20 flights are scheduled to take off an hour. Immigration upgrades automatic channel for departing foreign tourists

Srettha expressed concerns that the long immigration lines at the departing counters might cause several passengers to miss their flights and told the Immigration Bureau to speed up the process for departing foreign tourists.

Itthipol held a meeting with the Airports of Thailand Plc, Immigration Police Division 2, the immigration technology centre and a private firm to further develop the automatic system,

The system will be upgraded to check the passports of foreign tourists from Friday, Itthipol added.

Immigration upgrades automatic channel for departing foreign tourists The channels are open to passengers holding e-passports in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization,

The upgrade will allow some 12,000 passengers to depart from the Suvarnabhumi airport per hour, compared to 5,000 passengers.

He added that the AOT will replace its automatic passport checking machines at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports by July next year for both arriving and departing passengers. The number of automatic machines will double from four to eight at each airport for both entry and departure.