In a significant move to enhance the travel experience for foreign visitors, the Immigration Bureau has implemented a new policy at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Starting December 15, 2023, passengers of all nationalities holding an electronic passport (e-passport) can now benefit from the Immigration Auto Channel during the international departure process.
This upgrade, driven by the government’s commitment to boost tourism, involves the extension of automated services to cover departing foreign tourists, reducing wait times and ensuring a smoother journey through Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Prime Minister’s Vision, Speedy Solution
This upgrade stems from Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s commitment to enhancing Thailand’s tourism experience. Witnessing long immigration lines during his departure, he promptly directed the Immigration Bureau to improve efficiency for foreign visitors.
Automated Passport Machines
At present, Suvarnabhumi Airport boasts 16 automatic passport machines, initially introduced in 2012 exclusively for Thai nationals. These machines have proven efficient, taking a mere 20 seconds to process a passport compared to the 45 seconds required for manual checks by immigration police.
Expanding this service to cover foreign tourists is anticipated to reduce wait times and enhance the overall passenger experience significantly.
The upgrade is expected to accommodate up to 12,000 passengers per hour, a substantial increase from the previous capacity of 5,000 passengers.
The move comes as a response to concerns raised by Prime Minister Srettha about the potential impact of long immigration lines on passengers, including the risk of missed flights.
E-passport and ICAO Compliance
To utilize the Auto Channel, travellers must possess an e-passport compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards.
Ordinary passports, children’s e-passports, and passengers requiring additional assistance will still be processed through traditional manned counters.
The Immigration Bureau, in collaboration with the Airports of Thailand Plc, is committed to further optimizing the passenger experience.
By July 2024, both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports will see their current auto-check machines replaced with newer models, doubling the number available for both arrivals and departures.
This initiative underscores Thailand’s dedication to providing a seamless and efficient travel experience for foreign tourists. With the Immigration Auto Channel, departing guests can now look forward to a quicker and more streamlined journey, leaving them with more time to savour the delights of their Thailand adventures.