Most visitors to Cambodia require a one-month tourist visa (US$20), although some visitors enter on a one-month business visa (US$25). Most nationalities receive a one-month visa on arrival at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports, and at land borders. One passport-sized photo is required and you’ll be ‘fined’ US$1 if you don’t have one. It is also possible to arrange a visa through Cambodian embassies overseas or an online e-visa (US$25) through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.mfaic.gov.kh). Arranging a visa ahead of time can help prevent potential overcharging at some land crossings.
Those seeking work in Cambodia should opt for the business visa as, officially, it is easily extended for long periods and, unofficially, can be extended indefinitely, including multiple entries and exits. A tourist visa can be extended only once and only for one month, and does not allow for re-entry.
Travellers are sometimes overcharged when crossing at land borders with Thailand, as immigration officials demand payment in baht and round up the figure considerably. Arranging a visa in advance avoids this potential problem. Travellers planning a day trip to Prasat Preah Vihear from Thailand do not require visas, but may be asked to leave their passport on the Thai side of the border to ensure they don’t continue on into Cambodia.
Overstaying your visa currently costs a hefty US$5 a day.
Visa extensions are issued by the large immigration office located directly across the road from Phnom Penh International Airport.
There are two ways of getting an extension (one official and one unofficial) and, unsurprisingly, the time and money involved differ greatly. Officially, a one-month extension costs US$35, three months US$65, six months US$125, and one year US$200; your passport will be held for 25 days and there will be more paperwork than a communist bureaucrat could dream up. This is fine for expats with an employer to make the arrangements, but those on their own really need to go unofficial. They don’t call it corruption in Cambodia but ‘under the table’, and you can have your passport back the next day for the inflated prices of US$45 for one month, US$80 for three months, US$165 for six months and US$265 for one year. Once you are one of the ‘unofficials’, it is pretty straightforward to extend the visa ad infinitum. Travel agencies and some motorbike rental shops in Phnom Penh can help with arrangements, sometimes at a discounted price.