Any trip through Southeast Asia almost always includes a stop in Cambodia to visit the legendary temples of Angkor Wat, but to get there, you'll likely need a visa to enter the country. A visa is required for almost all foreign nationals coming into Cambodia, except for citizens of the neighboring countries Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar, and the Philippines.
Luckily, Cambodia offers an easy-to-obtain e-visa for tourists that you can apply for and download online. The e-visa allows visitors to enter the country one time for a period of up to 30 days, so if you plan to leave Cambodia and come back, you'll need to apply for an additional visa.
If you don't have time to apply for the e-visa—it can take up to three business days for processing—you can also get a visa on arrival when you arrive at the airport or cross the border from a neighboring country. Visas on arrival are also available for business travelers and individuals with Cambodian ancestry.
|Visa Requirements for Cambodia|
|Visa Type||How Long Is It Valid?||Required Documents||Application Fees|
|Tourist e-Visa||30 days||Scan of passport and photo||$36|
|Tourist Visa on Arrival||30 days||Passport, photo, cash in USD||$30|
|Business/ Ordinary Visa||30 days||Passport, photo, letter of invitation from Cambodian company, employment contract, proof of insurance, cash in USD||$35|
|Khmer Visa||Lifetime||Passport, photo, documentation showing relation to Cambodia||Free|
Without a doubt, the easiest way to enter Cambodia as a tourist is by applying online for the e-visa, known as the T class visa. It's a simple process that takes a few minutes to complete and while it can take up to three business days to be processed, most applicants receive their visas via email within 24 hours. In fact, the most complicated part is finding the official Cambodian visa webpage, since a Google search brings up several results for third-party companies that take more time and charge more money for the same visa (it can also be done via an app on your Apple or Android smartphone). If you're paying more than $36, you're on the wrong webpage.
Tourist visas allow visitors to enter the country once and stay for up to 30 days. They cannot be renewed, so you'll need to leave the country and apply for a new visa if you want to stay.
Visa Fees and Application
Once you're on the Cambodian visa webpage, the application itself is easy to fill out and very straightforward. Apart from entering your personal information on your passport, there are only a few other things you'll need.
- You'll need to upload a digital photo or scan of your passport as well as a digital photo of yourself on a neutral background. In both cases, a photo taken with your cellphone usually works.
- You'll also need to choose your port of entry, which is likely either the Siem Reap Airport or Phnom Penh Airport.
- If you'll be crossing via land from Thailand, Vietnam, or Laos, you'll have to choose the border crossing checkpoint you plan to use, since the visa is only valid for the crossing you indicate in the application.
- The standard visa fee of $30 is payable at the time of application, plus a $6 processing fee.
- Even though it's a little more expensive and you could save $6 by getting the visa on arrival, immigration is notoriously slow and you could be waiting for hours until you're allowed to pass through. The e-visa streamlines the process and is well worth the small additional fee.
- Most applicants are emailed their visas within 24 hours of submitting the application, although it can take up to three business days.
- When you get the email with your visa, it will instruct you to print two copies. You'll need one for entering Cambodia and another one for leaving, so don't overlook it.
Tourist Visa on Arrival
Tourist visas, or T class visas, can also be obtained on arrival in Cambodia. It's slightly cheaper than applying for the e-visa, but long lines and sluggish processing for visas on arrival are the norm, so the e-visa is usually your best bet. If you need to get to Cambodia in a hurry and don't have time to wait for the e-visa (it usually takes under 24 hours to process but can take up to three business days), then the visa on arrival is a convenient fallback.
E-visas are accepted at all of the airports in Cambodia, but not at every land border crossing. If you are crossing the border in a vehicle from Thailand, Vietnam, or Laos, you should confirm that your port of entry accepts e-visas; if they don't, you'll need to request the visa on arrival.
Visa Fees and Application
The visa application is nearly identical to the e-visa, but you'll download and print the form instead of filling it out online.
- Apart from the application, you'll need your passport and a physical passport photo, so make sure you have one before landing in Cambodia.
- The visa fee is $30 which must be paid in cash in U.S. dollars. Try to have the exact amount on hand, because it's unlikely you'll get change back. The airports have ATMs available but they don't always have cash available, so don't rely on them.
- If you're crossing at a land border, expect to pay another $1–$20 in "fees" to the immigration official. There's no official listing of land crossing fees, but since the official has the authority to deny your entry, your only option is to pay it.
For anyone who wants to stay in Cambodia long-term, you'll need to apply for an E class visa (not to be confused with the electronic "e-visa"). E class visas are also referred to as "business visas" or "ordinary visas," and they allow the holder to stay in Cambodia for extended periods of time. Ordinary visas initially last for 30 days, but can be extended once you're in the country for up to 12 months at a time.
There are four types of ordinary visa extensions: one for workers (class EB), one for people seeking employment (class EG), one for students (class ES), and one for retirees (class ER).
Visa Fees and Application
The ordinary/business visa is a visa on arrival (you cannot get one electronically before arriving). Make sure you have a filled out application, passport photo, and $35 in U.S. dollars. The visa on arrival is valid for 30 days, so you'll need to apply for the appropriate visa extension if you plan to stay longer. Visa extensions are granted for up to 12 months at a time, and only the six-month or 12-month extensions allow holders to leave and re-enter Cambodia.
- Workers (EB Extension): This extension is for those who are working, volunteering, or freelancing in Cambodia plus their immediate family members. You'll need a letter of employment from a Cambodian company or a letter stating you're self-employed with an official government stamp. Family members will have to show documents that prove the relation between them and the sponsor. This visa allows workers to live in Cambodia, but you'll still need a valid work permit to legally have a job in Cambodia.
- Employment Seekers (EG Extension): If you're looking for work in Cambodia, the EG extension lets you have up to six months to find a job and then convert the EG extension into an EB extension.
- Students (ES Extension): Essentially a student visa, you'll need to show a letter of acceptance into a Cambodian education program, plus proof of sufficient funds to support yourself.
- Retirees (ER Extension): Retired individuals who want to live in Cambodia can apply for the ER extension if they are over 55 and have proof of sufficient funds to live.
The extension must be applied for within 30 days of arrival and before your visa expires. The official way to do it is to visit the Immigration Department in Phnom Penh, which is next to the airport. The fees for the extension seem to vary arbitrarily, depending on the type of extension, the length of stay, and the official who helps you. For an extra fee, there are agencies all over the country who will submit the paperwork for you.
The Khmer visa, or K class visa, is a special lifetime visa for individuals with a family relation to Cambodia, typically the children of Cambodian emigrants. This is also a visa on arrival and you'll need the completed application form, your current passport, and a passport photo as well. Officially, you'll also need documentation that proves Cambodian ancestry, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or a photocopy of a Cambodian parent's passport. Unofficially, people have been able to get the Khmer visa by showing identification with a Cambodian last name and speaking the language.
The Khmer visa should be free of charge to eligible applicants, but immigration officials sometimes charge a "facilitation fee."
The penalty for overstaying your visa is a fee of $10 per day, for up to 30 days. Although you should never overstay a visa, if you need to stay longer by just a couple of days, the truth is that it's likely easier and less expensive to overstay your visa than to request an extension.
After 30 days, however, the penalties drastically increase. In addition to being liable for the mounting fees, you'll also risk imprisonment, immediate deportation, and a possible ban on being able to return to Cambodia.
Extending Your Visa
If you have a tourist visa—obtained electronically or on arrival—you are allowed to extend it one time for an additional 30 days. Just like requesting an extension to an ordinary/business visa, you can request the tourist extension in person at the Immigration Department in Phnom Penh or hire an agency to submit the paperwork for you. As with the ordinary visa, the fee for requesting an extension can vary, but it's usually between $30 and $50.