Are you planning to retire in Cambodia?
InternationalLiving.com's Annual Global Retirement Index for 2019 has named Cambodia as the number 12 best place in the world to retire.
More notably, it gave Cambodia the crown for the cheapest place to retire. This is the fourth year in a row that the Kingdom has held that title. Interestingly, Nine.com.au has also just named the country one of the best places to retire.
Is a visa required to stay in Cambodia?
Cambodia has the most flexible visa regulations possible for foreign tourists, expat professionals, and retirees to visit and live in the “Kingdom of Wonder,” in the region.
Whether you’re a tourist or a resident, a visa is required to visit, or stay in Cambodia long term. In 2019 the visa rules were constricted regarding long-stay visas, giving a preference for those who are locally employed or of retirement age.
Types of Cambodian visas
The tourist visa (T class) is for travellers who know they will be staying 30 days or less. The 30-day tourist visa is available to travellers in advance or on arrival (for most nationalities) for a cost of $30 if you obtain it directly at the airport. The tourist visa is single entry only, and can be renewed once only for an additional 30 days for a fee of between $30 and $50. At the expiry of the additional 30-day extension on your tourist visa, you must leave Cambodia and come back to obtain a new visa. If you are planning on staying in Cambodia, a tourist visa is not the best one for you, so start with a renewable ordinary visa instead.
Cambodian “ordinary” visas (E class)
If you wish to stay in Cambodia for an extended period of time, you will need to apply for a 30-day E-class visa (not an online e-visa) when you arrive. The visa is valid for 30 days and costs $35 (subject to your nationality). An ordinary visa can be extended indefinitely. Prior to your 30-day expiry, you will need to go and extend your visa. Due to language barriers and uncertainty, if it is your first time extending your visa, a lot of expats will use the services of an agent. You can choose an EB, EG, ER, or ES visa extension, known as an EOS, or extension of stay.
The four E-class visas are
EB visa extension
The EB business EOS (Extension of Stay) covers most expats in Cambodia, including those who are working, their partners and children, freelancers, and volunteers. The current rules (as of January 2019) require applications to provide a stamped letter verifying their employment with a Cambodian company). This visa extension is renewable and can last for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. Please note only the 6- and 12-month visa extension allow multiple entries.
Spouses and children of EB visa holders will need to submit the visa holder’s employment letter. The letter needs to state that the company supports the application for the spouse’s EB EOS as a non-working dependent, and includes the dependents’ passport information. You will also be required to bring proof of your relationship to the visa holder to renew your own visa extensions.
If you are self-employed and have a registered business in Cambodia you can write a letter confirming your own employment. This letter must be stamped with the registered Cambodia business stamp. Further information on setting up a business in Cambodia can be found here. An EB visa extension does not automatically give you the right to work in Cambodia. In order to be legally employed, you will need a Cambodian work permit and employment card issued by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
EG visa extension
The EG visa extension is designed for those seeking employment, and can last 1, 3, or 6 months. If you have had a previous EB visa extension you probably will not be granted an EG visa, as they are not intended for expats who have already been in the country for a long-term. The EG visa is only for first-time visitors to Cambodia.
ER visa extension
The retirement visa extension is for expats of retirement age. You simply apply for ER (retirement) extensions. Here are the requirements:
You must be 55 or older.
You cannot be employed.
You must be able to prove you are retired (with a pension or social security documentation) and have enough funds (bank or retirement fund statements). For more information, please read our ultimate guide on retirement in Cambodia.
These extensions can be valid for various lengths up to one year. Prices are similar to working visa extensions which cost around $290 for a full year with multiple entries. There are various agencies throughout the region who can assist and help you with processing.
Although the ER visa is popular and the price point much lower than neighbouring countries, you are not permitted to seek employment in Cambodia. For those wishing to work or operate a local business a Business Visa is required.
ES visa extension
The ES visa extension is a student visa. Applicants for the ES visa extension are required to provide a letter from a registered Cambodian school, as well as documentation to demonstrate they have sufficient funds to support themselves. The ES student visa extension can be issued for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months.
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