Deterring forgery and impersonation requires advanced printing and digital technologies that the Thailand 4.0 vision seeks to embody.

Even though the COVID-19 health crisis has severely disrupted the global travel industry, the government of Thailand has not sitting helpless in the past months.

In its ‘Thailand 4.0’ vision to develop an innovative digital economy, the government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has worked hard to develop a new e-passport and launched it on 5 August this year.

The newly designed 64-page biometric travel document includes an e-Cover and a thin, flexible data page made of polycarbonate. The reverse side of the data page features a high definition, UV-florescent picture of one of Bangkok’s most iconic landmarks, the Wat Arun temple.

The security features visible on the data page include an additional secondary image of the passport holder, perforated in the semi-transparent window; as well as the traditional Thai four-petal lotus symbol, the line-pra-jum-yam, embossed using a secure technique.

Forgery-resilient features

Designed to counter new forgeries techniques, the passport, designed with the help of DGM Consortium comprising Gemalto (a Thales Company), Data Products Toppan Forms Ltd., and MultiCert.

The document contains optical elements with light-reflective and simulated animation effects that are observable when the document is tilted at different angles. This visual security feature allows fast and efficient verification by border authorities.

An additional perceptible feature is found in the passport holder’s signature that is embossed on the data page. Also, biometric data is securely embedded into the passport chip using secure embedded software by Thales. This software provides strong security for identification and protection of citizens’ privacy.

image of different E Passports of Thai

The technological features of the passport are meant to facilitate secure and fast border crossing while complying with all relevant data protection laws in Thailand and remaining fully compliant with the highest security standards recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

Since the project’s inception on 8 July, Thales has trained 250 local experts in its passport issuance technologies. Over the next seven years, the firm will be facilitating knowledge-transfer and upskilling of more than 500 Thai nationals in its technologies. In addition, it will be providing its digital identity and biometrics expertise to the Thai MOFA.

Said Massimo Marinzi, Country Director, Thales (Thailand): “Throughout the last few months amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued our close collaboration with MOFA and worked tirelessly to deliver this milestone. Thai citizens now possess one of the world’s most sophisticated e-passports that integrate biometrics such in ID and other high-security features that will provide a seamless and secure travel experience. We will continue to build local expertise in passport issuance with training and transfer-of-technology aligned with our commitment to upskilling the Thai workforce as Thailand moves towards a digital future.”

Some 15 million of these technologically-advanced high-security e-passports will be delivered to Thai citizens over the next seven years.