On December 11th, 2023, Pol. Lt. Gen. Itthiphon Itthisanronnachai, the commander of the Immigration Bureau, publicly revealed an improvement in domestic automatic check-out channels for foreigners at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
However, the new channels will have some limitations and restrictions on who can use them, as we explain below. It was reported that the new domestic automatic check-out channel systems will be available publicly on December 15th, 2023, and will greatly reduce the density of foreign passengers in rush hours.
It’s worth noting that Suvarnabhumi Airport has actually had 16 automatic check-out channels since 2012, but only used to check Thai passengers.
It reportedly takes only 20 seconds for automatic check-out channels to check the passport of a passenger using face and finger recognition. On a recent day, there were reportedly more than 50,000 passengers and more than 20 flights in an hour at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Mr. Srettha Thavisin, the Thai Prime Minister, gave a recent order to Pol. Lt. Gen. Itthiphon to work on the possibility of using the automatic channel system to check foreign passengers as well. It would greatly reduce the time and process of checking every passport, said the PM.
However, the domestic automatic check-out channel systems could only be used under the condition that foreign passengers must hold an E-Passport authorized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Other than that, it was reportedly those who had ordinary passports or E-Passports with errors and were children or disabled people, who needed to be checked through Suvarnabhumi immigration officers.
Furthermore, the automatic check-out channel systems can also verify persons with criminal arrest warrants or those who have overstayed their visas and permitted time.
Additionally, as for some international flights, the Suvarnabhumi immigration officers still need to screen passengers in person according to the principles of national security and the country one was planning to visit. More details are available at airport Immigration booths.