Customs regulations for your trip to Cambodia

Last modified: July 31, 2023
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Customs 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.

Marriage

There are new procedures for foreign and Cambodian citizens who wish to marry in Cambodia. More detailed information can be found in this guidance.

Adopting Cambodian children

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

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.

Dutiable Items

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.

Free import for passengers aged over 17:

  • 2 liters of wine;
  • 400 cigarettes, or 100 cigars, or 400 grams of tobacco;

Free import for all passengers:

  • 350 milliliters of perfume.
  • medicines for personal use

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.

Prohibited Items

  • Batteries
  • Acids, chemicals, corrosives, gases, infectious substances, oxidizers, radioactive substances, etc.
  • Flammable substances
  • Alcohol
  • Perfumes
  • Poisons
  • Tobacco
  • Paints
  • Pornographic materials

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Passport
  • OBL
  • Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Letter from the Ministry of Finance

Specific Information

  • A foreigner may import a motor vehicle under the following conditions:
    • They have diplomatic status or work for an NGO
    • A letter is obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs verifying the owner of the goods’ diplomatic status or employment with an NGO and requesting Customs to permit duty-free import.
  • All automobiles must be left-hand drive.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate

Specific Information

  • Most pets, including dogs, cats and birds, can be imported with no quarantine period required.
  • The health certificate must be issued within 7 days of import.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Human remains and body parts
  • Firearms, weaponry and their parts
  • Perishable food items
  • Live animals (some species / breeds permitted; contact agent for details)
  • Plant and plant materials

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Cambodia.

Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside Cambodia.

Currency

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.

Arms and Ammunition regulations:

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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