Getting a Cambodian visa

kh-visaNearly everyone needs a visa for Cambodia and happily they’re easy to get.

You can pick up a visa at any land border or, amazingly for a relatively undeveloped country, you can apply for an e-visa online.

To get a visa on arrival, you’ll need a couple passport photos and money for the visa fee, either in U.S. dollars or Thai baht. The cost of the visa is $20 U.S. in theory but in practice customs officials may try all sorts of tricks to get a little more out of you.

The most common scam is telling you the fee is $20 U.S. or 1,000 Thai baht. Since many people coming from Thailand don’t have dollars on them, they pay in Thai baht but 1,000 Thai baht is actually closer to $30 U.S. – a nice profit for the border police. Police may also ask for money for “overtime” or tell you there’s an extra fee to give the entry stamp, which is actually part of their normal job.

All of these scams are most likely to happen if you’re coming in via the busy border crossings with Thailand. We entered from the north and had no problems paying $20 U.S. for our visa but you must have exact change.

If you want to avoid all this hassle, go with the e-visa. It costs $25 U.S. – a little more than if all goes well at the border – but it should make things a bit easier when you cross. The e-visa is only good at some crossings and airports so check before you buy one.

The standard tourist visa is issued for 30 days and can be extended once, although it’s more expensive to renew than it is to buy a new one. One month is plenty to see Cambodia’s main sights on a bicycle but if you really want to relax and take it easy it might be worth asking for a business visa at the border. The business visa costs $25 U.S. and it lasts longer and can be extended indefinitely.