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Does Cambodia Offer a Work Visa | Working Abroad

The main document that enables foreign nationals to work outside of their country of residence is a work visa. Therefore, a work visa will make it easier for foreign citizens to work and stay in Cambodia lawfully without running into any immigration issues. 

Hence, all foreigners must have work visas for Cambodia if they wish to work in this beautiful Southeast Asian country. 

With a different language, bureaucratic inefficiencies, extensive requirements, and many other issues, the immigration and visa processes for Cambodia can be challenging to understand.

Individuals who do not fully prepare and conduct their research may experience delays in obtaining a work visa. This is why it’s best to understand Cambodia’s work visa requirements beforehand.  

It is common for people to work without a working visa or authorization in Cambodia, which has a reputation for being lax in this regard. But if an overseas worker wants to stay out of trouble, it's best to abide by the laws of the nation. 

Types of Cambodian Work Visas   

For those who are wondering, "how to get a work visa for Cambodia?" It’s best to familiarize themselves with Cambodia’s E-class visa subcategories. 

Foreigners traveling to work in Cambodia typically have to apply for an E-class visa, which is valid for one month, as well as need an employment card and a work permit.

There are several subcategory extensions for the E-class visa, but the EB visa is considered the best for international employees. 

The E-class visa, formerly known as a business visa, with a 30-day validity period, is required for any foreign citizen traveling to Cambodia for employment. Hence, understanding the types of E-class visa extensions is crucial. 

EB Visa (Business): The most popular option for individuals working in Cambodia is the EB visa. It applies to foreigners who enter the labor force, start a business, engage in freelancing, or stay in Cambodia for longer than 30 days. 

Applicants for an EB visa extension must provide a letter confirming employment in the country. A maximum of 12 months extension can be given. Foreigners also require a work permit to work legally in Cambodia.  

EG Visa (General or Job Seeking): The EG visa is a general visa that applies to job seekers. The duration can be one, three, or six months.  

ES Visa (Student): Students who are enrolling in a school or university in Cambodia are granted an ES visa. If the holders can show they can support themselves financially and present a letter from a recognized Cambodian school, they can renew it indefinitely.  

Extensions for Cambodian student visas can last up to a year.  

EP Visa (Proposal): Foreign nationals arriving in Cambodia on an E-class visa are given EP visas if they intend to work, open a business, or continue after their first 30-day stay has ended.  

This visa is valid for an additional 30 days after the E-class visa's first 30-day stay is over. Foreigners are only allowed to stay for a maximum of three more months if they can find a stable job.  

ER Visa (Retirement): The ER visa is for foreign citizens who want to retire in Cambodia. They must provide proof of their retirement in their native country and their ability to sustain themselves financially.  

Retirement visas for Cambodia are typically only issued to those who are 55 years of age or older.  

ET Visa (Technical): The technical visa extension, or ET visa, is designed for applicants who work in particular trades or industries. 

Most Popular Work Visa  

The EB visa is considered to be the most popular E-class visa given to foreign nationals intending to work in Cambodia.

It applies to expats who want to work in Cambodia or start a business, as well as independent contractors, dependent children, non-working partners of foreign employees, and anyone else planning to stay in Cambodia for more than a month. 

The ability to work in the country is not guaranteed by the EB visa alone. 

Foreigners must also obtain an international work permit and an overseas employment card from their employer to be able to work legally in any place or company within the nation. 

Difficulty of Obtaining This Type of Visa  

Getting a work visa for Cambodia is not that difficult. However, the government has tightened the rules and regulations regarding the issuance of work permits for foreign employees as a result of an increase in the number of illegal migrants and workers entering Cambodia. 

Failure to adhere to the terms of the foreign employee work permit may result in monetary fines or, in some circumstances, imprisonment for up to three months and the potential deportation of the non-compliant foreign employee. 

It is essential to start early and finish the application procedure before arriving in the country while applying for a work visa. Although it is possible to apply for a foreign work permit in Cambodia once there, it is usually preferable to do so in advance. 

Applicants must not submit any fraudulent, invalid, or duplicate documents while submitting the necessary paperwork to avoid fines and getting visa applications rejected. 

Therefore, obtaining the EB Visa can be a straightforward process, provided foreigners fulfill all the necessary requirements.  

In some nations, applicants may have to undergo a pre-screening process to obtain a business visa for Cambodia by providing the following information: 

  1. A completed and signed application for a visa
  2. The bio-page of the passport
  3. Two blank pages in the passport
  4. A letter of invitation to Cambodia
  5. Contract for employment or volunteer work (long-term stay)
  6. Company Registration
  7. The 2022/2021 Patent Tax

Therefore, to obtain a work visa, applicants must fill out a visa application form, have a passport with at least two blank pages and six months of validity, present supporting documents, pay the visa fee, and provide proof of health insurance at the Cambodian embassy. 

It is also somewhat advised for international applicants to seek legal aid and assistance in matters of an employment visa, work permit, and the frequently overlooked but crucial employment card in Cambodia to avoid any unpleasant situation. 

Work Visa vs. Work Permit 

A work visa is an official stamp in an applicant’s passport that permits foreigners to work in another country for a set period. The immigration officers on duty at the immigration office issue visas and exercise discretion whether or not to allow the person to enter the country.

A work permit is an employment letter given to an employee by a company and required for entry into the country. Overseas workers must have a work permit as businesses won't hire individuals without one. 

Foreigners traveling to work in Cambodia would be required to obtain a work permit and an employment card, in addition to an E-class visa that is valid for one month. Upon arriving at the airport in Phnom Penh, or through the employee's local Cambodian embassy or consulate, the initial visa application can be submitted. 

Individuals can start the work permit application once the work visa has been granted. Temporary work permits are only good for a year, but permanent permits are also available for an indefinite stay. 

Even if a foreign national intends to stay for more than one year, a temporary work permit can be renewed. Hence, it is not required to obtain a permanent permit.  

Foreigners planning to work in Cambodia must have the following documents: 

Work Visa 

Applicants need to obtain a work visa that will enable the holder to accept employment in Cambodia. However, the ability to work in the country is not guaranteed by an EB visa alone. 

Foreigners must also obtain a foreign work permit and a foreign employment card from their employer to be able to work legally in any place or company within the nation. 

Work Permit 

Official authorization from the labor authorities, known as a "work permit," enables foreign nationals to operate legally in Cambodia.  

Every foreign employer or employee who works in Cambodia and earns a regular income is required to obtain a valid work permit through their employer.  

Foreign government personnel, diplomats, non-governmental organization staff, unpaid volunteers, and domestic workers employed in the country are exempt from requiring a permit. 

Employment Card   

A second booklet, called an employment card, is used to keep track of a foreign national's history of working in Cambodia. An employment card must be renewed annually before the end of March each year, just like a work permit. 

Best Ways to Prepare for Cambodia Work Visa Application    

To obtain a Cambodian work visa, applicants can apply in advance at the closest Cambodian embassy by presenting the required paperwork.   

The following supporting documentation is needed from both the company and the employee to begin the work visa application process: 

Documents that have to be presented by the applicant: 

  • Person's name, gender, birth date, and height
  • A copy of a passport and identification card
  • The E-visa copy
  • Present-day home address
  • Education
  • Current photograph
  • Medical clearance
  • Information about the position in the company

 Documents that have to be presented by the employer: 

  • Document of incorporation bearing the business stamp
  • On file business address
  • Tax stamp with the business seal
  • List of all employees, both local and foreign (ratio should not be below 1:9)

Once an individual has been granted a work visa, an application for a work permit must be submitted. This document is good for a year and can be extended for the same amount of time as a residency permit. Both temporary and permanent work licenses are available in Cambodia.

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