The Visa situation in Cambodia

The Visa situation in Cambodia

UNOFFICIAL INFORMATION, PLEASE REFER TO THE AUTHORITIES FOR THE LATEST UPDATES

Arriving in a country you never set foot in before can be a little bit tricky.   What’s the local culture and habits? What to visit? Where to eat? Where to find a reliable internet connection (well, this one is easy: at AngkorHUB!)   But before those questions even cross your mind, you face the first challenge as soon as you enter Cambodia.

What type of visa should you take and how to avoid to get scammed?

TLDR;

  1. There is free Wi-Fi at the airport (and pretty much everywhere in town);
  2. USD is the currency for a visa (and you can use everywhere in Cambodia);
  3. There are two ATM machines before the visa on arrival counter;
  4. You forgot the photos or it’s cheaper, the fine is 2 USD
  5. Ride-hailing apps cannot pick you up at Siem Reap’s airport, go outside to use it;
  6. GRAB accept credit cards (and the same app across Asia);
  7. The official transport counter, the rate is flat and no scams;
  8. Take a normal “Business” visa on arrival, it’s $5 more and gives you renewal flexibility for medium to long term stays, less than 2 months, take a tourist visa.
  9. Digital Nomads looking for options may want a Job Seeker Visa ($160, multiple entries)
  10. Planning for 6-12 months as a digital nomad or freelancer need an employment or supplier letter.
  11. Doing business? Create a business in Cambodia, it is not so hard, taxes are low, it feels good and you can have a work permit and visa with peace of mind;

You plan to stay in Cambodia for …

  1. Less than two months and don’t plan to exit the country during that time period.
  2. Less than two months and you plan to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.
  3. Two to four months and don’t plan to exit the country during that time period.
  4. Two to four months and you plan to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.
  5. For five months and you plan to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.
  6. For five months to one year and you want to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.
  7. More than one year and you want to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.

 

Your visa is going to depend on how long you’re going to stay in Cambodia and on what things you plan on doing.

We thus gathered (nearly) every scenario possible to help you in your visa quest and try to reduce its cost

Scenario 1A:

You plan to come to Cambodia for less than two months and don’t plan to exit the country during that time period.

Then, the cheapest option for you is to get the Tourist Visa on arrival (one month, $30) and to extend it if you require an extra month ($45-50).

Scenario 1B:

You plan to come to Cambodia for less than two months and you plan to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.

One or two getaways during your one month stay: get a Tourist visa on arrival (one month, $30), exit for your getaways then re-enter each time on a new tourist visa on arrival ($30). Total: $90

One getaway after exactly one month of your two months stays: get a Tourist visa on arrival (one month, $30), exit for your getaway before it expires, then re-enter on a tourist visa on arrival ($30). Total: $60

One getaway during the first month or during the second month: get a Tourist visa on arrival (one month, $30), exit for your getaway, get another tourist visa on arrival and then renew it ($45-50) or get a visa on arrival, renew it ($45-50), exit for your getaway then get another tourist visa on arrival ($30). Total: $110

Wanna feel like you can escape and come back whenever you want during your stay? Get a one-month business visa ($35) on arrival then renew it for 6 months ($155-160).

Total: $190-195

Scenario 2A:

You plan to come to Cambodia for two to four months and don’t plan to exit the country during that time period.

Then, the cheapest option for you is to get the Business Visa (a.k.a. “Regular” or “Ordinary” Visa) on arrival (one month, $35) and to extend it for three months ($75-80).

Total: $110-115

Note: You need a work permit to extend a normal visa for 3-6 months. 

Scenario 2B:

You plan to come to Cambodia for two to four months and you plan to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.

Wanna feel like you can escape and come back whenever you want during your stay? Get a one-month business visa ($35) on arrival then renew it for 6 months ($155-160).

Total: $190-195

Note: You need a work permit to extend a normal visa for 3-6 months. 

Scenario 3:

You plan to come to Cambodia for five months and you plan to take out-of-country getaways during your stay. 

You want to take one get away. Get a one month tourist visa ($30) on arrival, exit for your getaway, re-enter and get a business visa ($35) then extend it for three months ($75-80) or get a business visa ($35), extend for three months ($75-80), exit for your getaway, then re-enter on a tourist visa ($30).

Total: $140-145

Note: You need a work permit to extend a normal visa for 3-6 months. 

You want to take two getaways.  Get a tourist visa ($30), extend it one month ($45-50), exit for a getaway, re-enter on a tourist visa, extend it one month ($45-50), exit for a getaway, re-enter on a tourist visa ($30).

Total: $180-190. For $5, we suggest a business visa ($35) and a six months extension ($155-160).

Note: You need a work permit to extend a normal visa for 3-6 months. 

RECOMMENDATION: Arrive on a normal visa, extend as a job seeker visa, 6 months, multiple entries ~US $160. You just need a letter saying you are looking for work and will leave after if you don’t find any.

You want to take more than two getaways: you should definitely opt for the one-month Business Visa on arrival (one month, $35) and extend it for six months ($155-160). You can exit and re-enter the country as many times as you want!

Total: $190-195

Note: You need a work permit to extend a normal visa for 3-6 months. 

RECOMMENDATION: Arrive on a normal visa, extend as a job seeker visa, 6 months, multiple entries ~US $160. You just need a letter saying you are looking for work and will leave after if you don’t find any. This is perfect if you are a digital nomad as you can answer to test run from local businesses. 

Scenario 4:

You plan to stay in Cambodia for five months to one year and you want to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.

Then, you should definitely opt for the one-month Business Visa on arrival (one month, $35) and extend it for six months ($155-160). You can exit and re-enter the country as many times as you want!

Total: $190-195

UPDATE 2018 for 6-12 months visa. You need an employment letter. 

Find a company ready to sponsor you either an employee or freelancer.  Only a letter is required when at the tour agency to request it.

Scenario 5:

You plan to stay in Cambodia for more than one year and you want to take out-of-country getaways during your stay.

Then, you should definitely opt for the Business Visa on arrival (one month, $35) and extend it for one year ($285-290). You can exit and re-enter the country as many times as you want!

Total: $320-325 (You need an employment letter) 

Find a company ready to sponsor you either an employee or freelancer.  Only a letter is required when at the tour agency to request it.

Visa Requirements (Tourist & Business):

  • 1 passport-sized photo (2” x 2”) or a $2 fee, don’t worry, that’s what they prefer;
  • Passport with validity of at least six months from the expiry date;
  • Fees ($30 for tourist and $35 for ordinary “business” visa);
  • Visa Application Form (available at immigration office);

N.B 1: To legally work in Cambodia, you should also obtain a work permit ($100/year). We recommend considering it when working in Cambodia for an extended period of time of at least a year unless you are under the job seeker Visa for the first 6 months. You would need to be hired or do a visa run.

NB 2: Nationals of Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar and Singapore do not need a tourist visa and may stay in Cambodia for 14 to 30 days (depending on your country).

NB 3: Overstaying a visa currently costs $10 per day. Don’t wait the last minute to renew it, it’s also a dream moment for customs agents and it is … cash-only as you might have guessed.

We hope that you found what you were looking for in those scenarios!

FAQ

“Because of the possible scams with visas on arrival. Should I just do the e-visa?”

Note that the e-visa only applies to a tourist visa and is also only valid for 30 days within the three months after the date of issue.

We strongly suggest not to get the e-visa. It will automatically set you back $37 and there are still scams happening with the e-visas (mostly at the land crossings). Some immigration officers may state different reasons for refusing your e-visa, claiming that it should be printed (if you don’t have a printed copy), that there is something wrong with the application, that it is not accepted at this border or that it is simply not valid. Leaving you no choice but to purchase a visa-on-arrival.

Most likely you won’t have any problems having your e-visa accepted at the Phnom Penh or Siem Reap airports, but you are also less likely to be scammed there (meaning that there is no point of paying $37 when you will most likely pay $30 only on arrival).

What should I do if I’m asked any extra “service” or “administrative” fee by the immigration officer?”

Ignore the request, remain polite, smile and hand over the correct amount in dollars. If the officer is persistent, politely ask if he could explain what this fee includes (don’t forget your best smile). This will surely make him drop the topic.

Common visa on arrival scam include :

  • Charging you a huge “conversion fee” at the Immigration desk, to convert your currency into USD: so bring USD.
  • Being asked for a “tip” by the Immigration staffer, or a “red packet” money during festive seasons i.e. Chinese New Year. Remain polite, smile and hand over the correct amount in dollars.

“Should I just get my visa in advance at the embassy in my home country or at the embassy of a neighboring instead of on arrival?”

If you are a national of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, or Sudan, then you absolutely need to do it at your home embassy as the visa on arrival option isn’t unfortunately available for you. Otherwise, there is little benefit of getting a visa in advance as only the same 30-days tourist or business visa is offered outside of Cambodia. You would most likely be paying extra administrative fees when processing at embassies, travel agencies and visa application centers.

You finally arrived in Siem Reap in possession of the right visa!

Before you get out of Siem Reap airport, you might have no custom declaration cards because they always forget to give one. When you enter the airport, go straight on the left and look for a small desk when a guy handing custom declaration cards. Then go on the Visa on arrival counters with your filled paper.

Now that you are out, you need to make the trip for the Airport/bus station to the center of the city.

So here are a few tips :

Getting in by plane

  • Taxi
    • Taxis from the airport should be around $7. We suggest you book one at a prepaid booth just outside the terminal.
  • Tuk tuk
    • Remember that a tuk-tuk from the airport to Angkor Hub shouldn’t cost you more than $5 and are also available at the pre-paid booth
    • Don’t hesitate to ask us to book you an airport tuk-tuk pick-up.
    • Some tuk-tuk drivers taken at the airport may offer to be your local guide during your stay when dropping you off at Angkor Hub. The price offered may seem too good to be true. It usually is and when you find out at the end that he’s not sticking to his side of the deal, things do get awkward. Politely refuse and don’t hesitate to ask us to recommend you reliable tuk-tuk drivers for your sightseeing.
    • UPDATE – RIDE HAILING APPS: As of 2018, you can choose between PassApp and Grab to move in town, a safe and cheap way to reach your destinations. Grab advantage is that you can use your on-file credit card and use the same app all across Asia.

Getting in by bus

  • Know that you will most likely change buses at the Thai/Cambodia border. This is less common with buses from Vietnam. Stick with reputable companies. Checkout Camboticket (Bus, Taxi and Ferry).
  • Most buses terminate just east of town and a tuk-tuk ride in town should be $2-3. Some companies terminate near the old market in the center of town. Remember to ask about the drop-off point when you book.
  • Cheap bus companies may drop you off way further out of town forcing you to take a very long tuk-tuk ride into town. Stick with reputable bus companies.

 

Health

Remember to consult at a travel health clinic to get all your vaccines in and necessary meds prescribed.

Also, don’t forget to get an insurance covering you while traveling like SafetyWing, an insurance tailor made for digital nomads and globe-trotter with unusual work & living locations (affiliate link, but recommended for real!).

Usual immunization required

Hepatitis A & B, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies, Typhoid, Yellow Fever

Recommended medications (prescribed by a doctor):

Antimalarials and traveler’s diarrhea antibiotic

Recommended medications (over the counter):

Diarrhea medicine, antihistamine, motion sickness medicine, medicine for pain and fever, oral rehydration salts (can also be found in pharmacies in Cambodia), insect repellent.

We hope that you found all the information you need in this article. If we haven’t addressed one of your concern or if something is unclear, do not hesitate to chat with us 🙂

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