Passport issuing queues to ease

The Department of Consular Affairs will increase the number of passports it can issue each day to 7,000 from Monday as technicians switch the computer system back on at its headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road, which is still closed by anti-government protesters.

The department’s head office and branch offices nationwide have been closed since Jan 13 by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rally led by Luang Pu Buddha Issara.

About 4,000 people normally apply for passport services each working day.

In Bangkok, its two branches in Pin Klao and Bang Na have the capacity to serve 3,050 people a day while its offices in Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Songkhla can accept 200 applicants each.

In order to reduce the congestion at the currently open two branches, the department from Monday will accept the passport applications at Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, which can handle 600 applicants a day.

The department also created a Facebook page as a channel  of communication with the public on passport and visa related issues.

It was expected that after the technicians switch the system back on this weekend, capacity will increase to 7,000 a day, up 85% on the current situation, which is causing huge queues, and would be sufficient to serve demand.

Passport applications will be accepted only at the announced branch offices and in the three provinces, while other offices remained closed.

The department confirmed its inventory of 5 million passport books was enough to meet demand at 6,500 a day for four years.  

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