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How to Get Cambodian Citizenship by Investment: the “Weird” Investment Program

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This article discusses how to get Cambodian citizenship by investment, its benefits, and application procedure. Note, however, that Cambodia’s CBI program isn’t as streamlined or popular as other CBI programs worldwide.

A lot of details are still missing, and applicants may find the actual application procedure to be different from what’s stated on the paper.

Cambodia may not be a widely popular country, but it’s emerging as one of the best investment spots in Asia, and that’s why it made it into our best Asian countries to invest in.

Cambodia also has a long-term residency program, Cambodia My 2nd Home, that allows foreigners to apply for Cambodian citizenship after five years. Moreover, it’s the only official pathway to Cambodian citizenship.

Long gone are the days of “West is the best”. Asia is the place to be now, with several countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, etc., excelling economically. However, unlike Europe or the US, Asia is still pretty reserved regarding granting citizenship to foreigners. Most countries have restrictions on real estate ownership for foreigners too.

So, you should grab the opportunity to enter the region when a country offers it. Asia can be a tricky market to enter without any professional help. That’s where we come in.

At Nomad Capitalist, we’ve helped our clients get citizenship in 28 countries and establish residency in 38 countries, including several Asian countries. Whether you want to invest in Asian real estate or acquire citizenship or residency in Asia, we can help you do it without any hassle. Get in touch with us today to discuss your plans in Asia.

Cambodia – Country Overview

A Closer Look at Citizenship by Investment Programs

Cambodia, a nation in Southeast Asia with low-lying areas, the Mekong Delta, mountains, and a coastline on the gulf. 

The art deco central market, the sparkling royal palace, and the archaeological and historical displays of the National Museum are some of Cambodia’s highlights found in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital.

Cambodia is an amazing country to visit, and it offers an intriguing frontier market with a lot of potential. Ideal for young entrepreneurs and savvy foreign investors looking for an up-and-coming place to start investing. 

How is the Cambodia Citizenship by Investment Program Different?

What Makes the Kingdom of Cambodia Program Different

Until now, the weirdest citizenship-by-investment program we’ve talked about has been Vanuatu citizenship by investment.  One strange thing about their program is that there are different prices for different applicants. Prices vary depending on who you are, who you know, and where you’re from. Quotes for citizenship can vary depending on your agent as well. 

The Cambodian Citizenship Program, also known as the Khmer citizenship program, works somehow similarly, too. The service fee for the Cambodian CBI program varies from person to person. Multiple people have claimed to pay different donation amounts or service fees. Hence the weirdness.

Moreover, you must submit relevant documents, as well as pass a test on Cambodian history. You must also travel to Cambodia to receive your citizenship and passport (after taking an Oath of Allegiance).

How To Get Cambodian Citizenship by Investment?

How Can I Get A Cambodian Citizenship  

You can obtain Cambodian citizenship within three to six months through the following routes:

  • Donation: Donate $245,000 to the Royal Government of Cambodia (the money goes to the national budget and is used to boost the Cambodian economy)
  • Investment: Invest at least $305,000 into a government-approved project.

Other basic requirements are as follows:

  • Applicant must be aged 18 or above.
  • Applicant must have a current and valid passport.
  • Applicant must have a current valid visa for entry into Cambodia.
  • Applicant must sound mentally and physically.

That’s what’s stated on the paper. However, the major criticism faced by the Cambodian citizenship program is its execution. While the program exists in theory, it’s extremely difficult to go through.

In reality, to acquire Khmer citizenship, you need to have connections to the King of Cambodia, who has the power to grant citizenship to whoever he chooses, allowing you to get a letter of authorization for investment from the Cambodian Development Council.

This is what makes the process difficult. There is no official procedure.

There are far better options available with much more clarity regarding the process and policy.  However, Cambodia’s program is still relatively new.

Why Cambodian Citizenship?

Why Cambodian Citizenship

The biggest reason to become a Cambodian citizen is not the travel benefits usually associated with second passports. Rather it’s the restrictive laws of the country that only allow Cambodian nationals to purchase land or on-ground property

This leads to the question: what is your motivation behind pursuing a second passport? 

If your answer is improving the passport portfolio, growing easy travel access, and finding tax-friendly places globally, then Cambodian citizenship isn’t the right option for you.

A Cambodian passport is only necessary if you are specifically looking to buy land in Cambodia. Generally, people leaving China or other restrictive countries in the region want this passport. Cambodia has also permitted dual citizenship, meaning you won’t have to renounce your current citizenship to acquire Khmer nationality.

Cambodia also grants citizenship by descent to anyone with at least one Khmer parent and citizenship by birth to those born in Cambodia to foreign parents (born and living legally in the Kingdom of Cambodia).

Traveling with a Cambodian Passport 

Traveling with a Cambodian Passport 

The Cambodian passport is a relatively low-quality travel document and is, therefore, not the most sought-after for visa-free travel. It’s not very useful if you want to travel to the West.

It does allow for travel within the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region, but it doesn’t allow for visa-free travel outside this region.

You might also be able to travel to some African countries visa-free with a Cambodian passport. 

Purchasing Land in Cambodia 

The most lucrative opportunity that Cambodian citizenship allows you is the ability to buy land in Cambodia. If you are looking to invest in Cambodia property, a Cambodian passport is the only fool-proof way to do so. 

The privilege of buying land is exclusively reserved for Cambodian citizens, or Khmer citizens, and citizenship holders. If you get a Cambodian passport, you can buy agricultural land and own ground floor properties in all parts of the country directly or through a Cambodian company.

We say ‘ground floor’ because, in most Southeast Asian countries, foreigners are legally allowed to own apartments. The catch is that they cannot buy the land it sits on or houses. 

Many Southeast Asian countries don’t even allow foreigners to buy an apartment. 

Cambodian CBI vs. Caribbean CBI Programs

The Cambodian citizenship by investment program is highly overpriced compared to the benefits it offers.

On the other hand, when you compare Cambodia with countries in the Caribbean, Cambodia doesn’t have much to offer.

  • The countries in the Caribbean have higher standards of living.
  • They offer excellent visa-free travel to numerous locations, and some are even tax-free. 
  • The price is much lower. Caribbean citizenship by investment programs starts at $100,000, compared to Cambodia’s $250,000.
  • Caribbean countries have straightforward procedures in place for their programs.

While Cambodia remains a great country to visit, its citizenship-by-investment program is somewhat lacking, and the price for citizenship is not great at all.

Caribbean passports make for excellent second passports thanks to all the perks they offer. If you want a fast, cheap, and streamlined Caribbean passport, get in touch with us today.

Should You Get Cambodian Citizenship? 

The only use you could have for Cambodian citizenship is if you are planning to buy farmland in Cambodia for agricultural or real estate investment purposes. So if you want to continue owning land until Cambodia changes its laws and allows foreigners to buy land in the country, this is your best bet.

Interestingly the economy of many Asian countries has gotten better, and as projected, prices in Southeast Asia doubled. In the case of Cambodia, the prices have quadrupled. 

Cambodia is one of the few countries that have avoided global and regional recessions in the past few decades.

Cambodia may be an excellent country to invest in, but its CBI program has still got a long way to go to become desirable. Several other countries, especially in the Caribbean region, offer more attractive citizenship-by-investment programs with plenty of benefits.

At Nomad Capitalist, we have the world’s largest database of up-to-date information on tax, residence and citizenship, banking, and corporate structures in over 100 countries. Get in touch with us today to get citizenship in a country that treats you best.

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