Council of Ministers Approves New Visa Law

Aiming to encourage Khmer nationals with foreign passports to visit Cambodia, the Council of Ministers last week approved a sub-decree that would waive their entrance fees and allow them to extend their tourist visas for as long as they like.

“Soon Cambodians living abroad can come here and stay indefinitely,” said Minister of Tourism Veng Sereyvuth, who said he played an important role in the sub-decree’s approval. He said it will encourage Cam­bodians abroad to “become ambassadors” here.

The measure, which must be signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen before it takes effect, also streamlines Cambodia’s ent­rance­-visa system, reducing the total number of visa types from 10 to seven.

Tourist visas will continue to cost $20, according to a Council release, and fees of diplomatic and business visas will not be changed. Officials stressed they will be stringent with improperly documented travelers or those they suspect come to do illegal work. Others will be welcomed, the release said.

“Visitors come and bring money for us,” said government adviser Pen Thol in a statement. “We need visitors, and if our visas were not refurbished, it was no good.”

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