The easiest, cheapest second residency in the world

Written by Andrew Henderson

Dateline: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Having spent quite a bit of time in Cambodia recently, I thought it would be a good idea to put together an update on how easy it is to get a second residence here. Not only is a Cambodian residency one of the easiest to get anywhere in the world, practically anyone can qualify. Now, we talk a lot about second residencies and second passports, so I don’t want anyone to be confused between the two. When I talk about Cambodia, I’m looking at the country as a place to establish a second residency.

Everyone has different reasons for wanting a second residency. Some people want to establish their ties to a country for familial reasons, others for practical reasons; some just fall in love with a place and want to live there.

I work with a lot of people who want to take advantage of legal ways to reduce their tax obligations or those who want to work toward a second passport. Whatever your reasons for checking out a second residence, you could do a lot worse than Cambodia.

First of all, it’s not an option that everyone will want to pursue, nor is it a second residency in the most traditional sense. However, because it’s so easy, it’s a great way to notch up a second residency in Asia, and it’s useful to have it in your arsenal.

Getting residency in Cambodia

What Cambodia offers is a visa on arrival — you show up at the airport, pay a small fee, and get a visa. For less than $300, you can turn this tourist visa into a one-year business visa by using a local “fixer” service.

These guys take your passport to the immigration office, and a couple of days later you get your 12-month pass. This can be renewed every year for a small fee. What this gives you is the right to live in Cambodia and run your online business from the country. So if you are looking for a home in Southeast Asia – and don’t want to invest $280,000 in Thailand or $70,000 in a bank in Malaysia – it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to do it this way.

What you need to understand is that, on its own, this business visa is not going to be something that leads to citizenship or a second passport.

Nor is it the best second residency to choose if you want to declare your tax as a non-resident. Speaking to my tax advisors, there are some that say, “Yeah, if you live in Cambodia — maintain ties, live, and actually spend time there — then there are countries that would allow you to not pay tax.” However, it’s not a guarantee, though it is, perhaps, an option for those looking for a second residency as somewhere to actually live.

Advantages of Cambodia residency

Even if you’re not planning on settling down in Cambodia, there are a couple of reasons I still think the residency a good option.

1. An easy way to start

When you’re beginning the process of going offshore and are first building your NomadCapitalist lifestyle, getting a couple of quick wins under your belt is important. If your first foray into the process requires investing $300,000 in a bank account in Thailand, you may naturally feel a little apprehensive. Why not ease yourself in with something that costs a few hundred bucks? So, that’s the first thing, it’s kind of a fun way to play with getting a second residency without it costing you a great deal of time or money.

2. Gets you ready for action

Once you’ve got a second residence under your belt, you’ll be in the right mindset to explore other opportunities, ones that will bring you additional benefits, such as lowering your tax obligations or giving you a better passport or more attractive permanent base. Whatever your motivation, action begets more action.

3. A good base for Southeast Asia

Okay, Cambodia might not be the place you want to live permanently, but it does have plenty of good points. It’s well located for travelers who frequently visit Malaysia, Thailand, or Vietnam. And it actually has a better infrastructure than you’d credit it with. Phnom Penh has high-speed internet and a reliable (for South East Asia) power supply, and recent development continues to bring modernization to what was once a crumbling colonial city. As a part-time place to live, you could do worse.

4. Opportunities for the frontier market investor

As a base, Cambodia is a useful springboard for all kinds of offshore investment markets, as well as presenting opportunities of its own. Having a second residency makes it that much easier to explore these — even if you don’t intend to live in the country full-time. What is clear is that the Cambodian government is pretty keen to make it as easy as possible for investors and business people to take advantage of the country’s visa extension program. From what I’ve seen, and from speaking to people here, there don’t seem to be too many backpackers or tourists using the service. Far from it — the people extending their visas are generally looking to invest and are actively seeking opportunities.

You’ll be in great company

It’s a good sign when you find investors with an appetite for opportunity in a country that is offering an all you can eat buffet. I talk a lot about how great it is for Georgia’s economy that the country lets pretty much everyone in on a tourist visa for 360 days. And I think Cambodia’s business visa policy is cut from the same cloth.

If you’re looking for a legal second residence visa, this is definitely one that you should consider — just remember that it’s not a full-fledged second residence for all purposes. But in terms of being able to live somewhere and potentially establish business ties there, it is pretty darn easy and pretty darn cheap.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Dec 26, 2019 at 6:33PM

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  1. ali hassan

    well dome nomad capitalist, i like your work.

  2. hassan ali

    well dome.. work your is good.

  3. Bill Hely

    When will online authors realise that their articles become much more valuable if they would just respond to comments and answer questions?

    • Andrew Henderson

      Bill, we don’t offer support for our free services as we choose to focus on paying clients. If you’d like help we’d be happy to consider you here:

  4. Gurdayal Mann

    I want visa for senond home or business visa

  5. Mustafezur Rahman

    how are you? we are from Bnagladesh, doing business over Brazil. but now, we want to open a clothes business in cambodia please help me about it. thanks and best regards.

  6. Rafiqul Islam

    Have a good day. If I come there in a tourist visa, visa, can I convert it to one year Visa through your help that you mention less than 300$ .

  7. Sunil Mani

    Dear Mr. Andrew Henderson,
    I am from the southern part of India called Chennai where people treat each other like dirt on d streets…..well there are educated well mannered ones tucked inside their own comfort zones….anyway I am a Landscape Designer in my 60 th year and my wife also in d same age more or less….Pls I love to start my Landscape business in Cambodia n my wife is an English professor with d highest qualification….I have property worth 40 million Indian Rupees…1 USD = 70 Rupees…and I can invest it there….my mobile number is 9789060013…can we chat on Whatsapp is that unprofessional….we can still mail eachother

  8. John

    I’m a Nigerian citizen and I’m looking at becoming a resident in Cambodia? Will having this resident permit allow me to travel more easier to other countries like Australia, Canada and the USA?

    Looking forward to receiving responses

  9. Mesbah Ahmed

    Well im interested to get residency in combodia. We are three me, wife and 6yrs old son. Can you pl help me

  10. John Bosco Sesay

    I am a Sierra Leonean citizen; I hold a degree in Print Journalism.
    Your assertion has lured my interest to practice journalism in Cambodia. Please pave my way to achieve this dream, as I hailed from a poor home.

    I am a young man of 32 years.

  11. Mohammed Mainul islam

    Hello ,
    This is Mohammed Mainul Islam from Bangladesh . I m working for real estate company .
    I like to move Cambodia. can I get job over there . I like to settle down .

  12. Anna

    Where can I find the “fixer” service to turn the tourist visa into a business visa?

  13. Ahmed

    Well im interested to get residency in combodia. We are three me, wife and 6yrs old son. Can you pl help me, I worked in real state in Brunei Darussalam.

  14. Isaac frempong

    I’m a Ghanaian passport holder and lives in China at the moment, after applying for the e-visa ( tourist visa) can you help me to get the residence, if yes then , what are the requirements or procedures to follow. Thinking of coming in June/July 2020


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