Updated: Jul 11
If you’ve been considering moving to a new country, chances are that you’re feeling despondent because of learning about strict immigration requirements for some of the more popular destinations such as the UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. These countries have systems where you have to score sufficient points based on strict requirements, be extremely highly qualified according to predetermined skills shortage lists or have a substantial amount of money in the bank before your application to immigrate will even be considered.
Over the past few years though, Cambodia has become an extremely popular immigration destination for those who are keen to make a fresh start, but simply cannot afford to relocate to the abovementioned countries. While most people wouldn’t usually give this country a second thought, Cambodia has a lot to offer in the form of affordable living costs, a tropical climate all year round, friendly and helpful locals, great opportunities work-wise and a more relaxed pace of life in general.
A Straightforward and Affordable Process
Another aspect that has made this Southeast Asian country attractive to expats is the fact that it’s so easy and affordable to obtain a visa to seek and secure employment. As of March 2023, Cambodia’s official eVisa site (https://www.evisa.gov.kh) states that you’ll now need to apply online for an e-Visa prior to arriving in the country.
Applying for your eVisa on the abovementioned site is a three-step process:
• You’ll fill out the online application form and use the online passport reader technology to upload the required information
• Payment will then be requested, which can be done with a Mastercard, Visa card, Unionpay, Alipay or even WeChat
• Once your application has been processed and approved (usually within three business days), you’ll be able to download your eVisa certificate from your emails or the “Check & Change” tab on the website
• You must ensure that you have your eVisa ready to show immigration when arriving at the entry point
• Keep in mind that while, your visa will be valid for three months from the date of issue, you will initially only be allowed to remain in the country for 30 days – unless you renew it after finding employment
Below is some basic information regarding the completion of your visa application:
• When completing the paperwork, you’ll see two options for visas on the application form, namely E and T. You’ll need to select E if you intend searching for employment because the T option is a tourist visa only
• At the time of application, you’ll need to pay $42 ($35 visa and $7 processing fee) for your visa
• Once your application has been completed, you then have 30 days to seek employment on your existing visa
• After securing employment, you’ll need to go to the visa office in Phnom Penh to have your E visa converted to a business visa (EB category). This will be valid for up to 12 months from date of issue
• Once you have your visa, your employer will need to apply for a work permit for you
• If you don’t secure employment within the first 30 days of arriving in the country, don’t stress. It’s quite easy to renew your visa as needed
• Extending or renewing your visa will cost anywhere between $30 and $300, depending on whether it’s extended for one, three, six or 12 months at a time
• When extending your visa at a travel agent or a visa office, you may be required to pay in US Dollars
When applying for a work permit on your behalf, the following documents must be supplied:
• Three sets of application forms that have been issued by the Ministry of the Interior
• Your passport and Cambodian visa
• Three recent passport photos
• A certificate of health
• A written contract from the company or person who will be employing you
A Valid Work Permit is Essential
Although several foreigners have been working in Cambodia without the required work permits, officials have become a lot stricter at enforcing this regulation over the past few years. As such, you must ensure that your employer obtains a work permit for you. Failure to do so could result in you and your employer being heavily fined, which may affect the status of your visa as well.
Ensure that Basic Expenses Can be Covered
While most people know that the cost of living in Cambodia is relatively low, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to arrive in the country with little to no backup funds available.
Depending on where you intend living, it’s recommended that you have a nest egg of around $2,000 to $3,000 to help get yourself and your family settled as quickly as possible. This will help cover the cost of your first month’s rent and any additional deposit that may be required, along with obtaining SIM cards, stocking your grocery cupboard and purchasing any other items needed to make your rental feel like a home. You may also need to cover the cost of a hotel or other accommodation until you’re able to find a suitable place to live.
In most cases, expats are able to live on around $1,500 to $2,000 a month, and this includes rent, electricity, food, transport (via Tuk Tuk or bus, depending on where you’ll be staying), internet access/data and even a basic restaurant meal or two. However, this amount will vary according to whether you decide to live in one of the major cities or one of the outlying areas.
If you’re looking for somewhere to relocate with your family that is affordable, friendly and that offers a multitude of employment opportunities for virtually anyone, the Kingdom of Cambodia may be the perfect place to do so.
Please note that the costs associated with applying for and/or renewing visas may be subject to change from time to time. It’s recommended that you access the official Kingdom of Cambodia eVisa website to obtain the most current information in this regard.