BANGKOK: Visitors from Singapore and Hong Kong will be able to use automatic passport scanners in Bangkok airports soon, with immigration processing time reduced to 20 to 30 seconds, according to Thai news outlet The Nation.
The system, which is currently reserved for Thai nationals, will be implemented "this month or next", police Lieutenant-General Nathathorn Prousoontorn said in the report on Tuesday (Aug 1).
"Cooperation with Singapore on the matter is nearly 100 per cent complete, but for Hong Kong we need more discussions," he told The Nation.
Eligible visitors who want to use these scanners will have to first register with the Thai immigration office before entering the country, the official added in the report.
There are 52 automatic passport check machines at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, and these scanners will be installed with software to read information on the passports of foreign visitors, reported The Nation.
Visitors from these two countries were chosen in particular because of the high frequency of entry into Thailand annually compared to other countries, the report said.
There are plans to extend the new system to border checkpoints in Nong Khai and Sa Kaew provinces, as well as to other countries with no-visa requirements such as Australia and parts of Europe. It will however not be offered to visitors from parts of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa due to "security concerns", The Nation added.