Obtaining a Work Permit in Cambodia


The Cambodian Department of Immigration (part of the Ministry of Interior) ensures all foreign nationals obtain an official work permit/employment card to be eligible to work in the country.

Updated March 2024

We look at how you can obtain a work permit in Cambodia and apply for a long-term extension to your ordinary “business” visa (also known as an E-visa).

Please note that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the issuing of visas and regulations changed for expats looking to work in Cambodia. This article is mainly concerning “normal” regulations.

Work permits employment card cambodia

Obtaining a Work Permit in Cambodia

New rules came into effect from Monday 4 September 2017 to enforce that a Cambodian Work Permit is required when foreigners apply for a six-month and one-year E visa extension. Cambodian Labour Law, Articles 261, 264, 265 and Prakas No. 196, dated August 20, 2014; already stated that all foreign nationals working in the Kingdom are required to hold a work permit.

Article 261 states “No foreigner can work unless he possesses a work permit and an employment card issued by the Ministry in charge of labour”. Foreign nationals wishing to work in Cambodia must also meet the following conditions:

  • Have a job offer from an employer compliant with relevant regulations regarding the employment of foreign nationals.
  • Have legally entered the Kingdom of Cambodia.
  • Possess a valid passport.
  • Possess a valid residency permit.
  • Be fit for the relevant job.
  • Have no contagious diseases.

In March 2024, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training introduced the Foreign Workers Centralized Management System (FWCMS) which allows foreigners to apply for a WP online in Cambodia (see more below).

Cambodian Visas

The Cambodia Visa and Work Permit Group is a free-to-join Facebook group that has excellent up-to-date information on the visa situation, especially in light of the ongoing changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also suggest you contact your nearest embassy or the Cambodian embassy for clarification.

E Visa

Three-month E visas for Cambodia can be obtained without a work permit/employment card, and extended indefinitely, however, they are only single entry compared to the multiple entry six-month and one-year E visas.

All new foreign arrivals to Cambodia must purchase a one-month E-type visa, priced at $35 – not a tourist (T) visa – to be eligible for an “Extension Of Stay” (EOS) EB visa. Currently, a one-month EB extension costs $50, three months is $80, six months is $160, and one year is $290 when purchased through an agent.

  • At the start of 2023, visitors can apply for the E-Type Visa, which is primarily aimed at short-term travellers to Cambodia, via an online application and applied to all countries.
  • Furthermore from the start of 2024, visitors can also opt for the “e-Arrival Card” scheme which replaces the paper immigration form, health form, and Customs Declaration, providing all under one single online portal.

The visa fees are supposed to be less when dealing directly with the Department of Immigration, although some foreigners report that this route can be a long drawn out and frustrating process and accept that paying an agent to handle things is the best way.

New visitors to Cambodia are allowed to apply for their first six-month, or one-year EOS EB visa, without obtaining a work permit, thus allowing them sufficient time to find a job. However, the application for their second six-month or one-year EB visa, and all subsequent long-term EB visas, must be accompanied by proof of a valid work permit.

Non-working spouses can also apply for EB visas but must provide a letter from the company employing their partner confirming their status in Cambodia in their visa application.

The Immigration Department revealed two new types of visa in 2017 – retirement visas (ER) and student visas (ES).

Retirement Visa (ER) Cambodia

Realestate.com.kh says in their guide to retiring in Cambodia that:

  • You must be 55 or older.
  • You cannot be employed.
  • You must be able to prove you are retired (with a pension or social security documentation) and have enough funds (bank or retirement fund statements).

If immigration officials catch an ER holder working in Cambodia, considerable fines and potentially jail time and deportation are to be imposed.

Student Visa (ES) Cambodia

The ES visa requires an official letter from the student’s educational institute confirming their enrolment.

EP Visa Cambodia

An EP visa is issued to foreign nationals looking for a job or considering starting a business in Cambodia after the expiry of their initial 30-day stay under the E-class visa.

The EP is extendable up to three months however foreigners unsuccessful in gaining employment within these three months are not permitted to continue their stay in the country.

Investment Visas – Cambodia

At the start of 2024, the Special Investment Promotion Program Announced For Sihanoukville was announced which mentions a new investment visa.

The proposed 3-year visa is aimed at the long-term purchase or rental of property investors in Sihanoukville with a value of USD $100,000+. More details have to be announced (for example who values the project/property) but the Prime Minister said a separate Sub-decree will outline more information.

It will also need to be clarified how this differs from the Cambodia My 2nd Home (CM2H) Program introduced in 2022.

Cambodian Work Permit applications

It is the responsibility of an employer to assist each of its foreign employees in requesting and securing a work permit and an employment card in Cambodia. However, if you do need to arrange for your own Cambodian work permit, see the information below.

It is advised to foreign workers in Cambodia to keep a copy of their work permit/employment card on their person at all times.

Online Applications – Foreign Workers Centralized Management System (FWCMS)

The Foreign Workers Centralized Management System (FWCMS) is a web-based online management system managed by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) in Cambodia.

A work permit/employment card, are two separate documents but can be applied for at the same time and considered as one application.

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MOLVT) upgraded from a manual to an online system (Central Management System) in 2017. The online processing system has been established in cooperation with a private company (E-Solution). 

Applications must be made online via the Ministry of Labour’s Foreign Workers Centralized Management System. 

The online system initially received substantial criticism, especially from foreigners frustrated with having their applications refused. Many of these expats were either self-employed or freelancing, although it is technically possible to successfully obtain a work permit/employment card for these types of workers. Individuals can get help with the application process from agents who charge a fee per application which varies on a case-by-case basis.

In Q1 2024, it was announced that FWCMS also should allow foreigners to apply for their required Work Permit online. The following were introduced via the online portal.

  1. Permits to use foreign labour (for employers)
  2. Registration of foreign labour contracts (For employers)
  3. Work permit and workbook for foreigners (for foreigners).

Work Permit Renewal period

The official period for renewal of a work permit is between January and March each year.

Companies must submit their Foreign Worker Quota Requests to the Ministry of Labour between September and November each year.

Processing Period – Cambodian Work Permits

The advised processing period for a Cambodian Work Permit is 15-20 working days after all supporting documents are submitted and the payment is completed.

In December 2023, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT) issued a clarification on the requirements (Instruction No. 110/23 MLVT)

  1. A foreign employer whose name is on the patent tax certificate must hold a foreign work permit. Applications for a foreign work permit can be submitted through the MLVT’s website by attaching the required documents: 
  • (i) valid passport
  • (ii) latest year’s patent tax certificate
  • (iii) physical aptitude certificate
  • (iv) photo (4×6 cm)

2. A foreign employee whose name is on a patent tax certificate or who is a self-employed person must hold a foreign work permit and employment card.

3. Foreign shareholders and members of the board of directors (as defined in the company’s articles of incorporation) who don’t have a Cambodian resident visa are not required to obtain a foreign work permit.

How much does the Cambodian Work Permit cost?

As of 2021, the fees for the Cambodian work permit are approximate:

  • USD $200 for a Work Permit.
  • USD $80 for a one-year penalty if you have never processed a work permit.
  • USD $35 for over quota per foreign staff (for companies).

*These could be subject to changes.

The minimum age for employment in Cambodia

In Cambodia, the minimum age for employment is 15 years, as set out in the Labour Law. Minors (under 18 years) cannot sign an employment contract without the consent of their parents or a guardian. A minor cannot be employed to perform night work either.

Register on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS)

The FPCS app will record foreigners’ information when they arrive in Cambodia at any entry point. It will also record their data when they leave Cambodia. The main purpose of FPCS is to protect foreigner’s safety and security in case of an emergency when they are travelling throughout Cambodia. It was enforced in early 2020.

Do I need to be registered on the FPCS System?

You are still required to be registered on the FPCS system when you are visiting Cambodia. The Foreigners Present in Cambodia System received a lot of attention in April and May 2020 when it was first introduced.

What is the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS)?

The Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration said it will not issue visa extensions for foreigners who failed to be registered on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System by July 1st 2020.

Landlords, property owners or hotels/guesthouses are required to register foreigners on the system and it is enforced by the Cambodian Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration.

The FPSC Cambodia App is free to download (Android and iOS).

If you have questions or issues with the FPCS app, we recommend you contact the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration – we are not associated with the app.

The Department of Immigration is located opposite the Phnom Penh International Airport and deals with visa extensions for foreigners.


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