Cambodia announces new retirement visa

Update: please see our page about Cambodia visas for more information about the ER retirement visa

The Cambodia Daily has reported today that Cambodia will be offering a new visa for retirees. The category ER visa is a retirement visa that will (possibly) start being issued on Monday, August 1st, 2016.

Here’s what we know about it so far:

  • It’s a one year, renewable visa.
  • ER visa holders will not require a work permit.
  • In order to apply for an ER retirement visa, foreigners will need to show proof of financial stability and retiree status from their home country.
  • Those on the retirement visa, like other foreigners, will not be allowed to purchase houses or land.

Here’s what we don’t know:

  • How much the retirement visa will cost.
  • If there is a minimum age requirement to apply for the visa.
  • What constitutes financial stability and how it will be proven. Malaysia requires $37,000 in a local bank, and double that for applicants under 50 years old. Thailand requires $22,000 in a Thai bank.
  • What constitutes retirement status and what will be required to prove it. I would assume this would be a pension or social security, which would limit the applicant pool — at least for Americans — to the few professions that offer pensions these days, or those over 65.
  • Whether those on the visa are allowed to do part-time work, and if they will require a work permit to do so.
  • Whether it will be possible to get the visa on arrival, or if it will require visiting an embassy or getting an “ordinary” visa and converting it once in-country.

So, is the Cambodia retirement visa worth it?

Right now, the answer would appear to be no. The one benefit is that the work permit requirement is waived, but since for the most part they only been requiring it for those working at large companies, most retirees have not been affected by the requirement.

The downside of the retirement visa is requiring proof of financial stability and retiree status. Many may feel uncomfortable providing the Cambodian government the details of their bank accounts and savings in their home country, and probably for good reason. All worldwide income is taxable in Cambodia for those who spend more than 182 days per year in the country. Although it’s not clear if pensions are included, reporting those pensions may open retirees up to Cambodia tax obligations. Proving retirement status might be difficult, depending on your own personal circumstances.

Malaysia has a robust retirement visa, called the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ program. Although it requires a sizeable deposit in a Malaysian bank, the visa is ten years and allows visa holders to purchase residential homes, as well as providing a national identity card. Any income received outside of Malaysia is not taxable.

By contrast,  as it’s currently announced the Cambodia retirement visa grants holders no specific rights. For those looking for a proper retirement (as opposed to day-drinking at Golden Sorya Mall), it is a big risk to sell their home and uproot their lives for a year-long visa and no guarantees that the visa program will continue or that individual visas will be extended.

On the other hand, if the requirement for work permits become universally required in the future, Cambodia’s retirement visa might be a good bet for those who qualify. And, it’s very possible that the terms of the retirement visa may change in the coming weeks and months, as they iron out the kinks and see how many foreigners apply.

44 Responses to Cambodia announces new retirement visa

  1. Aitch Hagars says:

    (ED NOTE: FOR A THAI VISA) Go to Queen Victoria Hotel ,Soi 6 Pattaya. Visa section. Age over 50 you qualify for retirement visa. Give em your Passport and 23000 baht. Collect your 15 months visa same day.You don’t even need to g0 to immigration.Done deal.

  2. Adrian says:

    It’s much less if I were to do the paperwork myself, but I prefer to leave it in the hands of a Migration agent.

    They do the lot, plus free 90 day checks as a service.

  3. Cathie says:

    For US citizens: Upon entry to Cambodia via Phnom Penh Airport, have a passport phot and 35USD handy to pay for a one-month business visa. You don’t need to provide proof of any business. Then, during that month, apply for a one-year business visa. No retirement visa needed.

  4. Susayn says:

    Yes, it seems clear that as Ennis says, you can get a one year retirement visa in your own country for Thailand without proof of income or assets in a Thai (or any other bank.)But to extend that visa in Thailand for another year, as Lina says, you need proof of income and funds deposited in a Thai bank. So, Ennis said he would enjoy his one eyar and drop off to somewhere else! No contradiction at all! Both are right1

    • vincent says:

      Wish we could stay on topic with the Cambodian retirement visa but seem to have drifted to Thailand. Anyway thanks for the info.

  5. Russ says:

    I know personally many people living in Thailand on a Retirement Visa. It is good for these people and good for Thailand. The retirees bring foreign capital into the country to boost the economy and are quiet living people many of whom assimilate very quickly into the local communities. Cambodia should look to this successful visa legislation.

      • Vincent says:

        I had a Thai one year retirement visa a few years ago and it was rather expensive (about 23K baht) although I did opt to have a service do all the work. Assets in a Thai bank as well as other financial requirements made it hard to do alone. All this was pre junta.
        Additionally you still had to pay extra for multiple entry and still had to do the 90 day reporting. I hope Cambodia does not follow too closely.

      • Kay says:

        It’s now 2017. May. Does anyone know the cost of the retirement visa. Do I have to have money in the bank and Cambodia? Do I need my Social Security letter? What is required and what are the costs and how do you renew? Thank you I’m asking about Cambodia not Thailand by the way.

        • Lina says:

          The cost of the retirement visa is the same as the regular visa. Right now there are no actual requirements as it’s decided on a case by case basis, but you must give the impression of being retired, and having evidence of a pension or social security payment is a plus.

  6. Steven Reed says:

    I wonder how this will fit in with the new up-to-three-years multiple-entry on-arrival visas announced yesterday and starting 1 September. A lot of plans but no action?

  7. Vincent says:

    Thank you thank you! I am hoping my current visa, which is good until April next year, will suffice while the dust settles. Keep us posted please.

    • Lina says:

      I feel your pain. If your income is Cambodia-based, you can set up a company here and pay yourself a salary so it won’t be taxed in the US. I haven’t heard of them enforcing worldwide income taxation in Cambodia yet, but that’s probably only because they don’t have the means to do so yet.

      • Rod Monroe says:

        Well I just got divorced in USA , my ex wife is a cardiac surgeon , so considering I put her through school , and then after she has nice business , she decided enough of me , but she does have to give me a very nice check each month ,for the rest of my life, ha so I do have to pay USA taxes on that , so I will just stick to e visa , thank you and I will keep in reading to see if this retirement visa might favor me , but thanks for help , I love Phnom Penh , so hoping I can still stay as long as I want , looks like e visa is way to go

      • Andrew says:

        As a US citizen employed by a foreign company, you would be exempt from MedFICA, yes. The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion of $102,100 in 2017 would apply whether you were a foreign employee or not provided you qualified. However, if the foreign company you owned and worked for (ie: your Cambodian company example) was based in a taxable jurisdiction, it would have to pay tax. Surely, it would be easier to pay the 15.3% self-employment tax in the United States than deal with the hassles of tax and accounting in Cambodia… or set up a foreign company somewhere else.

        • Lina says:

          I’m not sure if I get you. If you are working in Cambodia as a self-employed person or own a business and you’re an American, you are liable for tax in Cambodia as well as the self-employment tax in the US.

  8. Rod Monroe says:

    Wonder if I show I have like random number here , but 500gs in a 401 k plan? If that would be enough so I don’t have to tell my monthly income , I’m retired wanting to stay in Cambodia , for 6- 8 months at a time , just a thought ?

    • Lina says:

      Unfortunately we just don’t know yet. Both Malaysia and Thailand require funds in a local bank account, so it seems likely that Cambodia will, too. Also, Cambodia will require (allegedly) proof of retirement status, and I’m not sure if a fatty 401k will suffice.

      • Ennis says:

        Hi Linda
        When I retired in Thailand aged 67 a few weeks ago; on a retirement visa, I was NOT required to have ANY funds in Thailand or even to have a Thai bank account. My visa was issued in Australia. It is a one year Multi entry.
        Regards

          • Ennis says:

            Unfortunately you are wrong. I do know the type of visa I have AND have had many, over many years.

            I did my first 90 day report on my CURRENT retirement visa yesterday in Lamphun, Thailand.

            If you read the link you posted you will see that it is NOT a requirement. You are confused with extending a visa – something I did not do.

            I may spend a year or two back home or elsewhere before I apply – once again, from my home country, after this one expires – just like I did with my last one.

            Regards

            • Lina says:

              I’m reading the link and it clearly states that you need to submit paperwork showing 800,000 baht in the bank to get the visa (or 65,000 monthly income). If you’ve found a way around that, I’m happy for you, but that doesn’t change what the requirements are.

              • Ennis says:

                You are simply wrong

                But it is becoming clear that you are incapable of admitting that.

                Still the link you posted is there for others to read – hopefully they will read it and not be misled by your statements.

                Regards

                I have nothing more to say on this as it is pointless. Go ahead you have my permission to have the last say.

                  • DavidB says:

                    Ennis is correct. Lina is wrong. The funds can be in an overseas account when applying for the visa from overseas.

                    If applying from Thailand, or extending in Thailand, the funds must be in a Thai bank account.

                    I have done all three of the above.

                    • Lina says:

                      I thought Ennis was arguing that one didn’t need to have the funds, period, not the location of the funds. I have no idea where the bank account needs to be, just that savings are required.

                  • DavidB says:

                    And Vincent is wrong too. The facts of law and the reality of what happens are exactly the same, and strictly applied, when it comes to this issue (though they can certainly be different for many other issues include other Thai immigration regulations.)

                    • Steve says:

                      You have to show proof of funds or proof of income when you apply, but those funds or that income can be anywhere in the world if you apply from your home country. I’ve done it that way. Once you’re in Thailand and applying to *extend* your visa you have to show proof of assets in Thailand or some sort of evidence that you have an income (from abroad, such as a pension) equal to 65K baht/month

                    • Vincent says:

                      We are off topic anyway as this is for Cambodia visa. So go discuss your points at another site. Thanks for the constructive comments.

              • Adrian says:

                You are quite correct Lina. The retirement EXTENSION is made annually, there is a 90 day reporting requirement and absolutely no working!

                • Vincent says:

                  You can pay a fee and a law firm will do everything for you in Thailand. Maybe 25000 baht for service and one year visa. Multiple entry will cost more maybe 2000 baht. If you want a referral let me know as my info might be out of date.

                  • Adrian says:

                    Thank you for that information. However, as funds are tight right now, I might stick to the Thai Retirement extension at 7000baht.

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