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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cambodia: e-visa or visa on arrival?

Cambodia has a very simple e-visa policy. One need to go to their website, fill in the details and upload the photograph. The e-visa is then sent to the registered email within 3 days. Sounds good but still I decided to get visa on arrival at Siem Reap airport. Why?

Tanu posing in front of Angkor wat temple in Cambodia
My preference was definitely e-visa as the process was simple. But while filling details for e-visa, I came to know that the fee was 40$ for e-visa whereas visa on arrival costs just 30$. Online stuff should be normally cheaper but that was not in the case of Cambodian e-visa. Since the payment is done by credit card, the banks also charge more exchange rate than normal rupee to dollar conversion. In general e-visa seemed more expensive than visa on arrival. Since we were three of us, the difference was significant.

Visa on arrival is not a always a smooth process. You need to fill the form in the immigration area, wait in the queue, pay the money, sometimes show the proof that you can sustain the cost of visit and wait for the passport. Once I had a long layover at Bangkok airport and decided to spend some time in the city. But the queue at visa on arrival counter was long and did not move even after an hour. I decided to give up. (Things are better now!!)

I started looking at internet where many people suggested to go via visa on arrival route. I decided to take their advice. The remaining of this post is about my experience about visa on arrival.

One need to fill immigration form and customs declaration while entering Cambodia. If visa is not available, then visa on arrival form needs to be filled. All three forms were provided in our Air Asia’s Bangkok-Siem Reap flight. So, by the time we landed in Siem Reap all necessary forms were filled. On arrival, we directly headed to visa on arrival counter, handed over the forms and passport with one passport sized photograph. Also, paid the money for visa. If photograph is not available, they charge 2$ extra. Note that they accept only US dollars in cash. It is important to have US dollars in cash as the exchange centres are available after immigration. 

Then we had to wait for our passports. It just took 2-3 minutes. The people working there were very efficient and the entire process was done in a jiffy. Unlike e-visa which is a paper copy, at airport the visa is stamped on the passport. 

And in another minute we crossed immigration and were at the baggage belt where our bag was waiting for us!! Even if I had e-visa, I would have ended up waiting at the baggage belt.

In general, I feel that the visa on arrival for Cambodia is a simple process. I would suggest to go for it unless you have the following concerns.
  • Visa on arrival consumes a page in passport. It may be an issue for few people who are running out of pages in passport.
  • Coming on land route. Note that visa on arrival is only available at Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports and at few land crossings. Check their site for more details.
  • If you feel comfortable to have visa before arrival
  • Not having dollars in cash

8 comments:

krishna said...

Good information.. plz write your experience in Cambodia with pictures..

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Same happend with me when I went to Thailand... :)

R Niranjan Das said...

Helpful post, Aravind.

Aravind GJ said...

Krishna,

Thanks for your comments. Sure, will come with more posts.

Vineeta,
Thanks. Good to hear!!

Niranjan,
Thanks.

ವಿ.ರಾ.ಹೆ. said...

Thanks for this helpful info

Aravind GJ said...

ವಿ.ರಾ.ಹೆ.

Thanks for your comment.

AJEYA RAO said...

Very useful info. BTW, visa was valid for how many days?

Aravind GJ said...

Ajeya,

Thanks. The visa is valid for 30 days.