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See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Cambodia for information on U.S. – Cambodia relations.
You will need a valid passport and a Cambodian visa to enter Cambodia. Tourist and business visas are valid for one month from the date of entry into Cambodia. Cambodia offers on-line visa processing. You may also apply in person at the Cambodian Embassy located at 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011, tel. 202-726-7742, fax 202-726-8381.
Tourists and business travelers may also obtain a Cambodian visa at the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and at all major border crossings. Cambodian immigration officials at airports now collect fingerprints upon entry using an inkless, electronic process. You will need two passport-sized (4cm by 6cm) photographs and a passport valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of entry into Cambodia.
If you remain in Cambodia beyond the date of your authorized stay, Cambodian immigration officials will impose a fine of $10 per day overstayed. In cases of excessive overstays, you may be arrested for violating immigration laws, and detained as you undergo official deportation proceedings at your own expense. Deportation from Cambodia may result in your being prohibited from reentering Cambodia in the future. You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Cambodia or visit the Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia website for the most current visa information.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Cambodia.
The Department of State is concerned that individuals and groups may be planning terrorist actions against U.S. citizens and interests, as well as at sites frequented by Westerners in Southeast Asia. See Department of State’s Worldwide Caution. Extremist groups in Southeast Asia have transnational capabilities to carry out attacks against locations where Westerners congregate. U.S. citizens residing in, or traveling to, Cambodia should therefore exercise caution in clubs, discos, bars, restaurants, hotels, places of worship, schools, outdoor recreation venues, tourist areas, beach resorts, and other places frequented by foreigners. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and avoid police action, crowds, and demonstrations. During political standoffs in November 2015 and again in May 2016, authorities deployed armed commando units; political violence broke out at the National Assembly in October 2015, injuring two lawmakers. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can quickly escalate into violence without warning as seen in January 2014 when several people were killed by security forces. National elections are scheduled for July 2018. Domestic political conflicts and anti-American rhetoric by officials may raise the overall tensions in the country. Although the Embassy has no specific information regarding any planned demonstrations or security issues at this time, we urge all U.S. citizens to exercise caution. Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence without warning.
Land mines and unexploded ordnance are found in remote rural areas throughout Cambodia, and especially in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Siem Reap, and Kampong Thom provinces. Travelers in these regions should never walk in forested areas or even in dry rice paddies without a local guide. Areas around small bridges on secondary roads are particularly dangerous. Travelers should not touch anything that resembles a mine or unexploded ordnance; they should notify the Cambodia Mine Action Center at 012-800-473/023-995-437.
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CRIME: Cambodia has a high crime rate, including street crime. Military weapons and explosives are readily available to criminals despite authorities’ efforts to collect and destroy such weapons. Armed robberies occur frequently, and foreign residents and visitors, including U.S. citizens, are among the victims. The Embassy has also received reports that residences and hotel rooms of U.S. citizens in Phnom Penh were burglarized while the occupants were asleep.
The most common type of theft is “snatch and grab” robbery, and anything that can be quickly grabbed is at risk: cameras, jewelry, purses, backpacks, mobile phones, etc. Exercise caution and keep belongings out of sight if you travel via “tuk-tuk,” as passengers in these open-air vehicles have been targeted by thieves. If walking along the street, make yourself less of a target by carrying bags or items in your hand or on the shoulder that is furthest from the street. If someone attempts to rob you, you should surrender your valuables immediately, since any perceived resistance may be met with physical violence, including lethal force. The U.S. Embassy has received reports of violent robberies escalating into fatalities. In September 2013, a U.S. citizen resident in Cambodia was shot in the leg during an armed robbery. In October 2013, a U.S. citizen tourist was killed on the tourist island of Koh Rong off the coast of Sihanoukville. In April 2014, a Dutch resident and her young child were stabbed to death after an intruder entered her home attempting to steal a bicycle.
Pickpockets, some of whom are beggars, are present in the markets and at the tourist sites. Sometimes they may act overly friendly, placing their hand on your shoulder or back to distract you in order to pick your pocket.
To avoid the risk of theft or confiscation of original documents, the U.S. Embassy advises its personnel and all U.S. citizens traveling to, or residing in, Cambodia to carry photocopies of their U.S. passport, driver's license, and other important documents and to leave the originals in a hotel safe or other secure place. The U.S. Embassy advises citizens not to give their passport as collateral for motorcycle rentals, hotels, etc. Local police rarely investigate reports of crime against tourists, and travelers should not expect to recover stolen items. It has also been reported that some police stations charge foreigners between $20 and $100 to file a police report.
Foreigners travelling to Cambodia should be aware of common scams targeting tourists, often involving card games. The Embassy has received reports of U.S. citizens being approached by individuals in public locations, such as popular shopping malls, and being invited to their homes where they end up participating in card games. These are often scams to steal tourists’ money. If you find yourself a victim of one of these scams, you should contact the U.S. Embassy.
Foreigners travelling to Cambodia should be aware of crime targeting tourists involving drugged drinks . The Embassy has received reports of U.S. citizens’citizen’s drinks being drugged at bars in order to incapacitate them for theft or sexual assault. Do not accept drinks from strangers and do not leave drinks unattended.
The U.S. Embassy advises citizens to be wary of scams involving individuals claiming they are in Cambodia and need financial assistance from the U.S. The Embassy has determined that many of these requests are fraudulent and the individuals making the requests use false identities.
The U.S. Embassy advises its personnel who travel to the provinces outside of Phnom Penh to exercise caution outside the provincial towns at all times. Many rural parts of the country remain without effective policing. Avoid walking alone after dusk anywhere in Sihanoukville, especially along the waterfront. You should be particularly vigilant during annual festivals and at tourist sites in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville, where there have been marked increases in motorcycle “snatch and grab” thefts of bags and purses.
If you are visiting Cambodia, you should practice sound personal security awareness by varying your routes and routines, maintaining a low profile, not carrying or displaying large amounts of cash, not wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, and not walking alone after dark. In addition, you should travel by automobile and not use local moto-taxis or cyclos (passenger-carrying bicycles). These vehicles are more vulnerable to armed robberies and offer no protection against injury when involved in traffic accidents.
U.S. citizens are advised not to engage in commercial surrogacy arrangements in Cambodia at this time. In October 2016, the Government of Cambodia issued an official proclamation banning commercial surrogacy in Cambodia. Those with surrogacy cases already in progress should consult a lawyer and contact the U.S. Embassy with any questions. Please keep in mind that U.S. citizens and other foreigners in Cambodia are subject to Cambodian laws and procedures.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: Report crimes to the local police and contact the U.S. Embassy at 023-728-402, 051, or 234. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should contact the U.S. Embassy first.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
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CRIMINAL PENALTIES: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cambodia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. If you break local laws in Cambodia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
The legal process in Cambodia does not mirror that of the United States. The same rights and protections afforded those accused of a crime in the U.S. are not guaranteed in Cambodia, and the judicial process may be influenced by political, personal, and financial connections. In both the criminal and civil judicial systems, resources devoted to the investigation/discovery and trial process fall far below the standard expected in the United States. Cambodia routinely employs pre-trial detention for those charged with criminal offenses, sometimes for long periods of time before a trial is scheduled. Prison conditions in Cambodia are sub-standard and over crowded, with little access to health care or basic nutritional requirements.
U.S. citizens in Cambodia should be aware that there are limits to the assistance the Embassy can offer to those with concerns about due process or the fairness of their trial, as we are unable to interfere in the legal processes of a host country.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Arrest notifications: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: While there are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Cambodia, same sex marriage is not permitted.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in Cambodia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the United States. Currently, except for buildings and hotels that have been built under international standards, most public places and public transportation are not accessible. Persons with disabilities will face difficulties with Cambodia’s sidewalks, rest rooms, road crossings, and tourist areas.
Women Travelers: There have been reports of sexual assaults in the vicinity of drinking establishments and possible date rape drugs being used to incapacitate female travellers. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Water Festival: During this annual festival, which takes place in Phnom Penh in November, the population increases significantly as millions of Cambodians from every town and province flock to the capital for three days. You should avoid crowded areas near the riverfront during the Water Festival holiday.
Customs: Cambodian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Cambodia of items such as drugs, firearms, antiquities, or ivory. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Cambodia in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Ban on Insulting Monarchy: There are freedom of speech restrictions in Cambodia. Anyone who criticizes or insults the King by any means could face between one to five years in prison. This ban includes insults, or criticism made online and via social media.
Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is allowed under Cambodia's 1996 nationality law. However, if you have Cambodian nationality and possess another nationality, you may be viewed as a Cambodian citizen in any court proceedings and face stricter sentences.
Business Transactions: Some U.S. citizens have reported threats of personal injury, extortion, detention, or kidnapping related to personal business disputes, in particular those involving real estate. If you are planning to engage in real estate deals or other significant financial transactions, please proceed with caution and retain the appropriate legal counsel.
Financial Transactions: The U.S. dollar is widely used, especially for larger transactions, and most prices are quoted in dollars. Ripped or torn U.S. bills are not accepted. The Cambodian riel can also be used, but it is less favored and is mostly given to tourists as change for dollar purchases. The riel is commonly used in smaller towns and rural areas. Credit cards are increasingly accepted within Cambodia, and a number of banks in Phnom Penh accept Visa cards for cash advances. Credit cards are often subject to a service charge. Banks and major hotels accept travelers' checks but usually charge a service fee. Several international banks operate ATM machines that allow travelers to obtain U.S. dollar currency in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and other urban centers. Personal checks are not generally accepted. Several banks serve as Western Union agents, to which funds can be wired, including in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and other provincial cities. Information on Western Union can be found at their website.
Photography: Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest — including government buildings, military installations, airfields, and bridges — may result in problems with the authorities and confiscation of your camera.
Medical facilities and services in Cambodia do not meet international standards. Both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have a limited number of internationally-run clinics and hospitals that can provide basic medical care and stabilization. Medical care outside of these two cities is almost non-existent. Local pharmacies provide a limited supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications, but because the quality of locally obtained medications can vary greatly, make sure to bring a supply of your medications that is adequate for the duration of your stay in Cambodia. You should be wary of purchasing local medication. Counterfeit medication is readily available, often indiscernible from authentic medication, and potentially lethal.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Cambodia to ensure the medication is legal in Cambodia. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
Be careful if purchasing off-brand medication from pharmacies in Cambodia. Drugs sold in pharmacies can be fake and possibly dangerous. In 2017 two backpackers reportedly died from ingesting locally purchased over-the-counter medicine for food poisoning.
Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Cambodia. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Road Condition and Safety: You should not drive at night in Cambodia outside of city limits. Roads between major areas are adequate; however, roads leading to rural areas are poor. During the rainy season, road conditions deteriorate considerably, and roadside assistance is non-existent. Cambodian drivers routinely ignore traffic laws, and vehicles are poorly maintained. Intoxicated drivers are commonplace, particularly during the evening hours. Travel is recommended in daylight between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. There are also frequent bus accidents, including one in 2013 when a bus crossed the center line and crashed into a car in which six foreign family members were traveling, killing three and critically injuring three.
Serious flooding occurs throughout Cambodia from June through November. Travel on unpaved or dirt roads is virtually impossible after heavy rainfall. The National Route highways are the only roads that can be traveled with caution during this time of the year.
Traffic Laws: In the event you are in a traffic accident, you should cooperate with the police. You should also contact your insurance company for guidance in dealing with the other party and the police. To avoid the risk of theft or confiscation of original documents, the U.S. Embassy advises its personnel and all U.S. citizens traveling to, or residing in, Cambodia to carry photocopies of their U.S. passport, driver's license, and other important documents and to leave the originals in a hotel safe or other secure place.
While in Cambodia, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Traffic in Cambodia is composed of a mix of automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, and tuk tuks. As a result of poor roads, intoxication, and disregard for traffic laws, traffic accidents are a common occurance. You should exercise great caution in moving through the country, regardless of mode of transportation.
Public Transportation: Travelers should exercise caution when using inter-city buses, including those to popular tourist destinations such as Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Despite the wide availability of moto-taxis, you should not use them due to safety concerns. Be vigilant when traveling by “tuk-tuk” or “cyclo” because personal belongings can be easily stolen. Organized emergency services for victims of traffic accidents are non-existent outside of major urban areas, and those available in major urban areas are inadequate.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Cambodia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Cambodia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Cambodia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website (https://homeport.uscg.mil), and the NGA broadcast warnings website https://msi.nga.mil/NGAPortal/MSI.portal (select “broadcast warnings”).