Everything you need to know about getting a visa to Cambodia.
You can get a long-term visa for Cambodia easily and renew it indefinitely without being sponsored by a company (or having any particular qualifications to do anything, in fact). This is certain to tighten up eventually, but for now Cambodia is one of the easiest countries in the world to emigrate to, visa-wise.
- Types of Cambodia visas
- Who needs a visa?
- How and where to apply
- Extending your visa
- Overstaying your visa
As a visitor to Cambodia, there are two types of visas available to you.
Types of Cambodia visas
Cambodian tourist visa. The tourist visa (T class) is best for those who know they will be staying 30 days or less.
The 30-day tourist visa is available to travelers in advance or on arrival (for most nationalities) for a cost of $30. The tourist visa is single entry only, and can be renewed once for an additional 30 days for a fee of $45. After that, tourist visa holders must leave Cambodia and come back to obtain a new visa. If you are planning on staying in Cambodia, don’t bother with a tourist visa and start with a renewable ordinary visa instead.
There is a minimum stay of 24 hours if the Cambodian visa is issued at the Siem Reap airport; otherwise there is no minimum stay.
Cambodian “ordinary” visas (E class). For anyone who is considering staying in Cambodia for an extended period of time, an E-class visa is the best option. Previously, there used to be only one E-class visa, known as the “business” or “ordinary” visa. In 2017 a new set of E-class visa types became available. (These are in no way related to the electronic visa, also confusingly known as the e-visa).
Anyone can get any of the four E-class visas. At the time of writing, there is no documentation required to apply for these visas. However, visa holders must be able to provide appropriate paperwork if questioned by the immigration police at a later date.
To get one of the following E-class visas, you will need to apply for a 30-day E-class visa (not an online e-visa) when you arrive. This is also valid for 30 days and costs $35. The difference between the ordinary visa and the tourist visa is that the ordinary one can be extended indefinitely. After 30 days, when you go to extend your visa, you can choose an EB, EG, ER, or ES visa.
The four E-class visas are:
EB visa. The EB business visa covers most Cambodia expats, including those who are working and their partners and children, freelancers, and those who do not fit in any other category. Be aware that the EB visa does not confer the right to work in Cambodia. In order to be legally employed, you will need a Cambodian work permit, but you do not need a work permit to get the visa. Once you have the EB visa, at any point in the future the immigration police may ask to see your business license, work contract, and work permit, or a letter confirming the purpose of your stay. This renewable visa can last for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months, although only the 6- and 12-month visas allow multiple entries.
EG visa. The EG visa is intended for those searching for employment, and can last 1, 3, or 6 months. At the time of writing, the employment requirements are not strictly enforced for the EB visa, so the EG visa is redundant, but if in the future the requirements for the Cambodia EB visa become more strict, the EG visa will be useful for new expats looking for a job.
ER visa. The new retirement visa is the most confusing and least documented of the E-class section. The requirements for the ER visa have not been clearly defined at time of writing, but it is meant for those of retirement age who can show documentation of retirement in their home country (such as a pension or Social Security) and prove that they have the funds to support themselves, although these requirements are currently sporadically enforced, if at all. It allows the work permit requirement to be waived, but in every other respect, it functions as an EB visa. The ER retirement visa can be issued for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months.
ES visa. The ES visa is a student visa. Anyone can apply for the ES visa. If asked by the immigration police, ES visa holders need to be able to show school transcripts or a record of school payments. The ES student visa can be issued for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months.
Once you have your first 30-day E-class visa for Cambodia, you can extend it from inside the country for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. It’s advisable to extend it for 6 or 12 months, as these visa types are multiple-entry. The 1- and 3-month visas are single-entry only, meaning that if you leave for a weekend trip to Vietnam, you’ll need to get a new Cambodian visa when you return.
It’s important to note that if you are planning on getting a visa on arrival, some airlines will not allow you to enter the country on a one-way ticket. If you are planning on getting a one-way ticket, give yourself extra time at the airport so that if your airline requires you to get a return flight you have time to either search for a cheap flight or bus ticket from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City or Siem Reap to Bangkok, or get a fully refundable flight that you can then cancel once you arrive in Cambodia.
Other visa types:
K-class visa. The K-class visa is for those of Cambodian descent who hold a foreign passport. It is a free lifetime visa, although you will almost certainly be asked to pay an unofficial “facilitation fee” to get it. Bring any documents that show that you have one Khmer parent, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, family book, or Cambodian ID card. A Khmer last name and ability to speak Khmer may be enough — along with a $20 bill, of course.
Cambodian visas for children. Since late 2016, all non-Cambodian children have been required to have an E-class visa to enter the Kingdom. The prices are the same as for adults. If the child has at least one Cambodian parent, they can apply for a free K-class visa.
B-class visa. The B-class visa, known as the “NGO visa,” is a free visa for employees of certain NGOs registered with the government. To get this visa, you will need to enter the country on an E-class visa and transfer to the B-class visa. Ask your employer if you are eligible, because not all NGOs qualify.
If you are caught using a visa for a purpose not allowed under that particular visa type, you will be fined $100 and required to leave the country within 7 days (so don’t get a retirement visa if you are working).
Who needs a visa for Cambodia?
Most foreign visitors will need a visa, including infants and children (the price is the same as for adults).
If you are from an ASEAN country and hold a passport from Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam, you do not need a visa to enter Cambodia for up to 30 days.
If you are from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, or Sudan, you are not eligible for a visa on arrival and will need to apply in advance at the closest Cambodian embassy in your home country. For citizens of these countries, the visa requirements are far more onerous. At a minimum, you’ll need a return ticket and sponsor letter or letter of invitation from an employer or organization.
Applying for a Cambodian visa
What you need to apply for a visa to Cambodia:
- A passport that is valid for at least six months and has at least one blank page.
- A passport-size photo. If you don’t have this, you can pay a $2 fee and they will scan the photo from your passport.
Where to apply for a Cambodian visa:
At the airport. If you’re from most countries, you can get a visa on arrival at the Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville airports. You do not need to do anything in advance — you’ll be given the paperwork on the plane and you just need to get in line on arrival with your passport photos, cash (in US dollars), and passport. There is an ATM at the airport in arrivals that dispenses US dollars if you don’t have any on hand. If you want to skip the visa line, there’s usually an official on hand who will speed you through immigration and customs for a “donation” of between $5 and $20.
At a Cambodian embassy. If you prefer to get your visa in advance — or if you are from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, or Sudan — you can visit your nearest Cambodian embassy.
At a land border crossing. You can also apply for a visa at the following Cambodian land border crossings:
1. Bavet international checkpoint: Moc Bai, Vietnam – Svay Rieng, Cambodia
2. Kha Orm Sam Nor international checkpoint (“Chau Doc crossing”): Ving Xuong, Vietnam – Kandal, Cambodia
3. Phnom Den international checkpoint: Tinh Bien, Vietnam – Takeo, Cambodia
4. Trapeang Phlong international checkpoint: Xa Mat, Vietnam – Kampong Cham, Cambodia
5. Ha Tien international checkpoint: Xa Xia, Vietnam – Prek Chak, Cambodia
6. O’Yadaw international checkpoint: Le Tanh, Vietnam- Ratanakiri, Cambodia
7. Trapeang Srer international checkpoint: Binh Phuoc, Vietnam – Kratie, Cambodia
8. Banteay Chakre international checkpoint: Binh Phu, Vietnam – Prey Veng, Cambodia
1. Cham Yeam international checkpoint: Hat Lek, Thailand – Koh Kong, Cambodia
2. Poipet international checkpoint: Aranyaprathet, Thailand – Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia
3. O’Smach international checkpoint: Chong Jom, Thailand – Oddar Meanchey, Cambodia
4. Chong Sa Ngam/Choam international checkpoint: Si Sa Ket, Thailand – Oddar Meanchey, Cambodia
5. Prom international checkpoint: Ban Pakard, Chantaburi, Thailand – Pailin, Cambodia
6. Ban Laem/Daung international checkpoint: Chantaburi, Thailand – Battambang, Cambodia
If you get your visa at a land border crossing in Cambodia, you can expect to pay between $1 and $20 in “fees.” If your bus company offers a visa service for an extra few bucks, it’s often better to pony up as it can save quite a bit of time (Learn more about how to cross the Poipet land border without getting scammed.)
Online. Another option is the Cambodian e-visa, which can be obtained online. It is only available to citizens of the countries for which visas on arrival are available (that is, everyone except those from the restricted countries listed above). It is only offered for the tourist (T class) visa and costs an extra $7 on top of the regular visa fees, and it is only available to those entering Cambodia at the Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports and the Bavet, Poipet, and Cham Yeam land border crossings. You can get your Cambodian e-visa online. More recently the government has added an additional $3 credit card processing fee, bringing the total price of the e-visa up to $40.
Extending or overstaying your visa
Extending your Cambodian visa
If you have a 30-day tourist visa, you can extend it once for an additional 30 days for a fee of $45. If you have an ordinary visa (E class) you can extend it for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months for between $45 and $300 depending on the length of the extension.
Currently, Cambodian visas cannot be renewed online.
Technically there’s an official way to extend your visa by going to this address:
Department of Immigration
322 Russian Federation Boulevard, opposite Phnom Penh International Airport
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Everyone who’s tried it this way recommends against it, though. The process can take ages, may require multiple bribes, and is just generally a pain.
The easy way to extend your Cambodian visa is to use any of the hundreds of local travel agents in town. They’ll take care of the paperwork for you; the process takes two business days.
- A passport that is valid for at least another six months
- A blank page in your passport
- One passport-sized photo
- Renewal fee in US dollars
A 12-month multiple-entry visa costs $275 to $300, depending on the fee added by the agent. The agent’s fee is usually somewhat negotiable.
Overstaying your Cambodian visa
It’s not advisable, but you can overstay your Cambodian visa at a cost of $10 per day, payable at Immigration on your way out of the country.
If you plan to only stay a day or two over 30, this is often cheaper than getting a visa extension. However, be warned that you’ll need exact change in US dollars. If you present immigration officers with a $20 bill for a $10 overstay, it’s likely that you won’t be given change.
It is possible to overstay for up to 30 days. After 30 days, overstayers are still liable for the $10 daily fee, but, depending on the length of the overstay, risk imprisonment, deportation, and future bans on entering the country.
This is an excerpt from Move to Cambodia: A guide to living and working in the Kingdom of Wonder. To learn more about 100+ topics that pertain to Cambodia expats, please consider buying the book.