(6 February) The Department of Consular Affairs will increase quota for passport registrations per day amid ongoing shutdown of its main office on Chaeng Wattana Road.
The Department′s headquarters have been closed down by anti-government protesters since 13 January, and venues for passport application have been appointed at Bang Na and Pinklao districts.
Due to the disruption to its operation, the DCA was forced to dramatically scale down the numbers of passports they could process to 3,650 cases per day, causing long lines to form at registration venues.
However, following a negotiation with the People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD), DCA is allowed to send its technicians into its HQ, where they will reboot the online application and automatic query system which links the HQ with other DCA offices, both in and out of Thailand.
The DCA plans to test the system on 7 – 9 February and the network is expected to operate as usual soon afterward.
"Consular Office should be able to start issuing passport with the capacity of 7,000 per day," if the system operates smoothly, the DCA said in a statement.
While the DCA main office at the Government Complex will remain closed until negotiation with PCAD is achieved, its smaller offices at the Ministry Labour, Surat Thani, and Phuket would be opened to the public on Monday, the statement says.
In order to facilitate the public, DCA will also open its temporary office at Lotus Hall, Sirikit Convention Centre, on 10 February onward, with the capacity of 600 passports a day.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted that it still has more than 5,000,000 passports in reserve, which will allow the production of 6,500 passports per day, each of them valid for 4 years.
Nevertheless, those who do not urgently require new passports should wait until the system is fully operated, DCA said in the statement.
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