Marriage thread. September 2021

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Freightdog
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Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by Freightdog »

Opening salvo- the following is a blatant quote of information provided courtesy of PSD-Kiwi.

Foreigner marrying a Khmer in Cambodia


MoFAIC
First of all, you will need to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation (MoFAIC) in Phnom Penh and obtain the application form and lists of required documents. This is all received at the counter labelled with the Khmer word for marriage (អាពាហ៍ពិពាហ៍), no money will be requested when receiving these documents.
You will need to present the following to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

1. "Application for foreigner to marry Khmer citizen" (provided by MoFAIC)
2. Certificate of non-impediment/ single status or divorce/ex-spouses death certificate from your country of citizenship.
3. Letter of permission to marry from your country’s embassy.
4. Criminal record check from your country of citizenship
5. Passport with valid E type (Ordinary MEEV) visa, minimum 6 months validity
6. Proof of salary of a minimum $2500USD p/m or waiver written and signed by both partners at the MoFAIC waiving the salary requirement by absolving the government of all responsibility for the marriage. Work permit/work book/business license if employed in Cambodia.
7. Pre-nuptial Medical certificate from Calmette Hospital (no older than 3 months)
8. 2x passport photos

Note: Any document above which is not an original document from your country of citizenship or embassy must be notarised/certified from your nearest Embassy (except 1,6, 7 and 8. According to the list of documents required for marriage, 2 and 4 are required from your country of citizenship. Numbers 2 and 3 will vary based on your country of citizenship – e.g. Australian Embassy insists that they do not do a letter of permission to marry.

The requirement for foreign males to be under 50 years old to legally marry a Cambodian citizen in Cambodia was dropped as of November 2018. Note that what the law says and what officials in the ministries do are entirely different matters and may be up to individual discretion.

The Cambodian partner will need to present;

1. "Certificate of celibacy, widowhood, divorce" (single status) from Sangkat
2. National ID card
3. Birth Certificate
4. Family Book and/or Carnet de Residence
5. Pre-nuptial Medical certificate from Calmette Hospital (no older than 3 months)
6. Letter of parental approval obtained from Sangkat (if available).
7. 2x passport photos

Note: The blood tests are for HIV, Hepatitis, and a few other diseases, chest x-ray is for TB. Cost from Calmette for the blood tests, x-ray and medical certificate is $136.13 per couple. You will need to take your passport/national ID card, as well as 2x passport photo per person. Go to the East Entrance along Preah Monivong Blvd and ask at the information desk. Keep in mind that tests must be conducted on business days and that processing can take 3 business days, not including weekends and holidays.


MoFAIC:
When you go to the MoFAIC, enter the compound via the side entrance on the left-hand side of the building. The guards will not allow you to enter through the front. There is a guard hut where you and your partner will have to show ID (passport and ID card), and they will give you a visitors pass. Follow the path towards the building and enter through the furthermost entrance.
There are several counters inside. The counter is the furthest to the right labelled with the Khmer word for marriage, អាពាហ៍ពិពាហ៍.

Remember that this is a Cambodian Ministry, and they keep strange working hours. They take lunch from as early as 11:00 - 14:00. As of 3rd November 2019, the phone number of the guy who deals with marriage applications at the MoFAIC is 061 214 415. There is an official fee for this step of the process of $125 USD.

Once the MoFAIC processes the documents which usually takes about 1-2 weeks, you will be issued a letter which you must submit with all of your documents to the Ministry of Interior.

Note from recent applicant: It has been possible in the past for the Cambodian partner to submit a waiver noting that the foreign partner does not earn $2500 a month. However, the guy at MoFAIC noted that he knew about the one done in 2017 and did not think that the MoI will accept this again. He told us to get my workplace to change the salary to $2500 a month. We were told they would ask, but no questions were asked about this at the MoI or asked to my workplace. Anyone who is able to successfully achieve this from now on should inform the group of any success.


MOI:
Do not go to the Main MoI compound. You need to go to an office called “National Committee to Lead the Suppression of Human Trafficking, Smuggling, Labour Exploitation and Sexual Exploitation in Woman and Children” (S.T.S.L.S), which is at the General Department of Identification building in Chbar Ampov at this location…
https://goo.gl/maps/T5pofTJSr9s

Take all of your completed documentation and letter from the MoFAIC with you and try to arrive early (by 0900hrs at the latest), as later in the day is much busier. As you walk in through the front door, the very first office on the left with the windows facing into the foyer is the first place where all of your documentation will be checked, and if anything is not in order they will inform you of what you need to fix.

Once everything is in order, you will pay the official $200 fee, which you will receive a receipt for, and then be interviewed by several people, mostly regarding things like how you met your partner, how long you’ve been together, have you travelled together on holiday, how long have you lived/been travelling to Cambodia, what is your job, family members names and contact details, what are your plans, do you plan to take her overseas and exploit her, etc. We had to fill out a parental information form for my family and my Khmer partner was asked questions – very little was asked of me during this time, and my Khmer partner was asked everything.

Once everything is in order, it can take anywhere between 2 to 4 months before you receive the letter of permission to marry from the MoI. The interviewers at the MoI expect a small "donation" each, about $5 each covers it. Be aware that they may ask you for more. This is entirely your choice whether you pay this, and may possibly affect the length of time for receiving back your documents.

When you go to pick up your documents with your receipt (only one of you needs to go), you will enter through the front entrance, past the elevators and through the courtyard (where the coffee shops and exercise area is) to the buildings straight ahead. Go to the right side of the building complex and take the stairs (you should be next to a carpark) up to the first floor. There are 3 rooms – first is an office, second a room which has a waiting area outside and the third room is the one you want. At the back righthand corner of the room is the desk to collect your marriage paperwork.


Sangkat

Once you have received the permission to marry letter from the MOI, you then take it to your partner's Sangkat in order to be issued your official marriage certificate. There is no requirement for a wedding ceremony in order to be issued a marriage certificate. This is expected to take 10 days, during which a notice of intent to marry will be posted in the Sangkat office and the Khmer partners parents house. You require 2 witnesses to sign the marriage book alongside you. The official fee is 20000KHR, but it is likely the Sangkat officials will request more.


Official Fees:

For foreigners marrying a Cambodian citizen, the only official fees payable are;
- $125 fee paid to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on receipt of the documents. An official receipt will be issued.
- $200 fee paid to the MoI. The fee covers admin, interviews and background check costs. An official receipt is issued.

- 20,000 Riel fee paid to the Sangkat which issues the official Marriage Certificate. An official receipt is issued.
Many people no doubt end up dealing with the wrong people and/or fixers and end up getting fleeced purely because the information on the whole process is not readily available and can be confusing.

Note From recent applicant:

Unofficial Service Fees
If you are not already using a fixer charging you an exorbitant amount, it is possible to pay at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to use their services. We were charged about $475 for the documents there, where they would fix any documents which were not correct, supply the documents we didn’t have (that are not major documents required from home countries or embassies – just medical certificates for us) and also includes the official fee. It it also means if something is not correct the ministry won’t send you away to fix it, which just delays the process further.
We were also offered services to assist with the MOI for a cost of $750, which includes the official fee, and presumably tea money for officials to ensure it would be done faster, which took us about 1 month in the ministry of interior. We were beginning to stress so close to the wedding, got into contact with our contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the next day the documents were done, about a month after being submitted.
It will save you a lot of money to do it yourself but paying for assistance saves you time if you are running short like we were. It appears to have turned out a lot cheaper for us than others who use fixers outside of the ministry, which can be exorbitant (one Khmer lady at the MoI told us a person helping with their documents is charging them $2500).


Documents can be found in the files section;
1. "Certificate of Celibacy, Widowhood or Divorce" Template
2. "Letter of Approval" from parents of Cambodian partner template
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by Freightdog »

I was sifting through using the search function, dragging bits and pieces together elicited from other tenuously related threads, and suspected there was a major gap in my knowledge, and chasm in the understanding of the folks at the sangkat where we had asked for guidance. At this point, a helper who works in some undisclosed official capacity offered to help us for the meagre tea fund of $4300 + the official fees of about $450. If it costs more than $100, I start to question anything.
So I figure accurate guidance and information may be of use to others looking into the same thing, too.
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by newkidontheblock »

The right fixer can often fix the unfixable.

For one, the obsession for original documents. In the US, the closest one gets is certified copy (with stamp and signature). Not good enough for Cambodia.

Another, a fixer ensures things happens on time.

The official process can take however long they want.
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by Kammekor »

IMHO the major horde in the process in Cambodia are the requirements from the government. They require a number of documents, all legalized by the foreign government. Some governments don't legalize all though, leaving people with a gap in documents. Of course then there's a way around it but you're looking a non official fees then which are crazy expensive.

Another issue is the timeline. The complete marriage process has to be completed within the term of validity of the legalized documents which is only three months from the date of legalization. With the official process in Cambodia taking at least six weeks (but eight weeks is not unusual) many soon face the deadline of documents expiring. Don't expect the government to accept just valid documents. If the procedure takes four weeks your valid documents need a validity of at least four weeks or you're looking at non official fees again.

There's a post 'why I think marriage in Cambodia is a scam' which describes all the pitfalls on the way.

general-chatter/why-think-the-official- ... 26467.html
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by PSD-Kiwi »

1. "Certificate of Celibacy, Widowhood or Divorce" Template
Image

2. "Letter of Approval" from parents of Cambodian partner template
Image
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by Doc67 »

Forgive my bluntness, but why bother?

It seems to me that the whole bureaucratic quagmire is well designed to achieve one thing: money, from start to finish. The more people keep paying it, the more such behaviour is encouraged.

Do you get a visa with a permanent leave to remain? A clear and simple route to citizenship after 5-10 years? Any special 3 year visa to respect the fact you are married? Is it true the Chinese/Asian nationals can get a 3 year visa just for being Asian?

As far as I know, you still have to renew your visa every year despite being officially married, even with kids. The whole visa issue, in the long term, is a huge risk. They can make life very hard (and expensive) for foreigners down the road, and if Thailand and Vietnam is anything to go by, the trend is going the wrong way.

We are westerners, and Asia is not in love with us as we seem to be in love with her. This is a concept well understood on a micro level, but it is also true on a macro one. For the time being they want our money and tolerate our presence in order to get it. That could change, significantly, in the next 10 years. The terms, 'multiculturalism', 'diversity,' equality' etc have no place here. The name of the ruling party is Cambodian Peoples Party. They are not joking.

What is wrong with buying her a ring, having a big party and referring to each other as husband or wife thereafter?
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by LionelBurns »

I think the whole process for foreigners marrying each other in Cambodia is a lot less complicated from what I've gleaned online but things do change. :?
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by clutchcargo »

Doc67 wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:47 am Forgive my bluntness, but why bother?

It seems to me that the whole bureaucratic quagmire is well designed to achieve one thing: money, from start to finish. The more people keep paying it, the more such behaviour is encouraged.

Do you get a visa with a permanent leave to remain? A clear and simple route to citizenship after 5-10 years? Any special 3 year visa to respect the fact you are married? Is it true the Chinese/Asian nationals can get a 3 year visa just for being Asian?

As far as I know, you still have to renew your visa every year despite being officially married, even with kids. The whole visa issue, in the long term, is a huge risk. They can make life very hard (and expensive) for foreigners down the road, and if Thailand and Vietnam is anything to go by, the trend is going the wrong way.

We are westerners, and Asia is not in love with us as we seem to be in love with her. This is a concept well understood on a micro level, but it is also true on a macro one. For the time being they want our money and tolerate our presence in order to get it. That could change, significantly, in the next 10 years. The terms, 'multiculturalism', 'diversity,' equality' etc have no place here. The name of the ruling party is Cambodian Peoples Party. They are not joking.

What is wrong with buying her a ring, having a big party and referring to each other as husband or wife thereafter?
Yeah, I wondered this too as to what is the point if it doesn't enable some sort of permanency in KOW.

Then again, do people do it to make it easier if they wish to repatriate back to their home country with their Mrs? Then again, AFAIK for Australia you don't even need to be married as they have some sort of defacto visa where she can eventually become a permanent resident in Aus.
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by Doc67 »

clutchcargo wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 12:24 pm
Doc67 wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 8:47 am Forgive my bluntness, but why bother?

It seems to me that the whole bureaucratic quagmire is well designed to achieve one thing: money, from start to finish. The more people keep paying it, the more such behaviour is encouraged.

Do you get a visa with a permanent leave to remain? A clear and simple route to citizenship after 5-10 years? Any special 3 year visa to respect the fact you are married? Is it true the Chinese/Asian nationals can get a 3 year visa just for being Asian?

As far as I know, you still have to renew your visa every year despite being officially married, even with kids. The whole visa issue, in the long term, is a huge risk. They can make life very hard (and expensive) for foreigners down the road, and if Thailand and Vietnam is anything to go by, the trend is going the wrong way.

We are westerners, and Asia is not in love with us as we seem to be in love with her. This is a concept well understood on a micro level, but it is also true on a macro one. For the time being they want our money and tolerate our presence in order to get it. That could change, significantly, in the next 10 years. The terms, 'multiculturalism', 'diversity,' equality' etc have no place here. The name of the ruling party is Cambodian Peoples Party. They are not joking.

What is wrong with buying her a ring, having a big party and referring to each other as husband or wife thereafter?
Yeah, I wondered this too as to what is the point if it doesn't enable some sort of permanency in KOW.

Then again, do people do it to make it easier if they wish to repatriate back to their home country with their Mrs? Then again, AFAIK for Australia you don't even need to be married as they have some sort of defacto visa where she can eventually become a permanent resident in Aus.
Yeah, permanent resident. No such thing here. Having said that, my country wouldn't give the average Cambodian even a visitor visa, let alone a work one.
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Re: Marriage thread. September 2021

Post by PSD-Kiwi »

Why bother?

If you're an old man/woman with no intention on having kids, purchasing property, living long-term then no need to bother...but, if young and/or if planning to reside here permanently/long-term, have kids, purchase property then there are benefits, here's a few just off the top of my head, sure there's more...

- Pathway to Citizenship: After 3 years legally married and living together, in Cambodia, to a Cambodian citizen foreigners are eligible to apply for Cambodian citizenship.

- Ease of obtaining Extension of Stay: For those who don't work/own a business in Cambodia, and are unable to/don't want to obtain an ER (Retirement) EOS, the DoI does issue EB (Business) EOS's to foreigners who are legally married in Cambodia to Cambodian Citizens. The DoI are also looking at introducing a marriage/family type Visa EOS category.

- Property Ownership: Any property purchased in Cambodia requires the purchasers to provide evidence of their marital status. Although the Cambodian Constitution forbids foreigners from owning property (with the exception of Strata Titled properties), if legally married in Cambodia, the Foreigners name is included on the property title and the property cannot be sold without the authorisation of both parties.

- Property Inheritance: In the event the Cambodian partner passes away, the foreigner inherits the property, BUT, if that property doesn’t have a strata title – or is not being held through a company with a Cambodian majority shareholder – he or she cannot assume ownership of the estate. In this situation, the law dictates that the estate becomes a legal entity, which the foreigner must sell (or transfer) within three months. The profits are then distributed among the heirs (including foreigners) and the entity is dissolved. If the estate cannot be sold within three months, it must be handed over to the next inheritor in line holding Cambodian citizenship...If not legally married, then the property is automatically handed over to the next inheritor in line holding Cambodian citizenship which could be a brother, sister, niece, etc. and the foreigner gets nothing.
(*NOTE: Property ownership is not permitted If under 18 years of age, so don't automatically assume your kids will inherit any property)

- Asset Inheritance: In the event the Cambodian partner passes away, the legal foreigner partner is eligible to inherit any other assets under the Cambodian partner's name ie. funds in bank accounts, vehicles, etc. If not married, then no entitlement unless there is a legal Will which specifies otherwise.

Disclaimer: None of the above should be considered legally binding advice :wink:
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