Now Cambodia competes with Thailand for 10-year visa long stayers

Phnom Penh is now unrecognisable from 20 years ago.

Cambodia’s interior ministry has announced the arrival of Cambodia My Second Home program with a 10-year unlimited entry and exit visa. The associated benefits will include state medical insurance, membership for spouses and close relatives and the chance to apply for a Cambodian passport after five years and enjoyment of ASEAN privileges.

Entry qualifications are investment of at least US$100,000 and ownership of a real estate “project” which means some form of property deal. The interior ministry’s partner in the newly-announced scheme is the Khmer Home Charity Association, an umbrella organization to facilitate long-term foreigners settling in. Applications are made through the website with a short waiting period of two weeks.

A spokesman said that the program was aimed at foreign professionals working for Cambodian or overseas companies, but wealthy retirees would be considered as long as they made the minimum investments. The scheme does not require compulsory medical insurance nor details of foreign bank accounts. Cambodia My Second Home, unlike the 10-year visa proposals for the new Thai immigration initiative, does not spell out bureaucratic detail. “We will judge every application on its merits rather than issuing lengthy checklists,” according to an email reply from the Cambodian sponsors.

Cambodia is now regarded as a regional economic tiger with annual growth rates averaging seven percent over the last two decades. Chinese investment has already transformed the capital Phnom Penh with mammoth infrastructure programs and ring roads. There are currently talks in progress between the two governments to fund a metro or monorail in the capital to reduce traffic congestion and accidents. The lack of public transport is currently one of Cambodia’s main domestic issues.