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Global Game Changer: Thailand’s Department of Consular Affairs Unveils Revolutionary E-Services – From E-Passports to E-Visas!

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Consular affairs are essential elements of foreign services, playing a crucial role in maintaining strong international relations. Established in 1999, the Department of Consular Affairs operates under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and has evolved to adapt to globalisation, the rise of IT and digital technology, and changing geopolitical landscapes.

The Department of Consular Affairs provides a range of services, including passport issuance, visa facilitation, legalised services, and the protection of Thai nationals abroad. With a focus on improving services for the people and ensuring effective coordination with relevant authorities, the department has significantly enhanced its services over the years. Some notable advancements include reducing passport processing times, embracing online applications, and leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as cloud systems, blockchain, and chat GPT.

Below are a few examples of the department’s future plans:

  1. E-Passport: Streamlining the passport application process, the Department of Consular Affairs has introduced an online system, Self-Enrolment Passport Kiosks, and a new passport design featuring advanced security features. Thailand is the first country to utilise such technology, reducing wait times and offering a user-friendly experience.
  2. E-Visa: To expedite visa applications, the Department of Consular Affairs launched the Thai e-Visa system in 2019, with stickerless e-Visas introduced in 2021. The contactless application process allows applicants to complete the entire process virtually, including document submission and verification, approval, and payment. The second phase of the system aims to introduce improved cloud technology, multilingual support, and further integration with relevant authorities’ data.
  3. E-Legalisation System: As demand for legalising documents increases, the department introduced the e-Legalisation system. This paperless process allows applicants to submit documents electronically, ensuring authentication through electronic signatures and QR codes. Plans to explore the Apostille Convention are in the works to further streamline the process.
  4. Protection of Thais Abroad: The Department of Consular Affairs is dedicated to assisting Thai nationals residing abroad through initiatives such as the Rapid Response Centre (RRC). The RRC coordinates and responds swiftly to overseas emergencies and is actively engaged in combating scams and illegal employment abroad.

As part of its commitment to modernising services and emphasising a people-centred approach, the Department of Consular Affairs has introduced the Oversea Voting Monitoring System (OVMS) to provide efficient services embedded in digital technology. The department is also exploring initiatives within the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework, embracing sustainable development principles for public benefit.

In conclusion, the Department of Consular Affairs remains committed to delivering efficient and people-centric services by leveraging technology and adopting innovative approaches. For more information and updates on their initiatives, please visit the official website.

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