Wonders never cease – with more ways and clarity on the options, getting a visa in the Kingdom couldn’t be easier
Do I need a visa?
In the majority of cases, the answer is yes. Most foreign visitors to the Kingdom will need a visa, including infants and children (see below*). To obtain a visa, you must have at least 6 months left on your visa before its expiration, and have pages to spare- as a Cambodian visa alone occupies an entire page.
If you hold a passport from one of the following ASEAN countries: Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam, you do not need a visa to enter Cambodia for up to 30 days.
*As of late 2016, all non-Cambodian children are required to have an E-class visa to enter the Kingdom, which also costs $30. Children with at least one Cambodian parent can apply for a free K-class visa.^
Types of Cambodia visas
Cambodia’s visa system is easy by default – there are only two main types available to visitors: T class tourist visas and E-class “ordinary” or business visas.
^ Nationals of certain countries are not eligible for visa on arrival and will need to apply in advance at their local Cambodian embassy. At the time of writing those countries are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, or Sudan. Visa requirements for nationals are far more rigorous- you will need to present a return ticket and sponsor letter or letter of invitation from an employer or organization based in Cambodia as minimum.
T-class or tourist visas
T class visas are a good fit for the majority of travellers arriving in the Kingdom who know that the duration of their stay will be 30 days or less. Tourist visas are available in advance from your local Cambodian embassy or on arrival for most nationalities for $30.
This is single entry only and may only be renewed once for an additional 30 days for $45. After those 60 days are up, tourist visa holders must leave Cambodia and come back to start all over again with a new visa. Therefore, if you plan to border hop during your 30 days or you’re toying with the idea of staying more than 30 days, start off with a renewable E-class visa.
If issued at Siem Reap International Airport, there is a minimum stay of 24 hours but for all other ports of entry there is no minimum stay.
If you plan to apply for a visa on arrival, it’s important to note that some airlines will not permit you entry on a one-way ticket. One way around this is to book a flight or bus from Phnom Penh to a nearby city such as Ho Chi Minh or Bangkok, opting for a refundable ticket, which you can then cancel once you arrive in Cambodia. It’s worth giving yourself a little extra time at the airport in case your airline requires such proof of a return journey.
E-class, or “ordinary”/business visas
If you intend in stay in Cambodia more than 30 days, start with an ordinary (E class) visa instead. At $35, it’s more expensive than a Tourist visa but it can be extended indefinitely in 1 month, 3 month (single entry), 6 months or 12 months (multiple entry) increments for between $45 and $300.
The official way to extend your visa is via the Cambodian Immigration Department (#332 Russian Boulevard), but the process is lengthy, so generally isn’t recommended! Instead, visit one of hundreds of travel agents in Phnom Penh who, entrusted with your passport, will extend it for you within two working days. The firm expat favourite is Lucky Lucky Motorcycle Shop #413 on Monivong Blvd. If you need a visa extension and want to rent a moto, why not leave your passport with them and kill two birds with one stone? Be advised however that in case of an accident while on the road, some health insurance policies require you to have a Cambodian driving license to make a claim.
B-class or NGO visa
Staying on to volunteer or work for an NGO? Then you may well qualify for a free visa! Note that this is only available to employees of certain NGOs registered with the government. To obtain this visa, you will need to enter on an E-class visa and transfer to the B-class visa.
^K-class or “permanent” visa
Those of Cambodian descent who hold a foreign passport are eligible for this free lifetime visa, which however may require an administration or processing fee to be obtained. Bring any documents which prove that you have one or more Khmer parent, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, family book, or Cambodian ID card to the Cambodian Immigration Department.
Although you don’t need to be conducting business to get an E visa, having one implies intention to work, for which you officially need a work permit (those with B-class or NGO visas are exempt), which also applies to K class visa holders. Temporary work permits are for most regular expats and last the duration of your visa.
What you need to apply for a visa to Cambodia:
- A passport which is valid for at least six months and has at least one blank page remaining.
- 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. Note that passport photos can come in handy for all manner of things in Cambodia, from hotel stays to driving licenses so travel with a number or stop into a photo shop near Independence monument for the most flattering passport photo you’ve ever had- most have a studio-type space with professional looking reflectors and lighting, with not a cramped photo booth in sight.
Where to apply for a Cambodian visa:
On arrival: At the airport
Nationals of most countries can get a visa on arrival at the Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville airport.
Most airlines give you the paperwork to fill out on the plane along with your landing or arrival card. Once in the airport building, proceed to the visa desks with your passport photos, cash (in US dollars), and passport.
In advance: Online or 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 local Cambodian embassy in person to apply for a visa.
But by far the easiest way to apply for a visa ahead of time is to do it online at the official website which is operated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Only the tourist (T class) visa can be obtained this way, cannot be renewed online and is only available to those entering Cambodia at the Siem Reap or Phnom Penh airport or the Bavet, Poipet, and Cham Yeam land border crossings. Purchasing an e (electronic) visa, not to be confused with the E-class visa, will allow you to breeze through customs, saving you the hassle and queues but expect to be an additional $10 for the privilege, bringing the total e-visa price to $40.
At a land border crossing
You can also apply for a visa on arrival at the following Cambodian land border crossings:
- Bavet international checkpoint: Moc Bai, Vietnam – Svay Rieng, Cambodia
- Kha Orm Sam Nor international checkpoint (or “Chau Doc crossing”): Ving Xuong, Vietnam – Kandal, Cambodia
- Phnom Den international checkpoint: Tinh Bien, Vietnam – Takeo, Cambodia
- Trapeang Phlong international checkpoint: Xa Mat, Vietnam – Kampong Cham, Cambodia
- Ha Tien international checkpoint: Xa Xia, Vietnam – Prek Chak, Cambodia
- O’Yadaw international checkpoint: Le Tanh, Vietnam- Ratanakiri, Cambodia
- Trapeang Srer international checkpoint: Binh Phuoc, Vietnam – Kratie, Cambodia
- Banteay Chakre international checkpoint: Binh Phu, Vietnam – Prey Veng, Cambodia
- Cham Yeam international checkpoint: Hat Lek, Thailand – Koh Kong, Cambodia
- Poipet international checkpoint: Aranyaprathet, Thailand – Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia
- O’Smach international checkpoint: Chong Jom, Thailand – Oddar Meanchey, Cambodia
- Chong Sa Ngam/Choam international checkpoint: Si Sa Ket, Thailand – Oddar Meanchey, Cambodia
- Prom international checkpoint: Ban Pakard, Chantaburi, Thailand – Pailin, Cambodia
- Ban Laem/Daung international checkpoint: Chantaburi, Thailand – Battambang, Cambodia
Overstaying your Cambodian visa
If you plan to extend your stay by just a day or two more than the 30 days of your visa, you can pay an additional $10 per day for the privilege, which works out cheaper than renewing (which remember, you can only do on an E class visa without leaving the country). it’s possible to overstay by up to 30 days and hand over the relevant cash at Immigration on your way out of the country, but be advised to have the exact change.
After 30 days, you are still liable for the $10 daily fee, but, depending on the length of the overstay and the agent in front of you, risk imprisonment, deportation, and future bans on entering the country.
Guide to applying for visas
- If you are entering Cambodia via a land border crossing in Cambodia, you can expect to pay between $1 and $20 in “fees” charged by the agent behind the desk. If your bus company offers a visa service for few extra dollars, this may save on time and headaches, or apply for your visa online as above and grin as you sail through customs at the the Bavet, Poipet, and Cham Yeam land border crossings.
- If caught using a visa for a purpose other than the one allowed for that particular visa type, you will be fined $100 and required to leave the country within 7 days.