21 December 2009

Well, that was easy...

A year long visa for Thailand means going through all sorts of hoops. Not so for Cambodia.

For Thailand it requires all sorts of letters, photos, police checks, health checks and the presentation of qualifications and resumes in quadruplicate. Every initial application must be at an embassy outside of Thailand while final approval requires lengthy waits at one of Thailand’s notoriously inefficient immigration offices. And even when the visa has been approved, Thai authorities still want a piece of you; an ‘alien’ must report to immigration every 90 days, just to say g’day and confirm their address.

The application for a year long visa for Cambodia is an easy affair. Just apply for a business visa on arrival – a simple process exactly the same as applying for a tourist visa, just tick a different box- and you are in for a month. Then it is just a matter of finding a shop (motorbike hire shops and travel agents are the best bets) that handles visa extensions. Hand them your passport, one photo and a meaty-amount-of-money and your new visa will be ready next day. No forms to complete. No letters, resumes or qualifications to present, and no health checks, police checks or long queues. And there is no ‘ninety day reporting,’ either.

Theoretically, it’s possible to pay much less than the amount the shops demand by going direct to the Cambodian authorities. But this is actively discouraged; they make you wait for between 4-6 weeks and who wants to be without their passport for that long?


  1. That's pretty strict in Thailand. I also heard that adopting children from there and even if you're a Thai resident adopting there is very difficult in comparison to a lot of other countries. Thailand must have had a lot of bad experiences of dodgy people coming through as to why they're fairly strict??? Or I suppose that is the way they like to be maybe.

  2. Thailand is currently tightening up on how foreigners remain in the country. Systems in the past have left loopholes that many foreigners have taken advantage of.

    However, for those of us who are there to do a good job, exiting the country on a regular basis becomes more of a pain than a travelling joy.

    Cambodia is conversely very welcome of foreigners. They tell you so when you meet them. It is a nice change, and means we can settle down and concentrate on teaching, and not constantly worry about our passports expiring.