For foreigners who donate at least US$245,000 or invest US$305,000 in authorized projects, Cambodia grants expedited citizenship (3–4 months).
The public is not familiar with the Cambodia Citizenship by Investment initiative, and it is not really promoted internationally. It is one of the least clear investment programs with regards to speed and total investment amounts including fees. This is probably one of the reasons why obtaining the Khmer nationality is not more popular.
The Citizenship by investment program, which was passed into law in 1994, grants foreigners the right to become Cambodian nationals in exchange for a business investment.
Asian countries tend to be very strict with land and property ownership for foreigners, and so is Cambodia. The opportunity to purchase land and other property in their own names and the availability of visa-free travel to other Asian nations are the most frequently mentioned benefits for foreigners. Foreign nationals who have made outstanding contributions to the country have also been granted citizenship in Cambodia.
General program specifications
The citizenship by investment program in Cambodia offers a number of paths to qualification:
a gift of 1 million Korean won (US$245,000) to the Cambodian government.
A foreigner can become a citizen of Cambodia by making an investment of 1.25 billion riels, or about US$312,500. The seven-year residency is not required in this instance. However, there are still additional qualifications for naturalization, such as linguistic proficiency.
Any foreigner who has implemented a concrete project after receiving a letter of authorization for investment from the Cambodian Development Council (CDC), OR Any foreigner who does not have a letter of authorization for investment from the Cambodian Development Council (CDC), but who has obtained legal authorization for investment from the government, must have their business project approved by the government.
A US$305,000 (1.25 million KHR) investment into a project based on having received approval for the investment from the government; OR A US$305,000 (1.25 million HKR) investment into an actual project based on having received approval for the investment from the Cambodian Development Council (CDC).
Additional admin costs
There’s additional admin costs that can amount to an additional $100k+:
- Deposit of US$5,000;
- US$25,000 before application submission;
- US$40,000 following application approval by the government; and
- US$15,000 after the passport is available for pickup.
After the primary applicant has been granted citizenship, dependents, spouses, and any minor children may apply for citizenship by paying US$5,000 in fees. It will take 3 to 6 months to complete this.
Is Cambodia citizenship by investment worth it?
The Cambodian passport is unlikely to increase the mobility of those who invest in citizenship because it only has 53 countries that don’t require visas, and none of them are in Europe or North America.
The Cambodian citizenship by investment program is primarily of interest to those who have a particular interest in Cambodia and want to have the same rights to private property ownership and settlement as locals.
If you’re interested in obtaining Cambodian citizenship—the program’s alternative name—keep in mind that wealthy foreign investors are frequently attracted to it. The investments made in the nation strengthen the economy, increase employment opportunities and provide the government with funds to spend on behalf of its people.
Every nation with citizenship by investment schemes also has appropriate policies and processes in place for carrying them out. They heavily publicize their program and list all of the conditions for candidates, beginning with the declaration of holding a valid, current visa.
The 10 billion KHR ($250,000) donation option from Cambodia was withdrawn in December 2021.
Instead of a passive investment, Cambodia now demands a 13 billion KHR ($320,000) business investment.
If the government has any specific requirements, such as real estate investment, they will publicize them. Their motivations are well stated.
A Cambodian applicant must provide the required paperwork and pass a history exam. On each step of the application procedure, they provide clear instructions. Before determining who to grant citizenship to, all governments go through a thorough due diligence procedure, screening and reviewing every aspect of each applicant.
- Minimal prerequisites for physical presence;
- allows dual citizenship or multiple citizenship;
- less expensive taxes;
- decreased cost of living;
- a sense of safety and security;
- a warm climate;
- Speedy processing
The application procedure is said to take 3–4 months, and an additional 3–6 months are added for naturalization of family members. To be considered a dependent, children must be under the age of 18.
After submitting an application and making the required investment in a project that has been approved by the Cambodia Development Council or Royal Government, the applicant will receive their Khmer citizenship within 3 to 6 months.
The toughest part is that an applicant must pass a Khmer literature exam given by the Prakas of the Minister of Interior, which is one of the biggest potential barriers to approval.
After satisfying the final financial conditions, if the application is accepted, the candidate must travel to Cambodia to acquire his citizenship and passport. The investor must be in possession of a current guest visa or be authorized to enter Cambodia without one. After swearing loyalty, the applicant will obtain his passport. Cambodia accepts dual nationality.
Why isn’t Cambodia mentioned as a CBI possibility more frequently?
Still curious in how people become citizens of Cambodia? Get in line; you are one of the thousands who have the same question. Nobody truly understands how this program operates.
The execution of the Cambodian citizenship program has received the most criticism. The program does exist in theory, but implementing it is really challenging.
There are no specifics about the initiative supplied by the Cambodian government. Even the precise cost is a mystery. To take advantage of this program, you must be connected to the Cambodian King, who has the authority to grant citizenship to anybody he chooses. Only then will you be able to obtain a letter from the Cambodian Development Council authorizing your investment.
The process is challenging as a result of this. There isn’t a formal process. It’s unclear whether the payment is a direct bribe or is made in exchange for citizenship.
There are far better choices that have much more transparency regarding the procedure and policy available.
The initiative in Cambodia is still very new, though. You can very much invest or contribute as much money as you like because there are no established restrictions or investments. Once more, your money will be referred to as “payment for citizenship,” which creates questions.
Why would someone spend money on a citizenship in Cambodia?
The perks of traveling more freely that come with second passports are not the main driver of obtaining Cambodian citizenship. The only people who are permitted to buy land or other tangible property in the country are Cambodian natives due to the country’s tight rules.
This raises the question, “What inspired you to apply for a second passport?”
Cambodian citizenship is not the best choice for you if your goal is to expand your passport options, make travel more accessible, or locate tax-friendly locations around the world.
Only if you are expressly intending to purchase land in Cambodia is a Cambodian passport required. This passport is typically desired by travelers leaving China or other repressive nations in the area.
Those who select citizenship will be pleased to learn that they have the option to live either overseas or in the tranquil countryside of Cambodia, which has allowed dual citizenship since 1996. If the nation would confer citizenship in another manner, it cannot be to parents who are foreign nationals. It must be to children born to at least one parent who is a citizen of Cambodia.
Only if you want to purchase farmland for agricultural use might you use Cambodian citizenship. Therefore, this is your best option if you want to keep owning land until Cambodia changes its rules and permits foreigners to own land in the nation.
Interestingly, the economy has improved on its own, and prices in Southeast Asia doubled as expected. The cost of goods has quadrupled in Cambodia.
One of the few nations to have escaped recent global and regional recessions is Cambodia. However, these exponential price rises in real estate are not always sustainable.
Buying Property in Cambodia
The ability to purchase land in Cambodia is the most lucrative possibility that comes with having a citizenship in Cambodia. A Cambodian passport is the only surefire way to invest in real estate in that country.
Only those with citizenship in Cambodia, often known as Khmer citizens, are allowed to purchase land. A Cambodian passport entitles you to direct or indirect ownership of agricultural land and ground-floor properties throughout the nation.
We use the term “ground floor” since foreigners are able to legally own apartments in the majority of Southeast Asian nations. The problem is that they are unable to purchase the property or the houses on it.
Even the purchase of apartments by foreigners is prohibited in some Southeast Asian nations.
How can I become a Cambodian citizen?
The procedure for the citizenship by investment program in Cambodia is unclear. There are no formal prerequisites for citizenship in Cambodia.
The passport application procedure is unknown to us. There is no information available about the methodology used to develop this program. Additionally, we are unsure of how to complete or even if there is a citizenship application for Cambodia.
The procedure is dangerous. Any valid passport application is not provided with transparency or clarity, so there is no way to verify the legitimacy of the officials you contact.
If you do not intend to live in Cambodia, the citizenship by investment program is most definitely not for you. There isn’t much to do in one of the poorest nations in the world.
Leaving all of that aside, you might benefit from this program depending on your goals, but as a second citizenship the Cambodian passport doesn’t really provide additional travel benefits.