A dispatch from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will end the practice of issuing official visas to dignitaries and foreign aid workers upon arrival in airports in Phnom Penh. From now on, the government says, the visas will have to be obtained in advance.
The new system, effective Friday, says Cambodian “embassies and consulates will issue these entry visas free of charge to official members of governmental delegations, to visitors, guests of the Royal Government of Cambodia and to official staff of diplomatic missions, UN agencies and international organizations and their family members on their official missions to Cambodia” in advance, the dispatch states.
Cambodia has 22 consulates, embassies and missions abroad, according to Hor Sothoun, head of the press department for the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
But while Hor Sothoun said the dispatch was issued on April 30, it has only come to light in the last few days. Combined with misleading language in the dispatch, it has ruffled the feathers of the international community here.
“We’re trying to get it clear ourselves. It’s been very difficult to try and track it down,” said one US Embassy official.
According to the ministry dispatch, “Travelers are kindly advised to apply, prior to their departure to Cambodia, for appropriate entry visas at the nearest Royal Cambodian embassies or consulates.”
Hor Sothoun, however, said the new practice would not affect business people or tourists.
(Additional reporting by Stew Magnuson)
© 1998 – 2013, All rights reserved.