|Cambodian immigration officials are now fingerprinting tourists upon arrival and departure. These fingerprints may end up in the hands of your country’s authorities or any other agency willing to pay for them. If you object, you may bribe the official (USD1-2 should be enough if you’re brave enough to attempt) or avoid the major entrance sites, such as airports, Poipet (on the Bangkok-Siem Reap route), Cham Yeam (near Koh Kong), and Bavet (on the Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh road). Hand scanners are not available at smaller crossings such as Ban Pakkard/Pshar Prum (for Pailin) and Chong Sa-Ngam/Choam (for Anlong Veng).|
Except for residents of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, all travelers to Cambodia need a visa. The official fee for a Tourist Visa is US$30 and US$35 for an Ordinary Visa, and residents of most countries may get a visa on arrival. Staff at certain border crossings (including airports) may attempt to charge extra, but stick to the stated fee, particularly at large crossings.
Visa on Arrival is offered at both international airports, all six international border crossings with Thailand, several international border crossings with Vietnam, and the major Laos border crossing. Visas are also available through Cambodian embassies and consulates.
- All tourist visas are valid for a single stay of up to 30 days. Those issued in advance have a 90-day expiration date. Tourist visas may only be renewed once in Phnom Penh (or through agencies abroad), for an extra 30 days at a fee of US$30.
- Ordinary visas or Type-E: the best option for stays of more than two months and/or numerous entries since they may be renewed indefinitely (about US$140 per six-month extension) and have multiple entry status when extended. The majority of Phnom Penh travel agencies handle the extensions. To acquire an Ordinary visa, foreign citizens from certain countries (such as India) must first seek authorization from the Department of Immigration or the Ministry of the Interior. Such tourists may also enter the nation on a tourist visa and then apply for such authorization at the Department of Immigration near Phnom Penh’s airport, which, if granted, will allow them to depart the country and re-enter on an ordinary visa.
To apply for a visa, you will need one or two passport-size (35x45mm) photographs, a passport valid for at least 6 months and with at least one fully blank visa page left, and clean US dollar bills to pay the cost (expect to pay a substantially higher price if paying in a local currency). Passport photocopies may be needed when applying at certain embassies/consulates, but not when applying on the spot. If you arrive at Phnom Penh airport (or perhaps other entry points) without a passport picture, they will scan the one in your passport for an additional US$2.
At Phnom Penh International Airport, go to the Visa on Arrivaldesk and enter the line on the left, where your application form will be evaluated (you should have been given the form on the plane). After that, go to the right and wait for your name to be called. After that, you pay for and get your passport along with the visa. Officials have difficulty pronouncing Western names, so be on the lookout for any of your names in your passport, as any of your given names or surnames may be called. Join the immigration line after you’ve been reunited with your passport.
There are many frauds in Poipet. One favorite is when Cambodian customs officials charge visitors 1,000 baht (about US$30) for a visa on arrival instead of US$20. Maintain your composure while being pleasant and smiling; they seldom persist. The penalty for not having a picture is often just US$1-2, although this is changeable.
Citizens of most countries may apply for an e-Visa online through the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, using a service offered by a private Cambodian business (CINet). This is a standard Tourist Visa, except it costs US$37 instead of US$30. Within three business days, the visa is sent to you as a PDF file. A digital picture of yourself is required for the application (in .jpg format). You may scan your passport picture or have a digital camera produce a passport-sized image of you. Other websites claim to be able to issue a Cambodian e-visa. At best, they are simply online travel companies that will charge you extra for the same visa; at worst, you may wind up with a forged e-visa.
You must print two copies of the PDF visa (one for entrance and one for departure), cut off the visa sections, and retain them with your passport.
Visas obtained in advance (either online or through an embassy/consulate) save time at the border but cost extra. You will, however, be able to bypass the lines of people waiting for their visas to be delivered, but you may find that the time saved is just spent waiting at the airport baggage belt for your suitcase.
E-Visas are only valid for entrance by air or at the three major border crossings: Bavet (on the Ho Chi Minh City-Phnom Penh route); Koh Kong (near Trat in Eastern Thailand); and Poipet (near Trat in Eastern Thailand) (on the Bangkok-Siem Reap road). However, you may leave the nation with an e-visa at any border crossing. Given the overall decrease in visa frauds at major land crossings, spending the additional US$7 to ensure the price may or may not be worth it (more likely if coming from Thailand). It is more probable to get a tourist visa on arrival for US$30 than to be overcharged. It also preserves the option of the pleasant Phnom Penh-Chau Doc boat excursion available.