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Toby Keps

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

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Backpacked across Thailand and Cambodia in 2019

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Asia > Cambodia > Useful Info
Updated on Feb 01, 2020 Useful Info

How to get a tourist visa to Cambodia (detailed guide)

Summary:

  • Most people need to get a tourist visa to Cambodia. You're only exempt if you hold the passport of one of the Southeast Asian countries, Hong Kong, or Hungary
  • You can get the tourist visa with either 1) Visa on Arrival ("VOA"), or 2) e-Visa, neither of which requires application at a Cambodian embassy/consulate. VOA is done at the port of entry and e-Visa is done online. However, citizens of a dozen or so developing countries are required to make embassy/consulate application
  • Most people get the VOA because it doesn't require any preparations ahead of time and is slightly cheaper than e-Visa. You get the VOA when you land in Cambodia for $30USD. However, e-Visa is growing rapidly in popularity and it can save you a lot of hassle at the airport. If you're going to Cambodia by land, then e-Visa is highly recommended to avoid having to deal with the extremely corrupt land borders officials


Details:

  • Cambodia requires tourist visa for nationals of most countries in the world. You're only exempt from having to get a tourist visa if you're a citizen of Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Hungary. Everyone else need to get a visa to visit Cambodia for all purposes, including tourism. See this list from Cambodian Embassy website to the US (https://www.embassyofcambodiadc.org/faq.html):User submitted photo of CambodiaUser submitted photo of Cambodia
  • However, this doesn't mean you need to mail in an application to a Cambodian embassy. Only citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Nigeria need to apply for a visa at their local Cambodian embassy/consulate (https://www.embassyofcambodiadc.org/how-to-get-a-visa.html)
  • Everyone else can take advantage of either Visa on Arrival or e-Visa, both of which are very easy to get and relatively hassle-free. Below are the details on how to get these two types of tourist visas


How to get the Cambodian Visa on Arrival ("VOA"):

  • As you can guess from the name, you get the VOA at the airport when you land in Cambodia (or at one of the land borders and ports). You're pretty much guaranteed to get the visa on arrival, but make sure you have at least 2 blank visa page and more than 6 months until your passport expires. You're at risk of being denied entry if your passport doesn't meet these requirements, or you might be pressured to pay $30-$50USD in "fees" (bribes) to get it in addition to the regular visa fees
  • Eligibility: anyone can get the VOA if they arrive by air at Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville or by land through one of these land borders, AND they're not from Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan or Nigeria. You don't need a VOA if you're from one of the countries that are visa exempt
  • Cost: $30USD is the official price of the VOA, but there's always a chance you'll end up paying some additional fees/bribes
  • Payment methods: officially only cash US dollars is accepted. If you absolutely don't have USDs on you, they'll settle for some other currencies (often Thai baht) at extremely unfavorable exchange rates that you'll end up paying the equivalent of up to $50USD. So it's imperative that before you fly out to Cambodia, exchange some USDs. Finally, it's a good idea to bring some extra just in case, I suggest having $50-$100 in USD cash, all in $10 and $20 bills
  • What to prepare with you before you depart for Cambodia:
  1. Cash USD: at least $30USD, but more is recommended
  2. Passport: with at least 2 blank visa pages and valid for at least 6 more months
  3. Two passport photos: the official guideline is 4cm by 6cm, but whatever your own country's passport application photo size is fine. Must be taken in the last six months. If you don't have this, the immigration official will just scan your passport photo but they will charge you extra "fees" which is not officially set and can be as low as a few USD or as much as $5-10USD depending on the mood of the official
  4. The name and address of the hotel/hostel/accommodation you're staying at in Cambodia
  5. Your outbound flight ticket out of Cambodia: either saved on your phone ready for offline viewing, or printed out on paper
  6. A pen: you'll need to fill out some forms when you land in Cambodia to get the VOA
  • Guide to getting the VOA after you land:
  1. You need to first fill out the VOA application form. The flight attendants should give out this form on your inbound flight, but if they don't you can get it at the airport. The form looks like this and is very easy to fill out:User submitted photo of Cambodia
  2. Once you've filled out this form, go to the VOA counter to wait in line. This counter is separate from (and before) the immigration counter, so make sure you get into the correct line. There are signs for "Visa" or "Visa on Arrival" to indicate this counter, and if you're confused just ask an official to point you to the right direction
  3. When it's your turn, simply hand over your 1) completed VOA application form, 2) passport, 3) 2 passport photos, and 4) $30USD cash. The agent will take all these and tell you to wait on the side
  4. You will then have to step aside and wait for 5-15 minutes. During this time you won't have your passport with you so it can be a little stressful, but rest assured as far as I know no one has ever not gotten their passport back. Once it's processed, they will call out your name, at which point you go to the counter to collect your passport with the visa glued to one of the pages inside
  5. After you have the VOA, then you'll need to go through the regular immigration line. You need to fill out the Arrival Card, which you get either on your flight or at the airport. It looks like this (it's attached with the departure card, but you don't need to fill out the departure card portion until you leave Cambodia):User submitted photo of CambodiaA lot of the information you have to fill out on the Arrival Card is the same as you've filled out on the VOA application form. In the "Visa No" field you write down the number from the visa on arrival you just received in your passport
  6. Get into the regular immigration line, and then when it's your turn hand over your passport and the Arrival Card to the agent. Then after that you'll get a stamp in your passport and let through to the baggage claim area. Pick up your bags, go through the customs, and then you'll be in Cambodia


How to get the Cambodian e-Visa online:

  • In addition to the VOA, Cambodia also offers e-Visa. This is where you make an online application before you go to Cambodia, pay by credit card or mobile payment, get the visa emailed to you, print out 2 copies the visa to give to the immigration officials when you enter Cambodia. This has been available since 2006, but in recent years it's been growing more popular after the Cambodian government updated the official e-Visa application website to be very user friend and easy to use. If you're going into Cambodia by land from Thailand, Vietnam or Laos, I strongly recommend you get the e-Visa instead of Visa on Arrival, because these borders are known to be very corrupt and hard to deal with if you have to get the VOA (check out these reviews for one of the main land borders)
  • Eligibility:
  • You're eligible for the e-Visa if you're not a citizen of Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan or Nigeria
  • AND, you must arrive in Cambodia by air at Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, or by land through Cham Yeam (with Thailand), Poi Pet (with Thailand), Bavet (with Vietnam), Tropaeng Kreal (with Laos). Check the official e-Visa website for the current list of ports of entries accepting e-Visa
  • Again, you don't need an e-Visa or any visa if you're from one of the visa exempt countries listed at the very top
  • Where to apply: you can apply on the official government e-Visa website (https://www.evisa.gov.kh). There are third party agencies that can help you apply, like iVisa, but I don't think it's necessary because the application and payment through the official website is so straightforward. Plus, there are many fraudulent third party sites so to minimize the risk I suggest the official site
  • When to apply: I suggest applying 2-3 weeks before your flight to Cambodia. The e-Visa takes up to 3 business days to process and is valid for 90 days from the date of issue. So you should apply no earlier than 90 days and no later than 4 business days before the date of your arrival into Cambodia
  • Cost: $36USD. This is $6 more expensive than the VOA
  • Payment methods: the official e-Visa application website accepts credit card payments from Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Diners Club, and UnionPlay, plus mobile payment with Alipay
  • What to prepare before your application:
  1. A scan of your passport information page: your passport must have at least 6 months of remaining validity; acceptable format are JPEG, PNG, or PDF and file size must be less than 2 megabytes
  2. A JPEG or PNG passport photo of yourself: size of the photo should be 4cm by 6cm, or whatever size your own country's passport photo size requirement is; file size must be less than 2 megabytes. Here's the official photo guideline:User submitted photo of Cambodia
  3. The address of your hotel/hostel/accommodation in Cambodia: this information will be asked on the application form. If you haven't booked your accommodation, don't worry about it just put down whatever hotel you plan to stay at. The application form doesn't need confirmation number or anything, just an address which they will not verify
  4. Your intended date of arrival into Cambodia: if you've already booked your flight into Cambodia, use that date. If you don't have a flight booked, it's totally ok, just put down an estimate of when you plan to get into Cambodia. Your visa's validity has nothing to do with this date; you're allowed to stay in Cambodia for up to 30 days from when you actually land in the country, not when you intend to arrive (however, keep in mind that the e-Visa is still only valid for 90 days from the date of issue, so if you apply too early and enter the country on the 80th day from visa issue, then you can only stay in the country for 10 days instead of 30 days unless you file for a 30-day extension which you're allowed to do from within Cambodia)
  5. Port of entry: on the application form you have to choose which airport or land border you plan to get into Cambodia. Again, if you've already booked your flight/bus then this is an easy question. But if you don't have your itinerary booked yet, just put down the port of entry you'll most likely use. If this changes later, you don't need to make another application, just shoot them an email and they'll change it for you in the system
  • How to apply:
  1. Go to the official e-Visa website at https://www.evisa.gov.kh and click "Application"
  2. Follow the instructions on the screen. Here's the main application form and all the information you'll be asked to fill out:User submitted photo of Cambodia
  3. Make the payment through the website with one of the accepted credit cards or mobile pay that I listed above
  4. Submit your application and save the reference number
  5. Wait for the e-Visa to be emailed to you within 3 business days. You can check the status of your application through the website as well with the reference number and email
  6. Once you have e-Visa in your inbox, print 2 copies of it (preferably in color but black and white is okay) and bring both with you to Cambodia. The immigration official will take one copy, and the other copy will be stapled to your passport where you must keep it for the duration of your stay in Cambodia. This is what the e-Visa looks like:User submitted photo of Cambodia
  • When you get to Cambodia:
  1. After you land, go straight to the immigration line (you don't need to go to the "Visa" counter/line before the immigration because that's for Visa on Arrivals which you don't need with e-Visa)
  2. You will need to fill out the Arrival Card, which you get either on the plane or at the airport/land border, and looks like this (the right side is the Departure Card which you only need to fill out when you leave the country):User submitted photo of CambodiaIn the "Visa No" field you write down the visa number written on your e-Visa
  3. At the immigration counter, give the agent your 1) passport, 2) both copies of the e-Visa, and 3) completed Arrival Card
  4. You will get a stamp and a copy of the e-Visa stapled in your passport. Proceed to baggage claim and go through customs. Then you'll be in Cambodia
  • How long you can stay in Cambodia: e-Visa allows you to stay in Cambodia for tourism purposes for 30 days. But when you're in the country you can apply for a 30-day extension (you can do that through a local travel or immigration agency, or DIY at a local police station or immigration bureau)