What is the worst thing about visiting Thailand? You’re probably thinking there isn’t one, everything about the Land of Smiles is out-of-this-world. You’re wrong. Think about your arrival and getting through Thai Immigration, those long queues, well soon they could be a thing of the past because Thailand’s Immigration Bureau aim to make your long haul to the Kingdom a bit shorter. An automated service is to be put into place which will turn the slow trek through immigration into a fast-track procession of hand luggage, handbags and bum bags.
The image above (image source: Airports Authority of Thailand) is an artist’s impression of how Thailand’s new fast-track immigration service will look. The new airport technology, ‘Advance Passenger Processing (APP)’, is expected to be introduced to all of Thailand’s international airports within two years. The APP system will put an end to lengthy queue times and make air passengers long haul to Thailand a fair bit shorter. The system will also have the know-how to check in-bound flight passenger lists for anyone on Thailand’s Immigration blacklist.
The Commissioner of the Thai Immigration Bureau, Lt Gen Wiboon Bangphamai, had this to say about Thailand’s new APP system when he addressed a meeting of ASEAN immigration officials in Phuket;
“The APP system will shorten the immigration clearance process. The system will allow people to just walk through without having to stop to get a stamp (passport) or other details checked”.
That’s great news and hopefully the days of 45-60 minutes waiting time in Thai Immigration queues will be over. It’s a positive step by Thailand’s Immigration Bureau and one which could turn the Land of Smiles immigration process into the Line of Smiles. At present that is very much not the case.
The APP system gets a big thumbs up from me and fingers crossed it works.
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© 2012, Martyn. All rights reserved.