I’ve now lost count of how many applications for Cambodia Tourist Visas I’ve done through 15-odd-years now travelling in Southeast Asia. Where my first times in Thailand I would be crossing the borders pretty much monthly on Visa Runs to renew my stay in Thailand. This more or less meant crossing the border to Cambodia (Aranyaprathet/Poipet), paying for a Cambodia Visa on Arrival, before crossing straight back again into Thailand. But every time I dreaded the border and the whole dealing with the somewhat dodgy officials on the Cambodian side. So these days (I’m too old for this…) I make the whole process simpler by applying for Cambodia Visas in advance.
Visa on Arrival?
But even when travelling by air I have had similar ongoing frustrations and I remember a more recent flight I boarded from Bangkok to Siem Reap to visit the rather magnificent temples of Angkor. This is obviously a big backpacker route and pretty much 99% were westerners, and, like me, they all arrived in Cambodia expecting to apply for a Visa on arrival. An entire plane-full of us. And while Fanfan (Thai) could easily just pass on through visa-free (ASEAN) she was forced to wait while I joined the queues to withdraw dollars from ATMs, to collect the forms, to pass around the Bics, before even reaching the immigration desk. A frustrating hour of my life wasted.
Cambodia Visa Applications
Apart from some designated countries that are required to get a visa in advance from the consulate in their country, there are plenty of options for the rest of the visitors intending to visit the Kingdom of Cambodia. Given below is all the essential information required for getting a Cambodian visa from Bangkok.
Types of Visas
- Tourist visa: (T class) best for those wishing to stay for 30 days or less. Cost is 30$ extendable for additional 30 days for 30$ to 50$.
- Ordinary visa: (E class) for those considering to stay in Cambodia for a longer duration. The four E class visas are EB visa extension, EG visa extension, ER visa extension and ES visa extension. Once your first 30 day E class visa is over, you can apply for any of these extensions for up to 12 months.
Advance Visa Requirements
Citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Nigeria need a visa in advance from their respective consulates to enter Cambodia. Other requirements include return tickets and a sponsor letter or letter of invitation.
Nationals of Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei, Darussalam and Myanmar can stay in Cambodia for between 21 to 30 days without a tourist visa.
- Tourist visa-one month (single entry)
- Business visa:
- One month (single entry)
- Three months (single entry)
- Six months (multiple entry)
- One year(multiple entry)
Fine for overstay $10 per day, payable at the Immigration on your way out of the country.
Online Visa Applications
To promote the Cambodian tourist industry, an e-visa system was launched in 2006 to apply for a single tourist (T class) entry. You can apply for the e-visa online at Byevisa and pay securely with credit card, debit card or PayPal. Validity is three months and length of stay 30 days or more. The e-visa processing time is a maximum of four business days, but it’s a good idea to apply at least a week in advance, just to be sure.
The e-visa facility is only for citizens of those countries for which visa on arrival is available. This is a constantly changing list, but the usual eligible countries include the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and EU members… The only nationalities not eligible are those above that need to get a visa ahead of time
eVisa Arrival Ports
The eVisa can only be used if entering the country at one of 7 points:
- Bavet (Svay Rieng)
- Cham Yeam (Koh Kong)
- Phnom Penh International Airport
- Poi Pet (Banteay Meanchey)
- Siem Reap International Airport
- Sihanoukville International Airport
- Tropaeng Kreal Border Post (Stung Treng)
If you are flying into Cambodia from Bangkok, you can get a visa on arrival at the Siem Reap international airport. Tourist visas are straightforward and easy to get but long-stay visa rules have been tightened recently. Please note that residents of African countries, though eligible, are often denied a visa on arrival.
If you are travelling overland from Bangkok you can get a visa at the Aranyaprathet side of the border at the Poipet international checkpoint. Note that the border is known for confusion, scams and delays and I avoid at all costs.
While applying for a Cambodian visa you need a valid passport with at least one blank page and six months validity and the visa fee in cash in US dollars.