A Cambodia E-visa warning

Old Nov 10th, 2006, 08:27 PM
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A Cambodia E-visa warning

Buyers beware! I bought e-visas for my husband and I so we could be on our way out of the Siem Reap airport quickly and able to tour some temples before the lunch break. The e-visa process itself worked great and I had them emailed to me within an hour of applying for them. We took the 7:30 am Bangkok Airways flight from BKK and thought this would be a snap. Of course, our flight was delayed an hour so the 8am Bangkok Air flight took off first. But that is not the warning I want to send.
When we went through the e-visa line (which was short but moved slowly), the immigration officer was taking a very long time looking at his computer and at my husband's passport. It seems that the computer was telling him that my husband already entered the country on Nov 1st. He couldn't find any Cambodian stamps in his passport to confirm the earlier arrival. In fact, I had our boarding passes from Chicago that showed we flew from Chicago to Narita on Nov. 2nd (basically making it impossible to arrive in SR on Nov. 1st). Needless to say, every immigration officer in the airport huddled around the computer screen, reviewed Tom's passport and made numberous phone calls, all the while talking amongst themselves and gesturing.
I was quite concerned that they would not let him into the country. However, that didn't seem to be on their minds, they instead charged us another $20 (we paid $25 on-line), had Tom fill out another visa application, required another picture (fortunately, I was carrying several of them) and, in the end, he got the pretty cambodian visa in this passport. By now, we were the absolutely last people out of the airport--this whole process taking about an hour and a half. At least Tom was let in to Cambodia and I didn't have to make the decision whether to go on without him!!
P.S. The temples were wonderful and worth the wait!
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Old Nov 11th, 2006, 05:13 AM
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Are you thinking that perhaps someone was able to intercept your DH's visa email and use it? I'm trying to figure out how their records could be so wrong. And were you able to understand why they made you pay for another visa?

Must have been very stressful for you both!

Cyn
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 01:25 AM
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I was planning on obtaining E-visas for my Husband & myself for our upcoming visit . Anyone else out there had problems with what I thought was a very progressive way to get your visa ?
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 04:22 AM
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I thought about doing this too but I found out that you have to have access to a scanner to scan in your passport photo which I don't have. Oh well!
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 05:22 AM
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Am I correct that for a Cambodian visa you have to have 2 facing pages in your passport that are completely clean? Or, would the front and back of the same page do?
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 05:39 AM
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NO!!!! I had this problem at the SR airport. Finally after an hour of group consultation they agreed to use the last two pages marked "amendments". Big pain!!
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Julie and Elaine, could you explain to me what this is about? I planned to get my tourist visa at the SR airport and assumed that I would need some fresh passport photos, my passport itself, the visa form completed and some money- what is this facing pages thing about? I would love to not have any delays that AM when I arrive in SR. Thanks!
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 06:36 AM
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Just checked my old passport. I has been three years since I was in Cambodia. At that time, and maybe now, you needed two empty facing pages in passport. One for the paper visa and the other for the entry and exit stamps. They would not do this on pages that had other stamps or on pages that did not face each other. People have reported that they were not admitted unless their passport met these conditions. Checking the passport I see that other countries have done the same thing...Brazil, China both pasted visa on one page and stamped entry and exit on opposite page. It was just that my passport when I arrived in Cambodia had been very full. They did use pages 22 and 23 but after intense debate. It did not seem to be a matter of paying a bribe. There is a long table at the airport with a number (6/8) uniformed men and your passport gets passed down the line. Everybody else had no problem.
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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I think this depends entirely on who you get, although you definitely need one completely blank page for the visa. I just checked my passport, and in 2004 the entry/exit stamps for Cambodia shared a page with my Vietnamese entry/exit stamps, several pages away from the visa. And there was a blank page opposite the visa. (I flew into Phnom Penh from HCMC, and already had the visa when I arrived.) But in 2002, arriving by water from Vietnam, the stamps are on the facing page.
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for the explanation. Luckily my passport has recently been renewed so I don't have much on it yet but I'll be careful during a short trip in two weeks to keep two pages empty!
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Point of clarification: You don't need a scanner to scan your passport photo. You need a passport size photo in digital form. A picture from a digital camera works fine.
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Old Nov 15th, 2006, 09:08 PM
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Yes that is correct a jpeg photo is fine. Sounds like a very interesting process getting into Cambodia what ever you do.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 03:16 AM
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Since I started this post (and I have been busy travelling through Thailand ever since so this is my first time back on Fodors), I thought I should add an addendum to my experience. Approximately 3 days after we entered Cambodia and had this problem, I received an apology by email from the Cambodian e-visa department. They explained that by error a clerk in Phnom Phen entered my husband's e-visa number and so it looked as if he had already entered the country. The clerk was extremely apologetic and said that our e-visa charge of $25 would be refunded to our credit card. I must admit that I was amazed to get this email without any additional inquiry on my part (other than the long discussions at the airport upon our arrival). Not sure whether I would recommend e-visa or not but I wanted you all to know that my story had a somewhat happy ending. Can't get back the time spent in the airport but can get back the double charge and was pleased to have a government official from any government apologize!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 11:26 AM
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cadwex, it was great meeting you at the temples! Weren't they amazing? It is so hard to be back home again.
I had problems getting the picture onto the e-visa and finally gave up. When we were in Thailand we went to the Cambodian Embassy and applied, it was really easy and fast and we zipped through at the airport while others were running to apply for theirs.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 02:09 PM
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Wow!! A government apologizing!! And that country is considered "Third World".
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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Elainee--I know, I still can't believe it but I printed a copy of the email and will keep it always!
Mirasia--great to see you again (and meet your husband) at Banteay Srei (which was so spectacular) and I know what you mean about being home. We landed on Saturday afternoon and I am SOOO missing Thailand. I can't wait to start thinking and planning for the next trip!
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