This article has been written with direct inputs from Cambodian expat Nick M. Palmer, a Canadian citizen. He got the Cambodia ordinary visa from the Canada consulate in Toronto and traveled to Cambodia while the Covid-19 restrictions were there.
I am from Ontario outside Toronto and recently arrived in Phnom Penh. Have been a digital nomad in Cambodia for a few years.
Having gotten all my visas on arrival and then extending them in Canada in the past, never thought I would need to get a Cambodia visa from Canada. I mean a Cambodia embassy visa if you get my drift.
But we are living in these strange times, and I am happy that I was able to get the visa without any major hiccups. Now that I am in Cambodia, I can tell you how I got the Cambodia ordinary visa in Canada. And how my trip went with Korean airlines.
You can try Korean air or Eva air to fly from Toronto.
I got my visa on September 13th and traveled on September 16th.
My experience is based on getting a Ordinary Cambodia visa from Canada. Other Cambodian consulates have their own rules and the requirements may vary. Here is someone’s experience of getting a Cambodia visa from UK.
Do check with the Cambodian embassy in your country for the requirements.
Requirements for Cambodia Visa from Canada
Here are the requirements for getting an ordinary visa or “E” ordinary visa, also referred to as a Cambodia business visa. This is issued for 30 days only. The visa is extendable up to 12 months in Cambodia to suit your convenience.
Here is how to get a Cambodia visa extension for EB category.
1. Negative PCR Swab Test
You would not be able to get a Cambodia visa in Canada with only the online results. You need to go to a clinic to get the results stamped and signed and to get a medical certificate. If you can, ask them to sign in blue ink.
The consulate will not process your application without a negative test certificate. And you need to time your test in such a way that it will fall in the 72-hour window. So you need to plan really well, but if you can’t, then you probably have to take a second test just like I did.
72 hour rule
Note that the 72 hour rule for Cambodia applies only to the certificate, not the test itself. This means that the clock starts from the time of the test results, not when they first did the swab.
And technically it is 72 hours before DEPARTURE. That being said some airlines are still applying rule for ARRIVAL. So you need to check with your airline before buying the ticket.
Ask your doctor to write the date you were notified of your test results, on your medical certificate. This will buy you time if you need it at Immigration in Cambodia and when boarding the flight from your home country.
2. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a mandatory requirement for Cambodia business visa. There are two ways to go about it.
- Purchase the insurance online from Forte in advance of your departure.
- Purchase the insurance from another provider or have an existing insurance with a minimum $50,000 insurance coverage.
The insurance coverage MUST state a dollar amount for coverage. The word “unlimited” is not really accepted by Cambodian authorities.
You need to provide your insurance papers to the following. Same goes for
- On check-in
- In Phnom Penh on arriving before Cambodian immigration
- Immigration with your passport.
I got my insurance from Safety Wing.
3. $2000 USD Deposit
As per the new rules, you need to deposit $2000 USD on arrival in Cambodia.
You can pay for the deposit visa the ABA Banking mobile app, if you bank with ABA and have the mobile app. Also, via Credit or Debit Card. And cash, which remains the most popular option.
However, if the POS machine is not working and you do not have access to any other funds to pay your deposit on arrival other than a credit card, they will deport you on arrival.
There are 3 banks where you can do this deposit: Acleda, Canadia and CAB.
I did mine in CAB. If you do it with Canadia, they give you a debit card to use to get your deposit back. Didn’t know that back then.
The deposit should cover the hotel and food costs etc, as per the government quarantine rules. However, it seems like some hotels are asking people to pay in cash, while others follow the rules, so have some extra cash.
If you are applying for any other visas, here is a complete guide to Cambodian visa types.
Process for Cambodia Embassy Visa in Canada
Now, first of all, there is no embassy of Cambodia in Canada. There is a consulate. The consulate in Toronto does process visa applications. At the time when I applied, they were not accepting applications through the mail.
So I applied in person only. Here is the email from Cambodian consulate in Toronto, Canada about the visa, if you want to have a look.
The people in the Cambodian consulate are super helpful, in my experience. They process the visa on the spot, the same day. If you are planning to stop by, you can email them to work out a time for your appointment.
They would want a negative test result and your flight details before they grant your visa, along with the other documents. And that has to be a day that their office is open.
Honorary Consulate of Cambodia in Canada
Address: 60 Caledonia Rd.Toronto, ON, M6E 4S4
Consul: Chhat Chhour, Honorary Consul of Cambodia to Toronto
You can call them at (647) 533-9335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Do COVID Test in Canada?
I did my test at a provincial testing center in Alberta, and got my test results electronically after 24 hours.
Had the Medical certificate issued by family doctor on the same day. Got medical certificate and attached printout of results notarized just for the sake of it. But that’s not necessary.
However, right now provincial governments are warning travellers that they should expect to wait 5-10 days before they can receive access to a printable version of their COVID-19 test results.
Depending on where you live, it might be hard to find a private or public company that tests people for non-essential travel. So here are some alternatives.
Ichor Blood Services
Ichor blood services is mobile service so they will meet you anywhere. They charge $126 which includes GST. They give results in 48 hours but you need to have a doctor sign their report.
Phone number: 1-844 424 6728.
Women’s College in Toronto
The results are available online 12 hours later usually, which you can take to a clinic to get the results stamped and signed and get a medical certificate.
Cambodian Visa for Canadians from Embassy of Cambodia in the USA
If you can’t make the trip to the Cambodian consulate in Toronto, know that a Cambodia visa for Canadians is also available from the Cambodian embassy in the USA.
You can FedEx your documents to the Cambodian embassy in Washington DC. I know many Canadians who got their visas in 7 days or less.
Cambodia Embassy in US
Address: 4530 16th Street N.W. Washington D.C. 20011
- email@example.com (General Inquiry)
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Visa Concerns)
And since you wouldn’t get the visa in within the 72 hour time frame, you would need to plan on doing the COVID test one more time.
COVID Trip Report: Toronto-Seoul-Phenom Penh
So here is how my experience with Korean air, Cambodian immigration and the quarantine.
Second COVID Test
I had done my first PCR swab test earlier when applying for the visa. However, I was not able to leave when I intended to. So my window actually fell outside the 72-hour deadline.
For that reason, I just got another COVID PCR swab test done for the flight only. I did not really notify the staff at the consulate that I had to take a second test. I just used to the second test results as my documentation while travelling, with my already approved visa.
Boarding Korean Air in Toronto
The Korean air did scrutinize my documents a lot, and they counted the hours. prior to this, I had heard about them rejecting people in case the results were not 72 hours prior to arrival, although the rules talk about departure only.
The ticket agent manager told me that they were looking at the date of the certificate being issued. And she was counting hours – not just what day.
The agent checked my papers (COVID test, certificate, and insurance – no money check).
As per them, the time starts from the first international leg, not the initial starting point.
In Seoul, they didn’t check my paperwork or anything. On the plane, I was needed to fill out a health declaration form. After you get off the plane, you go through a temperature check and receive a quarantine card.
Don’t lose it. You need that card to get on the plane.
Cambodia Immigration in Phenon Penh
The immigration in PP was fast. I was actually one of the first off the flight and all of my paperwork was in one folder and had everything they would ask for:
Definitely fill out all the required forms in the plane- the immigration card, health declaration. This will save you time and queuing when arriving.
I deposited $2000 USD in cash. Saw a few people making the deposit through credit cards and everything seemed to be working. But as I said before, bring cash.
They will keep your passport in the immigration and return it to you after receiving test results.
Quarantining in Cambodia
You need to quarantine for the time it takes to get test results from your
flight. Usually, it takes 24-48 hours.
You can’t book a hotel where you want to stay. The government makes that decision and you will be taken there upon arrival. Pray that no one on your flight is positive.
If one passenger from the flight is positive, all passengers from that flight will need to quarantine for 14-day quarantine in Govt mandated quarantine facility/hotel.
If no passengers test positive, then you can spend the remainder of your 14-day self-isolation at your registered address, which you must provide to the hotel prior to checking out.
I stayed at Sokha for 2 nights.
The food at Sokha was good. Good portions. The wifi at Sokha is ok-ish.
I was notified on the second day that my paperwork was at the desk and I was free to check out.
Passports are returned to passengers at the hotel/government facility after check out,once it is confirmed that the passenger has tested negative for COVID. Then the hotel is authorized to release you.
13th Day Covid-19 Test
The 13th day is the day to get the second COVID test. Note that day one starts from the date of your arrival. I did it in Khmer Soviet hospital and it took me 48 hours to get the certificate.
In Phnom Penh, you can do the test in
Khmer Soviet Hospital
Registration hours 8 am-11 am, 2 pm-4 pm
Testing: 9 am or 3 pm
Chak Angre Health Center
Registration 8 am-8.30am, 2-2.30 pm
Test: 9 am or 9.30 am; 3pm or 330pm.
Getting the $2000 USD deposit back
You would need to visit the bank branch addresses listed on your receipt.
- Blue receipt (color may differ depending on the bank you made the deposit with)
- Hotel receipts
The bank staff can look up test results after your last test (13th day). You do not require your test results. I got my deposit back without any issues, and everyone I know had gotten it back easily.
They will deduct the expenditures you have incurred. The bank staff can look up test results after your last test (13th day). You do not need your test results to get the deposit back.