Singaporeans can now expect shorter waiting times in immigration at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, with two automated gates reserved for Singaporeans entering the country.
In a Facebook post yesterday morning, the Royal Thai Embassy of Singapore said the Immigration Bureau of Thailand announced last Saturday that Thailand has begun using automated gates for immigration checks for incoming foreign visitors.
It said Singapore is the first country to be allowed to use the feature at Suvarnabhumi, and the bureau will consider adding other countries "in the near future". "The Immigration Bureau of Thailand stated that the decision to use the Auto Gate was based on an analysis of security and on a reciprocal agreement, as Singapore is now considering allowing Thai nationals to use its automatic gates," it added.
Singaporean tourists do not need to register with the Thai immigration office to use the gates.
The system will record their information and fingerprints at the gates for identification during future trips. It can also verify passengers' identities by linking to airlines' check-in systems.
For purposes other than tourism, visitors still have to apply for a visa and undergo the regular immigration process.
The system is also being considered for other Thai airports, such as Don Mueang, the other airport in Bangkok, U-Tapao in Phla, and Phuket. The automated gates aim to address the problem of congestion and reduce the burden on staff.