Cambodia is a stunning, underrated country full of breathtaking temples, tasty/cheap street food, and full of intense history. I got a Cambodia tourist visa on arrival when I crossed from Thailand to Cambodia. I will explain the process, requirements and obviously, how not to get scammed.
How Does Cambodia Tourist Visa on Arrival Work?
The tourist visa on arrival is a visa that you can get at an international airport and through some land entries. It’s valid for 30 days from the date of entry and costs 30$. Don’t confuse it with Cambodia tourist e-Visa. There are two types of visas on arrival.
- Single Entry Cambodia Tourist Visa (T)
The Cambodia Tourist visa (T-class) is valid for a single entry and 30 days, and costs $30. It can be renewed once for a further 30 days inside Cambodia.
- Single Entry Cambodia Ordinary Visa (E) or Cambodia Business Visa
You should get this instead a tourist visa if you are sure you’ll be staying Cambodia for longer than 60 days. It costs 35$ and comes with a 30 days validity. You can renew it inside Cambodia through an agency.
Which Countries Are Eligible?
Citizens of almost every country are eligible for Cambodia visa on arrival. However, nationals from Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Nigeria need to obtain their visa in the nearest Embassy/Consulate abroad.
What All Do You Need?
- Original passport with 6 months of remaining validity and a full blank page.
- A visa application form (Will be available at the visa window at Cambodia ports of entry or given before landing if you are arriving by plane).
- Two recent passport photos (2 X 2).
- Visa fees $30 USD or 1000 Thai Baht (in cash) for one month tourist visa.
Land Checkpoints for Cambodia Visa on Arrival
Cambodia has 19 land border checkpoints with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. However, visa on arrival is not available at all of them.
- Vietnam to Cambodia: you can use any of the border checkpoints for visa on arrival.
- Laos to Cambodia : You can use Tropieng Kreal International Check Point (Stung Treng Province) to cross.
- Thailand to Cambodia : You can use the following check points:-
Cham Yeam International Check Point (Koh Kong Province), Poi Pet International Check Point (Banteay Meanchey Province), Osmach International Check Point (Odor Meanchey Province), Choam Sanguam International Check Point (Banteay Meanchey Province), Prum International Check Point (Pailin Province), Doung International Check Point (Battambang Province)
The Process for Cambodia Visa on Arrival
The process is really straightforward if you are flying. When you arrive, simply head to the Visa On Arrival desk of the airport and hand over the documents and pay, and you are done. The immigration officials will check your passport and application, and call you once your visa is ready.
But if you cross through a land border like me, it can be stressful due to the high amounts of scams that happen around there. So let me get to that.
Getting from Thailand to Cambodia
To go to Cambodia, a friend of mine and I came from the island of Koh Chang to Siem Reap (which is one of the islands closest to the Cambodian border). It is roughly a 4 hour journey. You have until the night before to book a minivan or bus from one of the local vendors (price ranges from 500-600 Thai Baht/$16-$20 USD). My friend and I caught a minivan from Koh Chang island to Siem Reap (which is where Angkor wat is located). The minivan or big bus will pick you up early morning around 6-8 am. They will give you a colored sticker or land yard to coordinate with the van. You all ride the 30-45 minute ferry together to Trat (the mainland near Koh Chang) and then hop on your van again post-ferry ride. The driver will stop once to eat, near the Thai/Cambodia border of Poipet, Cambodia.
Always Pay with USD
This is where it gets sketchy.
At the border, I was already stressed due to being up for hours and they rushed us through the process. And, at that time, I was still a relatively new traveler and very trusting due to living in Thailand for five months by then ( having never been scammed there). The Immigration lady asked me to pay 3000 Thai Bahts and I handed the cash to her. I didn’t really check the currency conversion rates and they insisted on the high conversion rate. For example, $5 USD is roughly 150 Thai Baht and they will tell you it’s 200 Baht or something like that. I did some negotiation, still ended up losing 50$.
It’s possible to pay with USDs and you should always insist on that. But be polite. Most entry ports require that you pay for the visa in US dollars, as this is an unofficial currency in Cambodia. However, the US Dollars must be in mint condition.
I’ve heard of some people being scammed by actual police officers or border control officers at the border. They also try to claim that Thailand is “poorer” than Cambodia which is totally wrong/opposite and try to get you to pay more because here you can pay with Thai Baht and US Dollars.
If you do come from Thailand through land I recommend taking a bus from one of the three bus stations in Bangkok (Mochit, Sai Tai Mai, and Ekkamai). They are more reliable, and convenient way to get to Cambodia and deal with the tourist visa. They don’t rush you either.
Extending Cambodia Tourist Visa on Arrival
It can be extended for 30 more days at the Immigration Bureau in Phnom Penh or through some agencies elsewhere in the country. It is important to note that the tourist visa can only be extended once, and the maximum period of stay is no more than two months.
There is a $10 USD fee per day if you overstay your visa, which must be paid upon exit of the country. You may be charged for a visa extension (but this doesn’t always happen). Depending on your overstay, you could possibly be imprisoned, deported, or face a ban on future entry into Cambodia.
Please do NOT let this worry you about traveling to Cambodia. All my friends that went through flight into Cambodia had no issues and my other friends who went through the border crossing did not have worse stories than mine. Remember you are going to a developing country and things are different here. Plus when you compare it to your currency it is never a huge sum of money, so just pay it, if you do deal with scamming issues because it is a losing battle. So have fun, take glorious pictures, and do not miss the sunrise at Angkor Wat!
How was your experience getting a Cambodia Visa on arrival?
If you got a Cambodia visa on arrival at any of the land borders or airports, let us know in the comments. The visa process is constantly changing and it will help me updating the article if there is any change. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have.