Machines will cut airport queues

Machines will cut airport queues

A Thai arrival gets some help from a receptionist in scanning her passport, leaving immigration officers free to handle more complex problems. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
A Thai arrival gets some help from a receptionist in scanning her passport, leaving immigration officers free to handle more complex problems. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The Immigration Police Bureau will install immigration clearance machines to cut queues at the country's main Bangkok airports by mid-2015.

Sixteen automated immigration clearance machines will be allotted to Suvarnabhumi airport and be ready to use by July this year.

Eight machines, costing a total of roughly 76 million baht, will be stationed at the departure immigration zone and another eight in the arrival hall, said Choengron Rimphadee, the director of immigration clearance at Suvarnabhumi airport. 

Don Mueang airport will also receive four machines for its arrival and departure halls by the end of the year. 

Initially, those eligible for machine-processed entry will only be foreign residents of Thailand who pre-registered with the immigration police to use the devices.

Pol Lt Col Choengron explained that registration is required as immigration clearance concerns national security.

The apparatuses will hasten immigration clearance, as they require a mere 20 seconds to process each person, while an immigration officer takes twice that, averaging 45 seconds per passport stamp, he said.

More personnel will also be deployed to Suvarnabhumi's immigration booths to cut the lines during peak hours.

It has been known to take up to two hours to clear immigration, but officials aim to limit this to 30 minutes, which meets international standards, he said. 

Meanwhile, nationals from applicable countries should fill out online applications for the visa-on-arrival prior to landing to do away with the hassle of paper forms, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said. 

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