Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cambodian Passports

There is this tidbit of information I wanted to share. My family needs to get new passports as their old ones have been extended twice already, and that’s the maximum you can do with a Cambodian passport.

Most Western countries issue passports for 5 or 10 years. Cambodia only issues them for 3 years. Then you can extend them twice, but only for 2 years each. I have been wondering why this is.

Could it be that this is not just to cover the expenses but is a source of revenue for the government, thinking that people who need a passport obviously want to travel? So these people must have money; if they travel often they can afford to pay the extension fees as well.

The cost for the original passport is $130, an extension is $75. The issuance takes about 1 month; if you want to have it processed quickly, say in 1 week, you need to cough up $250.

In comparison a U. S. passport good for 10 years costs $100, a EU passport also good for 10 years costs €59 or roughly $80 - $89.

A Cambodian citizen who needs a passport will consequently pay $380 over 10 years, or almost 4 times as much as their Western counterparts.

It looks like a minor issue but let’s take a look at the numbers. According to the Ministry of Tourism the number of Cambodian tourists for the first quarter of 2009 was 146,000. But in 2008 that same number was well over 600,000. I couldn’t find the exact number per year but I estimate around 500,000 to 600,000 for 2009.

So, let’s say, if 600,000 travel, you are looking at $78 million for the original cost alone. Not too shabby, is it?

And to make things even better overseas Khmer with Cambodian passports, and there are quite a few of those in the meantime, cannot apply for a new passport at their local embassy. They need to apply in person in Phnom Penh.

Whereas administrative costs in the U. S. and Europe are high, they are only a small fraction of what the government takes in. So it must be an additional source of revenue for the government. Whilst one would think that those basic services should only cost so much as to cover expenses, it is, on other words, a tax. But that’s only me thinking.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would have thought your family were american ctizens by now.

Anonymous said...

the government needs all the tax they can get.

KJE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KJE said...

8:26
There is more to the article than meets the eye. But generally I do agree that they all the tax they can get, however, it must be in a fair and equitable way.

And to 8:25
Neither my family nor I are U. S. citizens. We only live here part time due to my business interests in the U. S. and my kids attend school here.

Anonymous said...

An expatriate working for an NGO told me she would willingly pay income tax if that money was used appropriately. Unfortunately a good portion of taxes end up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

Anonymous said...

After paying USD385 how long will the passport gets to the applicant?

Anonymous said...

I remember the passport fee in 2005 was on USD50.00

KJE said...

7:50
I said the cost is $350 over ten years compared to other countries that normally issue passport for 10 years.

If you pay $200 plus you will get your passport in 1 week, normal processing time is 1 month.

Anonymous said...

The Cambodian Government should reduce the passport fee and make the passport easily accessible to the common citizen, in turn they'll travel to seek job outside Cambodia and bring in foreign currecies (like Filipinos the foreign currencies they bring in is quite good for the Philippines).

KJE said...

Easier said than done. If you want to work abroad the cost of the passport is the smallest item on your list.

Anonymous said...

Not disagreeing with KJE; but for a start it will help a lot. Especially when the employer will pay for the passage.

Anonymous said...

Where can I get a cambodian passport for $200.00?

KJE said...

12:28
You are a joker, aren't you?

Anonymous said...

How much does it cost now if I want to renew my expiring passport with the fact that I am living in New York city. I did download the application but I don't know how much I have to pay for the renewal? Hehehe The Embassy's website is just ... so ... no known info! :)))

KJE said...

11:00 am
Renewal fee is $75/person. They have become a little better processing renewals. You can get your passport back in about 3 weeks (my last experience).

nysalestax said...

About a year ago I inquired here about getting a passport. I relayed the information from here to my cambodian friend. My friend used an agency to help him. The total cost was about $145. The agency told us 50 days as opposed to 6 weeks. I hoped for 6 weeks but much to my annoyance I got 50 days. Exactly 50 days. Chopped a full week off my trip waiting for the passport.

KJE said...

nysalestax
Normally, you can't get a new passport if you are not in Cambodia - I noted that in my post. For a pretty steep fee, however, it is possible. So the agency was able to do it for only $145 but it took longer. So in the end you got a good deal, let me tell you because the regular fee is $130 already.

A Little Touch Of Cambodia said...

I have been reading some of the comments on this, kind of helpful. If I want to renew a cambodian passport how much will it cost? Is there an additional form that needs to be filled out besides the one that the website provides? Do I mail in the original passport? Is it better to mail, than to go to an embassy here in the states?

KJE said...

A little touch of Cambodia:
The cost is $75 unless it changed in the last year. You only the one form you can download from the Embassy's site. Yes, you do need to mail in your original passport,however, if it was extended twice already you need a new one which can only be issued in Cambodia itself. Use a courier service with a prepaid return envelope to mail your docs to the Embassy.

A Little Touch Of Cambodia said...

If I have a cambodian friend that is here in the US on a visitor visa can their cambodian passport be renewed? There visa for the US and cambodian passport extend in the same month. Will they allow us to extend the passport it she is here on a visitor visa?

Anonymous said...

If a cambodian is here on a visitor visa can they extend their cambodian passport? The visa and the passport both expire the same month? The application form says that you must have a copy of your green card, or marriage certificate, or form I 20. What is that all about?

KJE said...

12:02 and 12:06
I guess this is the same person.

The visitor must leave the U. S. on the day the visa expires the latest. Since his passport expires on the same date he should leave one day earlier. Knowing Cambodian border officials they might give him/her some trouble for coming back on an expired passport.

He/she cannot extend their passport in the U. S., only green card holder, or people on a long-term visa, students, etc., can get their passport extended in the U. S.

Anonymous said...

Do you know the procedure to renew passport in Cambodia? Can a Cambodian renew their passport on their own or they need an agent to do the renewal? My wife was a Cambodian. She has encountered problem to renew her passport currently in Cambodia. Is it possible for her to just walk-in and renew on her own? The current agent she engaged now demanded USD1100 to renew her passport. Hope you could help.

KJE said...

Of course, she can renew on her own. She just needs to go to the passport office in Phnom Penh on Street No. 208. The fee for renewals is $75 (it may have gone up a little), for a new passport it is $130 - wait time one month; express service $210. These fees may have increase also. But nowhere near does she need to pay $1100 to an agent.

For a new passport she needs her ID-card and family book; if she doesn't have those any more it will be expensive to get a new family book and ID card from the Sangkat. The ID card alone is $150; the family book I am not sure but definitely more than the $150; additionally this is a time consuming process.

Anonymous said...

Thanks KJE for the valuable info regarding to my wife's case. Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

My friend is from Cambodia. She is a green card holder. She wants to go to Cambodia to visit, but her passport has expired. As I understand it, she'll have to get a new one, rather than renew hers, because it has expired. Through what service can she obtain a new Cambodian passport? Or is there a better way? Thank you!

KJE said...

If she hasn´t had it extended yet, she can sent it to the embassy in Washington to get it extended. Cost $75 - download the form from their website.

If, however, it had been extended twice she needs to get a new one. Normally, she would need to do this personally in Cambodia. But she can have a relative or friend go to the passport office to apply for a new one with a copy of the family book and her Cambodian ID-card. Cost $600 to $650.

Anonymous said...

If I understand correctly what I've read on the embassy website, it can only be extended if it has not yet expired. Perhaps she can have her sister travel in to Phnom Penh for her and get a new one. Thank you.

sokka said...

hi KJE,

my father has the same problem he has lost every Cambodian ID, including his passport, he needs a new one, i heard you talkin about a agent that could help him get one.

he does not have a passport now, so he can't go there to get a new one,,,, a big dilema, can anybody help us here,,,, thank you guys

KJE said...

6:50
Please see one comment above where I answered relative to a similar problem. If you have somebody in Cambodia they can help you but it will be expensive as mentioned above. If not, check out bongthom.com. There are several services offering passport renewals, etc. They all have connections to the ministry of interior.

Anonymous said...

Hi KJE, I have the similar questions as mentioned above by Sokkia, my maid passport was missing in Malaysia. I was told that I will need to go to launch police report, report to immigration and goto Cambodia embassy. Question here is... do I need to bring along my maid?

KJE said...

4:45
Yes, you do.

Anonymous said...

I intend to marry a Cambodian lady but she is living with her uncle because her father is trying to force her to marry someone else.

How does she go about getting a new family book without her father's permission so she can get a pass port?

KJE said...

10:55
How old is she? Does she have an id-card?
A family book is issued to families, e. g. married couples and their children.
If the single children have their own apartment, they don't need a family book. They get a 'carnet de residence'. If she has a carnet she can try it with this, if she is older than 18.
Have you thought about the visa? She will hardly get one from western countries unless she can prove she will return. You will need to come here to obtain a fiancee visa, or something similar, depending on the country; other than that you need to get married here legally.

Anonymous said...

She is 23; she has an ID card.

If she is listed as a resident at her uncle’s house does that substitute for the family book?

I am a US citizen and am going to be going to Cambodia in 7 weeks I would like her to get a passport before I get there. So we can go together and apply for a Fiancée Visa.

Another Uncle (US) and Aunt(Cambodian) live in the US and are good friends of mine.

Thanks Richard

KJE said...

Richard,
If she has that carnet that should do. She should just go the passport office with the docs she has and try.

Anonymous said...

I have a son us citizen who is in cambodia has been mugged and robbed and has been there for almost a year. Passport was stolen and he did not report yet to the embassy what do i need to do to help him get passport and what repercussions will he have to face. He has a cambodian fiancee and she is pregnant 5 months can she come to us with him need to know proceedure of how to resolve

KJE said...

11:20
It seems to me that your son doesn't really care. Any normal man would have gone to the embassy right away to apply for a new passport. If he is not Cambodian (Khmer-American) he overstayed his visa unless he has a still valid one-year visa. Once he got a new passport he needs to see the Immigration office to get a visa. If he is lucky they will just issue a new one, if not they will check their records and find out he overstayed. The penalty is $5.00 for each day he overstayed.
His Cambodian fiancee will not get a fiancee visa right away. He can apply for this but then it will depend on when the child is due. The red tape is quite cumbersome.

Anonymous said...

Hello
I am from an Asean country living in Cambodia. I enjoy living here but it would be good if I could invest some of the little cash I have in a piece of land. My friend wants to sell me a small parcel of land in Siem Reap but as a foreigner I can't buy land here (or rather I'm not allowed to). I want to see if there is a (legal) way to gain residency or citizenship as this might help open roads to establishing permanent investments here. What do you think of this link I found on the internet:

http://tdvpassports.com/cambodia/

I'm interested but of course also worried about dishonest or illegitimate services.

Thanks.

KJE said...

11:15
I have never heard of this company. The program as such exists, though. The cost varies with the size of the investment, but the minimum cost is around $50,000. If you invest $1.0M it won't make a dent in your budget. However, if you only want to buy a small piece of land it's hardly worth it now, is it? Marrying a Khmer lady is an option; or forming a company with a Khmer national as 51% partner. The majority voting rights should apportioned to you so you in effect control the property.

AD Gee said...

Those greedy, corrupt arseholes at the Cambodian passport authority, actually told my cambodian wife to pay $600.00 US for a passport for our 11 month old daughter. Can u believe how f*cking ruined that country is by all these crooks in government. Their reason for charging so much for the passport is this " because the mother is Cambodian, and the father is a british citizen" therefore it costs $600.00 . What kind of f*cking excuse is that? Literally rubbing it in your face meaning if u want your toddler to leave this country this is your only option and we will get whatever we ask for it. These are the sort of people that rule and ruin that country.

KJE said...

AD Gee
I can understand your anger and frustration. To my knowledge this fee is not official. The officer obviously believed he could get away with that with a gullible Khmer woman who wouldn't know how to deal with that situation. You weren't there, were you? If the child is a Cambodian national the fee is $130 (it may have changed slightly), express service is $250.

Your Cambodian wife needs to present her family book, and a birth certificate. You are not registered in that family book unless you are officially married with all the documents from the Sangkat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Cambodian women need permission to marry a foreigner.

The easier way would be to apply for a British passport for the baby (if British law is similar to other European countries and the U.S.)and get an exit visa from the immigration department. I believe the cost is also a little over $100 for that.

Brian said...

Hi KJE - can you please update this with new 10 year passport information? Also I've heard they now have a passport office in Siem Reap. Is that true?

KJE said...

I am not quite up-to-date on the latest regulations.
The 10-year validity was planned I am not sure whether it has been implemented yet.
Passport offices near Thai border towns have been opened to expedite the issuance to Cambodian transit workers. With a passport they would not cross the border illegally as their is no visa required for nationals of ASEAN member countries.
The offices were established to help these migrant workers quickly.
I am not sure whether they also issue regular passports or whether these are any different from the one given to the migrant workers.

Anonymous said...

Do you have to submit the original family book when applying or is a photocopy acceptable?

Thanks

KJE said...

Photocopy is enough but original needs to be shown.

virginia said...

I'm not going talking about anything for passport but I am going talking for how people living there poorly because of the government wherever they call if its king if its king why his not have authority to make things better for his peoples .?

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