Considering Cambodia is a country with relatively low cost of living, many people would want to live or retire and get citizenship here. The process to obtain this status is fairly straightforward although there are a number of ways that you can get it which are:
- Citizenship by Naturalization
- Donation or investment
- Birth and descent
In order to acquire the necessary documents to apply for citizenship, you will need to make a trip to the Ministry of Interior on Preah Norodom Boulevard in Phnom Penh. The required documents include your birth certificate, most recent passport photographs, proof of residential address, police clearance certificate, medical certificate and identification documents which can be your ID card, passport or driving license. Check out how to get a Cambodian driving license. The process can take up to 3 months to complete, but it will be worth the effort.
Why should you get Khmer citizenship?
Getting a Cambodian citizen can prove to be useful in multiple ways. On top of being able to travel to other ASEAN nations VISA-free, you will also be permitted to own land and other properties in your own name which can have many implications. Furthermore, licenses that are exclusive to Cambodian nationals can be applied for once the citizenship is obtained. Citizens are also able to enter and leave the country as they please without any need for VISA.
Most notable figures that have been granted citizenship by the Cambodian government include world renowned actress Angelina Jolie, former 20th Century Fox film executive Scott Neeson, Olympic athlete Kuniaki Takizaki, and British television and film producer Mathew Robinson.
Citizenship by Naturalization
As the name states, this method is the most common and natural way, but its drawback is that it takes a very long time to complete – 7 years to be exact. After spending the required duration in the country, applicants will need to sit through and exam in Khmer writing, speaking and history. In addition, you will also have to request a certificate of good behavior and moral conduct from the local authorities (your commune) to prove that you are clean off any criminal offence while residing in the Kingdom. If they are able to find any records of offence, then you are automatically disqualified for citizenship.
Citizenship by Donation or Investment
Possibly the most talked about method for citizenship, this program allows foreigners to become a Cambodian citizen through business investment in the country or donate straight to the national treasury. Although you can avoid having to spend 7 years here through this method, it is still required by law to be fluent in Khmer language. Citizenship by investment demands applicants to invest at least 1.25 billion riels (around USD 312,500) in the country.
Akin to the investment program, if you do not have any intention of using your money for business purposes, a donation to the national budget of 1 billion riel (around USD 250,000) can still be made and achieve the same result. This donation can be helpful to the development of Cambodia and its people.
Citizenship by Marriage
Cambodia also grants those who are bound to the country by love through citizenship by marriage. Foreigners who are married to a Khmer spouse are eligible to apply for citizenship after 3 years of being wedded. All that is required is the proof of the union which is the marriage certificate.
Citizenship by Birth and Descent
Finally, as stated in Cambodian law, any child who is born to a Khmer parent regardless of place of birth shall be granted citizenship. This also applies to children born in the country to foreign parents who are currently a Cambodian citizen.
National Legislative Bodies. Kingdom of Cambodia. (1996). Law on Nationality, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b5210.html