Cambodia Visa guidance


Obtaining the correct Cambodia Visa can be tricky. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not the paperwork you often encounter when applying for a visa to enter a country that’s tricky. Instead, what leads to blank stares and wry smiles – often concurrently – includes, but isn’t limited to the following:

The ‘common’ name given to the two main visa categories, T Visa and E Visa, look and sound similar – and don’t shed light on the specific purpose of each category.

Nationalities that are eligible for a Cambodia Visa on arrival are seemingly arbitrary.

There is nothing in the name ‘T Class’ that lets people know it’s available electronically.

‘E Class’ implies that this visa category is only available electronically – incorrect.

On this page, I’ll remove the confusion about the two visa categories that are commonly used to enter Cambodia. I’ll touch on what’s involved with getting a medium to long term visa and a Work Permit – and the related costs. Moreover, I’ll demystify what a ‘border run’ is all about. 

Cambodia Visa AVSE-TESOL

T Class Visa:

The Cambodia Visa T Class costs US $30.00+/- and entitles the holder to remain in the country for 30-days. The T Class Visa is primarily used for tourism purposes. It can be renewed once for a further 30-days, without leaving the country. The T Class Visa can be obtained via a simple online application before you leave your home country. It can also be obtained at most ports of entry to Cambodia, provided your country is approved by the Cambodian Government for the visa-on-arrival option – it’s best to check beforehand.

If you don’t plan to teach in Cambodia after your TESOL programme at AVSE-TESOL or to travel in the country for more than 30 days after your course finishes, the Cambodia Visa T Class Visa should be sufficient. Conversely, if you plan to stay in Cambodia for more than 30 days after your TESOL course finishes (initial 30 days + one in-country renewal for 30 days = 60 days max), you’ll need to exit Cambodia before being eligible for a new visa.



Ordinary Cambodia Visa E Class: 

The Ordinary Visa E Class costs US $35.00 +/- on arrival or US $42.00 +/- via an online application. This visa category provides coverage for an initial period of 30-days with the option of extending for up to 12 months. If you plan to take a teaching job in Cambodia after your TESOL course finishes, you should enter the country on an Ordinary Cambodia Visa E Class. Why? There’s a good chance you won’t have to do a border run (exit the country) while your Work Permit application is being processed. I’ll comment further on doing a ‘border run’ towards the end of this page. The E Class Visa can be extended once for one, three, six or twelve months. Taking either the six or twelve month option is advisable. Both options come with multiple entry entitlement and meet a core requirement for opening a local bank account.


Cambodia Visa AVSE-TESOL


There are essentially three options for AVSE-TESOL students to choose from when applying for an Ordinary Visa ‘E class’ to enter Cambodia: 1. obtain the Ordinary Visa E class on arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, 2. submit an application to the Cambodian Government Visa website with support documentation (x 3) sourced by the TESOL student, or 3. submit an application to the Cambodian Government Visa website with three support documents partly or fully sourced by AVSE-TESOL on the student’s behalf (US $35.00 for each support document). The three options all come with ‘pros and cons’. The friendly staff at AVSE-TESOL are happy to ‘walk through the process’ individually, enabling TESOL students to make an informed decision. Confusing? It is a bit. Deal breaker? I don’t think so. It’s all part of the adventure.


Work Permit: 

The necessary documentation (and the process) for a Work Permit in Cambodia is similar to what’s required in neighbouring countries, with two exceptions. Cambodian Work Permit officials aren’t especially fussed if 1. you don’t hold a university degree and 2. if your documents aren’t notarised and legalised. If you have a degree, it will certainly be well received. You will need government regulated TESOL, TEFL or CELTA certification and a background check from your home country that’s not more than six months old on the date it’s presented.


Cambodia Visa AVSE-TESOL


While Cambodia has no lawful requirement for your key documents to be notarised and legalised, I’d encourage you to do it anyway. What’s in vogue today may not be in vogue tomorrow. Visa regulations in Southeast Asian countries change frequently and often without notice. So, it’s best to ‘cover all bases’.

Remember, if you wish to obtain a Work Permit in Cambodia, post TESOL course – and give yourself the best shot at avoiding a border run – it’s wise to enter the country in the first instance, with what’s called an ‘Ordinary Cambodia Visa E Class’. 


Cost: Work Permit + twelve-month visa:

The total cost of a twelve-month Cambodia Work Permit and a twelve-month Cambodia visa (they’re two separate documents) is US $530.00 (+/-). Here is a breakdown of the cost: A) twelve-month Work Permit – US $200.00 to US $220.00, and B) twelve-month Cambodia visa – US $290.00 to US $310.00. The costs that are stated here are ‘best estimates’ and are subject to variation. Factors including the length of the Cambodia visa (for example, six months rather than twelve months), the availability of all core documents – and what the Agent you engage chooses to charge in an unregulated market, can impact the final price.

Cambodia Visa AVSE-TESOL


Do employers (schools) reimburse foreign teachers for the cost of a Work Permit and related Cambodia visa? Some do, some don’t. Having the matter clarified in your employment contract from the beginning is imperative.

Border runs:

If you’ve spent time checking out ‘teaching in Cambodia’ Facebook groups and other platforms that focus on ‘everything and anything’ related to Cambodia, you will have come across the term ‘border run’. In plain English, a border run is a trip to the closest border; you exit the country and re-enter with a new visa, restarting the clock on how long you’re allowed there. Depending on the efficiency of the entity that sponsors your Work Permit – the school that employs you after the TESOL course at AVSE-TESOL – and the efficiency of the Public Servants who process the application, you may have to do one or two border runs before your Work Permit – and related six or twelve-month visa – are processed.

Doing a border run from Phnom Penh to the Vietnam border costs around US $120.00 (+/-), including the fee for the visa and a return bus fare. The whole process will take the better part of an entire day. Ideally, you’ll never have to do a border run, but forewarned is forearmed, as the old expression goes.

I mentioned earlier on this page that obtaining the correct Cambodia visa from the outset can be a problem if your country hasn’t been given the tick of approval for a visa on arrival – and you’re unable to get to a Cambodian Embassy in your home country or elsewhere. In this instance, you’d enter the country on a T Class (Tourist Visa) knowing that at least one, possibly two border runs will be required before you nail down a Work Permit and related six or twelve-month Cambodia visa E Class. Yep, it’s painful, but it’s manageable, and you can be assured that the AVSE-TESOL team on the ground in Phnom Penh will be by your side every step of the way.