Crowds packed the newly reopened Thai Passport Office, which had been shut down by Bangkok political protests for three weeks.
The People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s siege of the Department of Consular Affairs in the capital had a domino effect on branch offices around the country. The Pattaya office at The Avenue galleria was closed from Jan. 13 to Feb. 7.
Within an hour of the office’s Feb. 10 reopening, all tables and counters were full. Waiting numbers ran out before 9 a.m., forcing anyone who arrived after that to come back the next day.
Big crowds swamp Pattaya’s passport office on the first day of reopening after having been closed for 27 days.
Director Chatchai Choochom said the office can only handle 168 people per day and no one is taken after 3:30 p.m. Even then, it’s not a firm number, he said.
“We still have to assess the situation day by day whether we can reach the target number or not since we have a small number of booths, insufficient officers and other problems,” Chatchai said.
Thais need only their identification card or birth certificate to apply. Office staffers will take the required photograph. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The fee for a new passport is 1,040 and passports are delivered via post within 5-7 business days. For more information call 038-422-438.