Guidance

Living in Cambodia

Official information British people moving to and living in Cambodia need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals moving to, or living in Cambodia, including where to find advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements, finance and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our embassy website for more details of what our embassies, high commissions and consulates can and cannot do to help. This information supplements our Cambodia Travel Advice.

Our publication Support for British Nationals Abroad: A guide sets out the steps that British nationals can take to stay safe abroad, and provides details on what help the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) can provide if you do get into difficulty.

Before you go

See our travel advice for Cambodia for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

See also moving or retiring abroad.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

You should follow the advice of Cambodia’s government and your local authority. You can also read Cambodia travel advice for our latest guidance.

For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Cambodia, see our coronavirus travel advice.

Stay up to date

You should:

Entry and residency requirements

There are no residence requirements in Cambodia apart from obtaining a current valid visa. Cambodian permanent residency can be granted on a case-by-case basis but this is at the discretion of the King and can depend on language ability and other factors.

To obtain an entry visa please contact the Cambodian Embassy in London.

Renewal of long-term visas can currently be completed as normal in-country.

Healthcare and medication

Visit the health section of our travel advice page for detailed advice on medical services, vaccinations and health risks in Cambodia.

Cambodia and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. You are strongly advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance before travelling. You will be liable for any medical fees that you incur.

Insurance companies in Cambodia:

If you intend to be out of the UK for a prolonged period, you should also make sure you are covered by health insurance for UK treatment or you will be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK.

The NHS has information for people moving abroad.

Some private hospitals in Cambodia have English speaking staff who will assist patients, their relatives and insurance companies. Staff in public hospitals often speak little or no English.

Medicine

If you are on a prescription for any form of medication you should ensure you have a supply of it available, or are able to obtain it once in Cambodia. Certain medicines may not be available in Cambodia (including major brands readily available in the UK) and may be prohibited from entering the country. You should consult your General Physician before travelling to Cambodia to learn of any alternatives which may be available.

For information on bringing medication into Cambodia please enquire at the Cambodian Embassy in London. You should also check your prescriptions are legal in Cambodia. You must apply for a permit to bring drugs containing psychotropic or narcotic substances into the country. It is advisable to consult with a medical professional if you have any queries.

Health insurance

If you are a resident in Cambodia ensure you have taken out an appropriate health insurance policy.

Insurance companies in Cambodia:

If you are a visitor, arrange comprehensive travel insurance before you travel. Make sure your policy covers the following:

  • an air ambulance, in case you need to be flown home by this means
  • full medical cover (medical bills can be expensive)
  • repatriation of your remains in the event of death
  • repatriation of your family in the event it is necessary for you to return home due to illness or injury

Working in Cambodia

If you plan to work, volunteer or conduct business or investment activities, you must apply for a visa (see visas). You should make arrangements through your employer or volunteer organisation and ask the Cambodian Embassy in London for advice and information.

Your volunteering organisation should be legally registered with the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce. You will need a recommendation letter from the volunteer organisation for your visa application and the work permit.

If you think you may need them, you should get your UK education certificates legalised before you leave the UK.

Good Conduct Certificates (Police Criminal Checks)

The British Embassy does not issue a letter to vouch for your good conduct or get involved in the process of obtaining a police criminal check (CRB/Good Conduct Certificate). This is best done in person at the Ministry of Justice before you leave the UK but can be done online at https://www.acro.police.uk/police_certificates.aspx.

To obtain a police check in Cambodia, see How to obtain Police Clearance report. For your convenience, you can also download the CV form in advance. You should check with the Ministry of Justice directly if you have further queries.

Currency

The Cambodian Riel is the official currency of Cambodia but the US dollar is widely used and accepted everywhere. Prices in hotels, shops and restaurants are quoted in US dollars and Riels but increasingly Riels are becoming the preferred currency.

Please see the entry in our Travel Advice on money for more information.

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

See information about taxes in Cambodia from the Cambodia Revenue Department. We recommend you seek professional advice on paying tax in Cambodia.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

Life certificates for UK state pensions - if you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit cannot be paid if you are abroad for more than four weeks.

Driving in Cambodia

See driving abroad and the Local Travel section of our Travel Advice.

For information on obtaining a local drivers licence, please see the General Department of Public Works and Transport’s website.

If you are asked for a letter authenticating, certifying or validating your UK driver’s licence, you should contact your UK issuing office (e.g. the DVLA).

Also see taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Language, social ethics and traditions

  • The official language of Cambodia is Khmer.
  • Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia
  • There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual activity but public attitudes can be mixed.
  • There are numerous Facebook groups and other expat online forums from which you can obtain first-hand information on living in Cambodia.

Voting

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

See voting when you’re abroad.

Births, deaths and getting married

See register a birth abroad.

See what to do after someone dies and bereavement information for Cambodia.

See getting married abroad. The British Embassy can perform a same-sex marriage ceremony where at least one partner is a British national.

Please see our list of English-speaking lawyers and translators and interpreters who may be able to provide you with legal services and official translations in Cambodia. Please note that inclusion in this list does not constitute official endorsement by the British Embassy or UK government.

Notarial and documentary services

Consular staff in Cambodia can administer an affirmation of freedom to marry or perform a same sex marriage.

See Notarial and documentary services for Cambodia.

British passport facilities

The British Embassy does not deal with passport applications and cannot provide advice on this. For information on how to apply for your first passport or renew an existing passport, please visit the overseas passport section on GOV.UK.

Ensure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to your home country. Cambodia will refuse entry on arrival and some airlines will not allow passengers to board flights if their passport does not meet this requirement.

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

Cambodia has the following emergency numbers:

Emergency Hotline Number 023 723 840

Emergency numbers in Phnom Penh

Police station 012 999 999
Fire service 011 997 296
Ambulance (S.A.M.U) 012 912 947
Ambulance (Calmette Hospital) 023 724 891
Traffic Police 012 896 628
Local police for a general emergency 117
General number for ambulance (S.A.M.U) 119

Please note, these numbers are not always answered and may not have English speaking staff.

Accommodation and buying property

Generally foreign nationals can own property in Cambodia but there are restrictions. You should contact a lawyer if you are considering buying property or land. List of Cambodian Lawyers and Public Notaries.

See buying property abroad.

Leaving Cambodia

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.

Visa overstay

You risk a heavy fine, detention and other severe penalties if you overstay your Cambodian visa. The overstay fine is $10 per day. This is payable at the Visa Office if your overstay period is more than 30 days. If your overstay is less than 30 days you have the option of settling the fine at the border upon leaving the country.

The Visa Office is located opposite the Phnom Penh International Airport at:

#332 Russian Federation Blvd (street 110)
Phnom Penh
Usual working hours are Monday to Friday 7:30am to 11:30am, 2pm to 5:30pm

Exit visa

If you are travelling with an Emergency Travel Document, you will require a Cambodian Exit Visa. The fee for the exit visa is $30 and payable to the Visa Office. The visa processing time is usually three working days.

Returning to the UK

If you live in Cambodia and are considering returning to live in the UK (for example on retirement) you should consider how you will support yourself and how non-British members of your family may be able to accompany you. There is information available to help you make informed choices about living abroad and thinking about returning to the UK.

National Insurance

If you have not made full National Insurance (NI) contributions, you may not be eligible for state benefits or support. HM Revenue & Customs provide some useful information on returning to live in the UK for non-residents, including how to make NI contributions from abroad.

Healthcare

Your entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of your residence in the UK, not your nationality. You must be able to show UK residency to be eligible for free treatment, even if you are a British citizen. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau or NHS can provide further information.

Visas

If you wish to return to live in the UK with family members who do not hold British citizenship, they will need to meet the UK’s immigration requirements for settlement in the UK. See the UK Visa and Immigration page for more details.

Published 22 October 2013
Last updated 9 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Edited contact details and services

  2. Coronavirus section added with a link to guidance on vaccines.

  3. Added latest information.

  4. All sections updated.

  5. Updated: Residence requirements

  6. updated format

  7. updated format

  8. First published.