If you, your partner or “friend” needs to get a Thai passport in Bangkok, here's the scoop.
My wife needed a renewal and I decided it was worth going along to see how the service matched up to the UK. (Apologies in advance for a couple of the poor-quality pictures — a mixture of poor light and a bad phone).
We took a cab to Chaeng Wattana Government complex, which is the place to get Thai passports in Bangkok, although some people go to Central Bangna, apparently. (Not sure if that office is still open).
The journey cost us 125 Baht, including the toll way payment, and took 15-20 minutes from the Huay Kwang area. In busy traffic allow and hour.
We got there at around 11 AM, although I'd recommend getting there around 9 AM if you want to be in and out sharply.
The entrance is on the main road of Chaeng Wattana . You can literally stop right outside. You can't miss it; it has a big water feature outside. See the picture below.
When you to the front door, go in and straight up the escalator to the second floor. Bypass all the translation/visa touts that try to sell you their services. You're there for a Thai passport, so you won't need anything they have to sell; though you might want to visit the coffee shop or canteen when you have finished.
What Documents You Need to Get a Thai Passport
- Thai citizen I.D. card.
- Tabien Baan.
- Two passport photos.
- Details of your current address.
- If you're getting a Thai passport for a child and you are a foreign national, your Thai partner must be present too.
- If you are a foreign national and need to get a passport for your Thai child, take your passport along to show too.
- Take photocopies of all documents with you. It's always handy to have, just in case they ask to keep a copy.
Note: There is a copy shop there. If you need it, do a right at the top of the escalator (same floor). Walk straight and turn the corner. You should see a nice lady boasting a 1980s copy machine.
So, hang a right at the top of the escalator and join the queue for the ticket window. Show your ID card, get a ticket and take a seat. Well, not you, but your Thai wife, girlfriend, friend, whatever.
To my horror, we were given number 982. The screen was showing 763! “Holy crap”, we'll be here all day. Let's get a coffee” (any excuse).
There's two coffee shops on the ground floor and a big restaurant with reasonable food options. Very handy. We spent 30 minutes downstairs having food and drinks and went back to join the queue.
To our surprise the screen was showing number 910 already! That's a warning for you. Don't wander off and miss your spot. It moves fast. You'll soon see why when you're inside. It's a super-efficient setup with multiple officers processing passports.
I whipped out my laptop and starting tinkering on some work as the queue quickly filtered down. Within 20 minutes my wife had gone in to get her passport. She was out within 15 minutes!
The 3-Step Process Inside the Passport Booth
It's pretty straight forward, so don't worry. It's all high-tech now, nice and private and way quicker than the UK, that's for sure. There's basically 3 steps:
Step 1: For those getting an e-passport, a member of staff measures your height and takes your biometric data by picture and fingerprint. You'll have to have your right and left index fingers separately twice using a scanner too. For standard passports it's the usual spell your name, give in your passport photo, etc.
Step 2: You then verify and sign to certify your information.
Step 3: You then apply for the postage service
Cost & Delivery/Pick Up
The cost was 1,000 Baht, and 60 Baht to post to our home within 4-6 days. Note that you pay after at a separate counter on your way out. You'll be directed there once the process is complete.
You can pick up your passport within 2 days if you don't mind going back there, but there are some specific rules to be aware of, particularly if you are having someone else pick it up on your behalf.
- If in Bangkok you can pick-up your passport 2 working days after the application date.
- If you order an e-passport, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has set up an automatic gate simulation at the Chaengwattana building so you can practice using it on an automated machine.
- Applicants outside of Bangkok are required to apply for postage service which will take 5 – 7 working days for passport to be mailed through EMS.
** To pick-up a passport, you must bring your notification of passport pick-up together with your I.D card.
If you can't go in person you can designate a representative. The representative must bring:
- The notification of the passport pick-up date
- The I.D card of the applicant and the representative
- a certified copy of the representative’s I.D.card
- Foreign nationals can't collect the passport of a Thai national
It really is an extremely efficient service. The entire process took one hour, tops.
It's comfortable there, clean; there's food, coffee, TV, plenty of toilets and photocopying facilities, and even a nice mural to look at if you walk straight at the top of the escalator.
Taxis stop regularly outside so you'll have no trouble getting home. I'm not sure what the nearest BTS/MRT station is but it's not close.
Thai Passport Office Address
Chaeng Watthana, 13 Yaek 3-2-15,
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Post Update: I recently got a Thai passport for my daughter at Chaeng Wattana government complex. It was an even faster experience than the last time I went for my wife. They've upgraded the passport centre with lots more booths, and as such the processing time is extremely fast. We were done in 30 minutes and the whole experience was a walk in the park.
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