Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I 've got Thailand's new chip-embedded e-passport

Recently I just went to MFA 's Consular Department at Chang Wattana road to applied for a new passort. Now all the newly issued Thailand passports would be e-passports, which means they are embedded with an electronic security chip. I heard Thailand was the first country in Asia to use this technology. These new passports will be valid for only 5 years, and are not renewable, in other words, only new passports will be issued. I guess that the chips probably use one-way encryption algorithm. Facial figure and finger prints would be kept in the chip inside the passport book as well for automatic immigration processing at Thailand's port of entry / exit.

When I went to the Consular Department in one mid morning, I had to take a wait in a line and later getting a queue slip with printed number on it (mine was almost 600) : the print out also indicated that there was a long queue of 300 people waiting before me. I then had to proceed to wait in a waiting lounge for about 2 hr to wait for my turn. By the way, now only a citizen ID is needed, no other document required. Once it 's my turn to contact an officer inside, there are 2 dozens of kiosks for simutaneous processing of many applications, it took only a few minutes to finish my electronic application, online criminal background check, and authorization. First the lady swiped my citizen ID card in, and download all my information from the Ministry of Interior 's database, including my old picture. The only time consuming step was a few repetitive fingers' scans. I also was taken a picture by a digital camera and the image would then be printed in the new passport. After the some 10 minutes or so session, I then paid 1000 Baht for the fee and came out. The passport would be ready for pick up in only 2 days.

No comments: