You may or may not have heard of the possible difficulties in getting a Cambodian visa on arrival. Whilst arriving by air, it is possible to get the Visa at a flat rate, it takes time and can result in hours of waiting at the airport. Arrive by the land you are susceptible to the many visa scams apparent at borders. The following guide will show you exactly how to go about acquiring your visa, in the simplest and most time effective manor.
The Trek Trendy Recommendation
Cambodia is a beautiful and incredible country, though a visa is necessary for all non-Cambodian citizens to enter. Our overall recommendation is to get an E-Visa before arriving in the country. This is easily obtainable on the Cambodian Visa website HERE. Make sure you leave at least a week before travelling in order to get this processed. Once approved you are able to print out your visa and then take this with you. E-Visa’s can be used on entry via land or via air. The only downside is that they are more expensive than the official border prices. The cost breakdown is US$20 for the Visa, US$5 for the processing charge and then US$3 bank charge, total of US$28. This WILL save you time whether you cross the border through an airport or land border crossing. We have however covered the other options for you, detailed below:
Entering by Air (i.e. Siem Reap / Phnom Penh Airports)
Arriving by air without a prior E-Visa, you will be required to get a Visa-On-Arrival. This in an ideal world is a straight forward enough process, however from experience we have found Cambodian immigration to be a tad sluggish! Firstly you need to make sure you have US dollars on you, if not there are ATMS available, however we have been there before and they have been out of order, proving difficult if you have no other means of accessing your money. Have at least US$30 as a safety net. Also make sure you have a passport sized photo with you or else you will have to pay US$5 for the pleasure of the customs official photocopying your passport. After landing you will be shuttled to immigration. You will have to firstly pay US$20 to customs officials for the visa, the details of which they will obtain from your passport and landing card. This process can take between 30 minutes to well over an hour at busy times.
Our Tips: > Bring US Dollars with you > Bring a passport photo with you > Don’t pay in other currencies as you will get a very poor exchange rate
Arriving by Land
The official cost for a land entry visa is US$20, and as with air entry, you will have to pay US$5 if you don’t have a passport sized photo to hand. Now here’es the tricky bit, whilst the airports are relitively corruption free, the land borders are corrupt as they come, you will witness many touts offering VIP visas, claiming to be official representatives of the Cambodian border force. Many wear uniform and seem legitimate, but we assure you, anyone who approaches you before you have passed through the Thai / Vietnamese / Laos border and had your passport exit stamp, will be attempting to ‘hoodwink’ you into paying more. They will do their best to claim there is no other chance to get your visa and insist you get the visa with them, again ignore them. We have heard reports of people being charged upwards of US$50, which is unacceptable. Therefore only pay the official US$20 when you have had your exit stamp in your passport. Thousands get caught out by this scam yearly, and it’s such a shame to have such a poor start to an incredible country.
Our Tips: > Only pay US$20 for your Visa > Only part with your money for the Visa once you have your exit stamp from the country you’re leaving >Don’t pay in other currencies as you will get a very poor exchange rate.
So you see, the bottom line is it may cost a few dollars more by getting an E-Visa, but it makes more sense, by ensuring your trip is more relaxing, enjoyable, with no long waiting in immigration!