For foreigners, the most cited reasons are the ability to acquire land and other property in their own name and the ability to travel to other Asean countries visa-free. Cambodian citizenship has also been bestowed on foreigners with exemplary contributions to the kingdom.
Here are the five proven ways for a foreigner to obtain Cambodian citizenship.
1. Citizenship by Naturalisation
Seven-year residency, fluency in the Khmer language (speaking and writing) and a clean criminal record are the requirements for obtaining Cambodian citizenship by way of naturalisation. Yet, this is the most common way and takes the longest time to complete.
2. Citizenship by marriage
A foreign man or woman married to a Cambodian national can obtain Cambodian citizenship after living together for at least three years after their marriage was registered with the proper authorities.
3. Citizenship by investment
This cash-for-passport programme bestows Cambodian citizenship on a foreigner who invests about 312,500 dollars in Cambodia. In this case, the seven-year residency is waived. However, other requirements for naturalisation like language fluency still apply. The cost of obtaining citizenship by investment is said to be in the region of 75,000 dollars. A local agent revealed that many Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Australian and Vietnamese business people obtained Cambodian citizenship by way of investments. Eventhough, according to Article 10: For any foreigner who had received a letter of authorization for investment from the Cambodian Development Council (CDC) and who had implemented concretely actual project costing an initial capital of from 312,500 dollars and up, the period of residence as stated in the sub-para 3 of article 8 of this law shall be exempted.
And Article 11: For any foreigner who has no letter of authorization for investment from the Cambodian Development Council (CDC), but who had received authorization for investment legally from the Royal Government and who had spent initial capital of from 312,500 dollars and up, the period of residence as stated in the sub-para 3 of article 8 of this law shall be exempted.
4. Citizenship by donation
A foreigner could also be accorded Cambodian citizenship if he donates about 250,000 dollars or more to the national budget. Article 12: Any foreigner who has made a donation in cash, to the national budget of from 250,000 dollars or more, for the interest of restoration and building of economy of the Kingdom of Cambodia, such foreigner may file an application for Khmer nationality, in the event he/she has fulfilled the conditions as stated in the sub-paragraphs 1, 2, 5 and 6 of article 8 of this law.
5. Citizenship by birth and descent
Those born to at least one Cambodian parent anywhere in the world are legally entitled to Cambodian citizenship. The same applies to children born in Cambodia to foreign parents who were born and legally living in the kingdom.
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