Thales has formally delivered a new e-passport for Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The company first announced that it was developing the document last August, when the Ministry placed an order for 15 million passports.
The new document was technically delivered on July 8, though it was not officially launched until an inauguration ceremony on August 5. The e-passports are part of the Thai government’s Thailand 4.0 mission to build a modern digital economy, and were ordered through the DGM Consortium, of which Thales is a member. Thales has already provided technology training for 250 local experts, and plans to train another 500 as part of the information transfer process.
“Thai citizens now possess one of the world’s most sophisticated e-passports that integrate biometrics and other high-security features that will provide a seamless and secure travel experience,” said Thales Thailand Director Massimo Marinzi. “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.”
The new e-passport stores the owner’s biometric data on a secure, embedded chip, while the data page features an embossed signature and a perforated photo of the document holder. That data page is made of flexible polycarbonate material, with a true color UV picture of the Wat Arun temple on the reverse side and other images embossed with Thales’ Secure Surface technology on the front. That Secure Surface technology is designed to prevent counterfeiting, and creates reflective and animation effects when the document is viewed at different angles.
Thales and MOFA worked remotely to complete the project during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thai immigration officials spotted eight fake passports in the first three days after implementing a new biometric screening system last fall. Technavio, meanwhile, has predicted that the e-passport market will jump more than $23 billion between 2019 and 2023.