Hong Kong residents perform self-service immigration clearance via the e-channel, Hong Kong, Sept 2, 2014. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
HONG KONG - Hong Kong and Thailand will launch mutual automated immigration clearance services from Sept 15, the special administrative region's Immigration Department announced on Friday.
READ MORE: Hong Kong to open trade office in Thailand
According to a government press release issued on Friday, eligible holders of a HKSAR electronic passport can use the automatic channels at both airports in Bangkok for arrival and departure clearance, without prior enrolment and free of charge.
Thailand is the fifth country to implement such arrangements with Hong Kong following Australia, South Korea, Germany and Singapore
The procedures include placing the bio-data page of the traveler’s HKSAR electronic passport on the document reader and scanning the barcode on their boarding pass.
When they enter the automatic channel, the visitor may have a photo taken as per instructions and place his or her left or right index finger on the fingerprint scanner for identity verification.
The processing time per person takes around 20 seconds.
Once processed, the traveler can leave the automatic channel and present their passport to a Thai immigration officer to be stamped.
Immigration Assistant Director Raymond Lok said the new arrangement would provide greater travel convenience for Hong Kong residents and Thai visitors, and would enhance trade, business and tourism links between the two places.
ALSO READ: CE calls for greater HK-Thailand cooperation
“With the mutual use agreement, both residents of the two places can easily pass through our immigration control, resulting in shortening the waiting time and the clearance time as well," Lok said.
Meanwhile, Thai passport holders can enroll for the e-Channel service in Hong Kong free of charge.
Thailand is the fifth country to implement such arrangements with Hong Kong following Australia, South Korea, Germany and Singapore.
HONG KONG NEWS