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.