The Kingdom of Cambodia is situated in South-East Asia, where it borders Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Cambodia is a country with a rich heritage, having been home to some of the oldest empires in the eastern world, and having been further shaped by its French colonial past.
Cambodia’s population of approximately 15 million is governed by a constitutional monarch and a democratic parliament, that has however been largely dominated by the Cambodian People’s Party. The country’s official language is Khmer, although exposure to international trade has resulted in English becoming a familiar language to many
Phnoem Penh is the nation’s capital and the centrepiece of the country’s infrastructure, culture, and cuisine. Rural Cambodia is responsible for much of the country’s manufacturing and exports, with the Asian Development Bank noting that garment and footwear exports increased by 9.4 percent in the first six months of 2016.
Farming is still a learned trade, passed from generation to generation, which today contributes to around 30 percent of GDP. Typical harvested produce includes rice, maize and soya beans. Overall, Cambodia has been demonstrating momentous growth for over a decade, with the World Bank anticipating a 6.9 percent growth for 2016.
The poverty rate in Cambodia varies from urban centres to rural areas, and whilst wealth has increased in the past years, the United Nations Development Programme estimated that 13.5 percent of the country’s population lived in poverty in 2014. Deforestation is also a concern, with a 2015 Forest Trends report highlighting that 14 percent of Cambodia had been earmarked for land conversion.
As early as 1996, provisions were made in Cambodia’s Law on Nationality to allow foreigners to naturalise following an investment in the Kingdom. These were further outlined, in their most recent form, by Sub-decree 287 of 2013. As a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the only nation to offer a direct citizenship programme in Asia, Cambodia provides a gateway for investors looking to bring capital to the continent while also obtaining citizenship rights.
Cambodia currently affords citizenship to those who invest 1.25 billion Cambodian riels (around US$311,900) into the nation. The investment must be approved either by the Cambodian Development Council, or by the Royal Government. Citizenship is also available to those who donate 1 billion Cambodian riels (approximately US$249,500) for the restoration and rebuilding of Cambodia’s economy.
Knowledge of Khmer history and language is required, and applicants must travel to Cambodia to obtain good behaviour, police, and health certificates, as well as to sign the relevant citizenship oath. Applicants who choose the investment option must register a residence in Cambodia at the time of the application, although they need not live there. This requirement is waived for applicants who choose to donate.
Applications are reviewed by the Ministry of the Interior, although citizenship may only be granted by the King by Royal Decree. The entire process can take between three and six months to complete.
Citizenship of Cambodia brings visa-free travel rights to around 50 countries and territories, the majority of which are located in Southeast Asia. As a member of ASEAN, Cambodia also affords opportunities for facilitated trade and mobility among member states, including the right to work and live abroad for certain professionals. For those wishing to retain their citizenship of birth, Cambodia allows dual citizenship. Finally, as a citizen of Cambodia, the applicant may purchase real estate in the country – a privilege exclusive to Cambodians.