Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The regular Cambodia tourist and business visas require visitors to line up at a Cambodia embassy or consulate, or get a visa on arrival at the airport. (Read our Cambodia Travel Requirements article for more info.) The Cambodia e-Visa scraps all that; the whole process is done online and concludes in 24 hours or less.
You pay an extra US$5 processing fee, sure, but think of the lines and the sweat getting an e-Visa can save you.
Just ask recent Cambodia visitor Bruno Raymond, who applied for a Cambodia e-Visa to facilitate his travel to Siem Reap via the Poi Pet border crossing. (More info: International Travel into Cambodia.)
"Application was really easy," Bruno emailed us recently. "The only easiest one I can compare with was the Australian one […] the only 'challenge' was to find the right URL as it does not show up that high in Google search results."
The e-Visa lightened his burden considerably, Bruno says: "Online application took about 15 minutes. Approval was received overnight (I heard people got it has fast as 20 minutes)," he explains. "No need to queue to apply for the Visa on the spot."
Applying for a Cambodia e-Visa
If you want to get a Cambodia e-Visa, do as Bruno did: go to the Cambodia e-Visa website (offsite), fill up an online application form, and upload a face shot of yourself (either JPG or PNG format is acceptable).
"Main difference with other applications was that you have to know the port of entry," says Bruno. Luckily, he reminds us, "port of entry and other details can be changed online if needed."
Afterwards, you'll need to pay with a valid credit card or through PayPal. Cambodia e-Visas cost US$25.
The longest a visa application takes is three days, but most applicants get their approved visa applications in their email within 24 hours. While your application is being processed, you may come back to the website to check your status online, or change visa details.
"I got an email confirmation the next morning that my visa was accepted, with detailed instructions," remembers Bruno.
Using Your Cambodia e-Visa
The visa documents will be emailed to you, attached as PDF files. Bruno followed the instructions in the email, printing two copies and presenting them upon arrival in Cambodia. Why two copies? You'll need one each for entering and exiting Cambodia:
Upon entry: Fill in an entry/exit card; present passport, one visa printout and entry/exit card to immigration officer
Upon exit: Present passport, one visa printout and entry/exit card to immigration officer
Cambodia e-Visas are valid for the same terms as tourist visas - thirty days' maximum stay or 24 hours' minimum stay, valid for 90 days from date of issue. E-Visa holders can enter through the following points of entry:
* Both Cambodia international airports - Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport
* Two Thailand border crossings: Cham Yeam (Koh Kong) and Poi Pet
* One Vietnam border crossing: Bavet (Svay Rieng)
Air travelers in particular enjoy extra convenience if they use e-Visas to enter Cambodia, thanks to a dedicated immigration counter for e-Visa holders in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports. "It was not the case for arrival at Poi Pet (by land)," Mr. Raymond says.
Limitations of a Cambodia e-Visa
The Cambodia e-Visa is useful only for single entry trips, and can only be extended once. In short, it's a tourist visa that can be procured online; business travelers who need to stay longer or make multiple entries into Cambodia will need to go the usual route to apply for a Cambodia business visa. (Again, our Cambodia Travel Requirements article has the lowdown.)
As noted previously, the Cambodia e-Visa costs US$5 more, with a processing fee of US$5 tacked on to the usual arrival visa fee of US$20. But if it saves you long trips to distant Cambodian embassies, or if it spares you from long queues in the airport, isn't US$5 a tiny price to pay for the added convenience?
Apply for a Cambodia visa online, get approved in 24 hours or less!
By Michael Aquino, About.com Guide