Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
If you’re arrested and convicted of a crime in Cambodia you can expect a long prison sentence. Pre-trial detention can also last many months.
The legal process in Cambodia is unpredictable, lacks transparency and is open to interference from powerful political and business interests. The investigation and trial process falls far below the standard expected in the UK. British nationals in Cambodia should be aware that there are limits to the assistance the British Embassy can offer to those with concerns about the fairness of their trial, as we are unable to interfere in the legal processes of a host country.
The conditions in Cambodian prisons are extremely poor and overcrowded. Medical facilities in prisons are also extremely poor. The UK has no prisoner transfer agreement with Cambodia so if you’re found guilty you can expect to serve your full prison term in Cambodia, have your visa revoked and be removed when released.
Sexual abuse against children is a serious crime. The UK and Cambodian authorities are committed to combating travelling child sex offenders. Those who commit sex offences against children abroad can also be prosecuted in the UK.
Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs, including Class C, are severe. Drugs have also caused of a number of deaths of overseas visitors to Cambodia. These are suspected to be a result of purity issues, or adulteration by unknown substances.
Never take photographs in or near airports or military bases. Ask permission before taking pictures of people, especially monks and other religious figures.
The Cambodian authorities have issued an official code of conduct for visitors to Angkor Wat and other religious sites, including a dress code. You should not wear skirts or shorts above the knee or tops that reveal bare shoulders. If you don’t follow the dress code you may be refused admission to the sites.
There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual activity or the organisation of LGBT events in Cambodia, but public attitudes can be mixed. There is no legal protection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, but the British Embassy has no recorded cases of discrimination towards LGBT travellers. The LGBT community is becoming more visible, including through gay clubs, club nights and the work of some human rights organisations. Pride events are held annually in Phnom Penh. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
There are new procedures for foreign and Cambodian citizens who wish to marry in Cambodia. More detailed information can be found in this guidance.
The Department for Education (DfE) has suspended all adoptions of Cambodian children by UK residents. A new Inter-Country Adoption Law came into effect in Cambodia on 1 January 2013. The Department for Education will continue to monitor the adoption processes in Cambodia and review the suspension accordingly.
Commercial surrogacy is banned in Cambodia and the commissioning of commercial surrogacy is subject to penalties including imprisonment and fines. The FCDO and Home Office have produced guidance for anyone considering surrogacy overseas.
Cambodia adopted a new Customs Law in June 2007 to bring it into conformity with the terms of GATT/WTO Codes on Customs Valuation. It became the 155th member of the World Customs Organization (WCO) in June 2011. The GDCE requires importers and exporters to lodge declarations accompanied by such documents as a bill of lading/airway bill, packing list, invoice, proof of insurance, inspector report of finding, if applicable, and other documents as required. In recent years, Cambodia has made substantial progress in reforming and modernizing its import, export, and transit operations, including by streamlining and harmonizing customs procedures with international standards. The government has encouraged the use of a single administrative document (SAD) system and one-stop service mechanism to facilitate trade and risk management. Under the one-stop-service mechanism, there is only one inspection by the inter-ministerial joint body, which streamlines customs procedures and reduces bureaucracy and paperwork requirements. However, in practice, bureaucracy and other delays remain in the customs system. The Automatic System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) is now in operation at all international checkpoints to facilitate customs procedures as part of the country’s one-stop service implementation.
These reforms have contributed to Cambodia’s improved World Bank Logistics Performance Index ranking from 83rd in 2014 to 73rd in 2016. As part of ASEAN economic integration, Cambodia is also working to establish a “National Single Window,” an automated solution combining different border agencies into one electronic platform for use by traders and businesses. Other programs created to facilitate international trade flows include: the Best Trader Program and Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) to provide special treatment for highly compliant traders; exemption management regimes to allow for different types of duty and tax exemptions of imported goods; implementation of the ASEAN trade in goods agreement (ATIGA) to eliminate import tariff duties on all products originating from ASEAN country members by 2015 (with flexibility to 2018); and the Custom-Private Sector Partnership Mechanism (CPPM), which was established in 2009 to promote a transparent investment climate and to encourage private sector compliance with the law and regulations and trade facilitation.
There are three types of import duties and taxes in Cambodia: (1) customs import duties with an ad-valorem rate, (2) a special tax for certain goods, and (3) a value added tax (VAT). All imports are subject to a 10 percent flat VAT, but certain imports receive special preferences, such as under the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). The following items are exempt from import duties (other than the VAT): agricultural equipment and inputs, school materials and equipment, pharmaceutical products (with HS code 30), and sporting goods.
A complete listing of tariff rates can be found in the Customs Tariff of Cambodia 2017 report, which is available for purchase at the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE). The online database of the GDCE also provides search options for tariff rates by the Eight AHTN code or commercial description. Additional regulations on tariff rates can be requested electronically through the Ministry of Economy and Finance homepage.
Goods worth more than USD 100.- are subject to customs duty and taxes. Goods with a value of more than USD 300.- must be declared on a Customs Declaration Form.
Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Cambodia.
Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside Cambodia.
Currency Import regulations:
Local currency: Riel-KHR.
Foreign currencies: up to a max. of USD 10,000.- or equivalent is allowed. Exceeding amounts must be declared on arrival.
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency: Riel-KHR.
Foreign currencies: up to a max. of USD 10,000.- or equivalent is allowed, or up to the amount imported and declared.
A valid license from Ministry of Interior or Ministry of National Defense and import permit from General Department of Customs and Excise is required.
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.
While there is calm in Phnom Penh and across Cambodia, political rallies and disputes are still possible often at short or no notice and have the potential to trigger violence. You should monitor local media closely and avoid all protests and demonstrations, as they could turn violent.
Although most visits are trouble-free, crime can still occur. Most incidents are bag snatchings, often by thieves riding past on motorbikes. Bag straps have been cut and bags/phones snatched from those on foot and passengers in tuk-tuks and motorbikes, often causing injury. Hotspots for petty crime include the riverfront and BKK areas of Phnom Penh, and the beaches and tourist areas of Sihanoukville and nearby islands.
In recent years, there were incidents of female travellers, including British nationals, being sexually assaulted in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. This includes incidents of lone women being sexually assaulted by men claiming to be motorbike taxi drivers in the Pub Street area of Siem Reap. Be vigilant at all times, especially when walking alone.
Take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings:
Police have reported instances of drink spiking and violence in the evening in some bars frequented by foreigners. Be vigilant, particularly in and around late night bars and don’t leave drinks unattended.
Parties, including organised dance parties on islands off the coast of Sihanoukville as well as in other locations, may place you at risk of sexual assault, robbery, injury, arrest, and lost belongings, including travel documents. These islands are often isolated and access to medical or emergency assistance is likely to be limited or non-existent. You should take appropriate precautions for your personal safety.
Local law enforcement responses to crimes, even violent crimes, are often limited and may fall far below the standard expected in the UK. Foreigners attempting to report crimes have reported finding police stations closed, emergency telephone numbers unanswered, or police unwilling to investigate crimes. Police will often not speak any English.
Cambodians are friendly, but you should be wary if a Cambodian or other foreign national befriends you quickly and invites you to their home or hotel on the pretext of meeting their family.
Penalties for drug offences in Cambodia are severe and can include long jail sentences for possession of even small quantities of recreational drugs. Drugs have also caused a number of deaths of overseas visitors to Cambodia. These are suspected to be a result of purity issues, or adulteration by unknown substances.
The local equivalent to the UK ‘999’ emergency lines are 117 for police, 118 for fire, and 119 for ambulance. If you need to report a crime in Phnom Penh, go to the Central Security Office at Number 13,Street 158, near Wat Koh. In Siem Reap, the Tourist Police office is next to the ticketing booth for the Angkor temple ruins. In Sihanoukville, Battambang and other towns in Cambodia, seek advice from local police on which police station you should report to.
There have been reports of police charging fees for some services, including issuing police reports. Issuing a police report for crimes should not carry a fee. If you suspect an inappropriate fee is being demanded from you, you should report the matter to the British Embassy Pnhom Penh, including details of the police station.
While there is good internet, Wi-fi and mobile phone coverage in the main cities and towns of Cambodia, many of the islands and remote areas may not be covered. Make sure your friends and family are aware that you may be out of contact.
Be especially alert to the local security situation in border regions and at land crossings between countries. Seek local advice before you set off. Stay on clear pathways as there may be landmines or unexploded ordnance. At the more remote crossing points, conditions can be basic. Some visitors have reported local officials and tour operators asking for unofficial fees or inflating visa prices at land borders. Make sure you know the correct visa requirements and fees before you travel.
Cambodia does not have the same health and safety standards as in the UK. Please be aware that safety advice will be minimal and there may not be warning signs at tourist sites.
You should get permission from the district head, provincial governor or national tourism authority for any travel perceived as out of the ordinary, including business, extensive photography, or scientific research of any kind.
Heavy storms during the monsoon season from June to October can cause disruption and damage including flooding and landslides. Travel to some provinces can be seriously disrupted during this time. Poor drainage leads to flooded roads, causing major traffic congestion in Phnom Penh, so you should allow additional travel time if you’re heading to the airport. The Mekong River Commission posts official updates on the Mekong River on its website. Monitor local news and weather reports, and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation.
Lakes, caves and waterfalls are particularly prone to dangerous flash flooding during the rainy season from June to October.
Cambodia-Thailand border crossings are now closed until further notice. The line of the international border near the Preah Vihear temple (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) was disputed by Cambodia and Thailand. Since 2008, there have been occasional clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops in the area. There have also been disputes over control of the Ta Moan and Ta Krabey temples, which lie close to the Thailand-Cambodia border. In 2013, the International Court of Justice ruled that Cambodia has sovereignty over the whole territory of the Preah Vihear temple.
Although relations between the two countries concerning the border have improved, you should take extra care when travelling in this area, and follow the instructions of the local authorities.
Cambodia remains heavily affected by landmines and unexploded ordnance. Mined areas are often unmarked. Don’t stray off main routes in rural areas, including around temple complexes and don’t pick up metal objects.
Cambodia has one of the highest rates of road traffic accidents in the region. There are high numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. Many accidents are due to poor vehicle and driver safety standards. Travel after dark significantly increases the risk of accidents.
You’ll need a Cambodian driving licence to drive a vehicle, including a motorcycle. If you have an International Driving Permit, you can apply for a Cambodian licence. Some local travel agencies can arrange this for a fee. Driving or riding a motorbike without a licence may invalidate your travel insurance in the event of an accident. Your vehicle may also be impounded.
Travelling as a passenger by motorcycle taxi (‘motodop’) is dangerous. Vehicles are poorly maintained and driving standards are low. There is also a risk of bag snatching, particularly in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
The police can impose an on-the-spot fine if you ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Riding without a helmet may also invalidate your insurance. The police have also been known to stop tourists without Cambodian driving licences and advise them to return their motorcycles immediately. Sometimes a fine is imposed. In Sihanoukville, it’s a requirement for police to issue a receipt when issuing a fine for a traffic violation.
Before you hire a vehicle, check your travel insurance policy to ensure that you’re covered (as either a driver or passenger for motorcycles) and check the small print of the rental agreement. Don’t use your passport as security for motorcycle or car rental. Owners have been known to hold on to passports against claimed damage to the motorcycle or scooter.
Accidents have occurred due to overloaded or poorly maintained boats. There have also been reports of tourist boats continuing to operate despite weather warnings, particularly between Sihanoukville and the nearby islands. In 2016, 2 incidents (one off the coast at Sihanoukville and the other on the river near Kampot) saw tourist vessels sink.
Boat travel on rivers becomes difficult in the dry season (March – May). Water levels in rivers and lakes are high during the rainy season (June to October).
There have been attacks against ships in the South China Sea and surrounding seas. Mariners should be vigilant, reduce opportunities for theft, establish secure areas on-board and report all incidents to the coastal and Flag State authorities.
If you’re considering jungle trekking, use a reputable tour guide. There’s no licensing system for tour guides, so seek advice from other travellers, your hotel and look at online reviews before hiring a guide.
Take care when swimming, diving, kayaking or white water rafting in rivers or close to waterfalls, particularly in the rainy season from May to October. Currents can be extremely strong and there have been fatalities because of this. Jellyfish can be found close to the shore, particularly during the rainy season. Their sting can be fatal. If in doubt, take local advice from hotel management and dive centres.
If you rent jet skis or water sports’ equipment, make sure adequate safety precautions are in place. Rent only from reputable operators, thoroughly check for damage before use and insist on training.
The standards maintained by diving schools and rescue services are not always as high as in the UK. Check a dive operator’s credentials carefully before using them and make sure you’re covered by your insurance. If you have not had any previous diving experience, ask your dive operator to explain what cover they offer before signing up for a course. Make sure safety equipment is available on the boat, particularly oxygen. You should also ask about contingency plans including the ability to call for help while at sea and to evacuate divers to the nearest hyperbaric chamber if necessary.
If you wish to enter Cambodia you will need to:
It is currently not possible to enter or depart Cambodia through land borders as the Cambodia-Laos, Cambodia-Thailand and Cambodia-Vietnam land borders are closed.
All foreigners arriving in Cambodia will now be subject to a COVID-19 test on arrival (as well as requiring a COVID negative test before flying). You will need to remain at a hotel or government facility until the results are known, which may include an overnight stay.
The government is now imposing charges on foreign arrivals for lab testing, medical treatment and accommodation under health measures to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 transmission in Cambodia.
All foreign passengers need to deposit US$2000 for the COVID-19 service charges at the airport upon their arrival. Once deductions for services have been made, the remainder of the deposit will be returned. This can be paid either by cash or credit card.
The service fees are listed as below:
From 12 December 2020, the implementation of the sponsorship scheme for foreign travellers will be temporarily suspended. All travellers to Cambodia will be tested on arrival and then required to quarantine for 14 days at a facility designated by the Cambodian government. This may be at a hotel (at your own expense) or at a government facility. The conditions at government facilities are very basic and it is not guaranteed that families will be kept together.
You will be expected to comply with these requirements regardless of any existing medical needs you may have. If you’re not able to submit to these requirements, you should think carefully about whether to travel to Cambodia at this time.
All travellers are required to take a COVID-19 test on the 13th day of quarantine at either the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh or the Chak Angre Clinic in Phnom Penh.
Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will be admitted to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital for monitoring and treatment. Their identity will also be publicly disclosed to facilitate track and trace mechanisms.
The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration will deny visa extensions for foreigners who are not registered on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS). See Foreigners Registration
The latest information on visa extension arrangements from the relevant authorities is:
Currently you need to get a visa before arrival.
Visa fees, conditions and photograph requirements are subject to change. Check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation website for the latest information on fees, conditions and photograph requirements and on how to apply for an e-visa.
Tourist visas issued by a Royal Cambodian Embassy abroad may appear to have a longer validity than 1 month. The validity of the visa refers to time you have to enter Cambodia. The visa is valid for 30 days from the actual date of entry into Cambodia. Make sure your passport is stamped on arrival, and keep the departure form. If you lose your departure form, you’ll need to contact immigration officials before you leave the country to make alternative arrangements.
You can be fined, detained and deported if you overstay your visa. There is a fine of $10 per day for overstaying the validity term of your visa. There is no limit to this fine. Those who overstay more than 30 days will need to leave Cambodia in addition to paying the fine.
If you lose your passport and need to leave Cambodia on a UK Emergency Travel Document, you will need to get an exit visa. See UK Emergency Travel Documents
The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration will DENY VISA EXTENSIONS for foreigners who are not registered on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS). The FPCS will be used to record and manage foreigners’ information when they arrive at any entry point and record their data when they leave Cambodia. Its main objective is to protect foreigner safety and security in case of an emergency during their stay in Cambodia. Registration applies to all foreigners present in Cambodia, including tourists and residents.
The Immigration Department has clarified that registration is the responsibility of the host (landlords/hotel owners) not of the foreign resident/tourist. Foreigners will not face any fine if they are not registered, but will not receive their visa extension until the landlord/hotelier has input the foreigners details in the system.
You should check with your host to confirm that they have registered you on the app, and if not, then to ask them to do so.
If you have no landlord/own your own home, you would need to register yourself.
The FPCS app is free to download on iOS and Android. There is a video tutorial from the General Department of Immigration on how the app works (although the video has Khmer narration, the images are with English text: FPCS Video Tutorial
The in-app tutorial is in English. There are 6 steps for registration:
If you lose your passport and need to leave Cambodia on a UK Emergency Travel Document, you will need to get an exit visa. See UK Emergency Travel Documents
The Cambodia-Laos, Cambodia-Thailand and Cambodia-Vietnam land borders are closed.
Recent changes to visa requirements for Thailand may affect travellers wishing to make regular crossings at the land border between Cambodia and Thailand. See travel advice for Thailand for further information.
For further information about regional travel, see the travel advice for the specific country.
More general information on land border crossings from Laos and Vietnam is available e at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Co-operation website.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Cambodia. Entry is normally refused if you have a damaged passport or pages missing.
Your passport should also be valid for a minimum period of 6 months for any subsequent renewal or extension of your visa that you apply for from within Cambodia.
To work in Cambodia, you’ll need a valid business visa and a valid work permit. Business visas are issued by the Immigration Department and are usually available on arrival in Phnom Penh airport, or at the Immigration Department. You may be able to apply for a Business visa in advance at your nearest Cambodian Embassy. Your employer will need to apply for your work permit from the Department of Labour and Social Affairs.
The Cambodian government is now enforcing these rules more strictly than in previous years. There is some uncertainty about whether the government will impose charges retroactively on individuals who did not have valid work permits previously. Procedures are subject to change and you should always consult the relevant Cambodian government department for the latest advice.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Cambodia.
If you’re leaving the country using an ETD issued in Cambodia (and therefore containing no entry stamp), you’ll need to get an exit visa from the Cambodian authorities once you have your ETD. Exit visas cost $30 and must be obtained from the Cambodian Immigration Department in Phnom Penh, 332, Russian Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The exit visa will take up to 3 working days to be processed by the Cambodian authorities.