Cambodian citizenship is attainable through either marriage to a Cambodian citizen or through the naturalization process, which involves meeting specific requirements laid out in the Nationality Law. In addition, sub-decrees detailing the procedures for naturalization were issued in 2018.
Cambodian law recognizes dual citizenship, which means that a person may hold citizenship in more than one country without surrendering their Cambodian citizenship. However, voluntary surrender of Cambodian citizenship is possible.
To become a Cambodian citizen, certain criteria must be met, which may or may not be waived depending on the circumstance.
The first requirement is having a good attitude and ethics, as certified by the municipal office where the applicant resides. This requirement cannot be waived.
The second requirement is having no criminal record, which may be waived depending on the situation.
The third requirement is having a certificate of permanent residence for seven years, or three years if the applicant was born in Cambodia. However, certain investors and donors may have this requirement waived.
The fourth requirement is being a resident in Cambodia while applying for naturalization. This requirement may also be waived for certain donors.
The fifth requirement is being able to speak and write Khmer, knowing Cambodian history, being able to “live peacefully” with Khmers, and respecting Cambodian traditions. This requirement cannot be waived.
The sixth requirement is that the physical and mental abilities of the applicant do not cause danger or encumbrance to the nation. This requirement may be waived in certain cases.
In addition to these standard requirements, there are special circumstances in which certain requirements may be waived. For example, a foreigner investing from KHR 4 billion (about USD 1 million) or more can become a Cambodian citizen without satisfying the seven-year residency requirement, but must still satisfy all other requirements and must have stayed in Cambodia for at least 12 months.
A foreigner who donates from KHR 12 billion (about USD 3 million) or more to the state budget can obtain Cambodian citizenship without satisfying either the seven-year residency requirement or the requirement that the applicant be resident at the time of applying for citizenship. However, the applicant must still satisfy all other requirements.
It is important to note that obtaining Cambodian citizenship is a lengthy process that requires a significant amount of time and effort. However, the benefits of Cambodian citizenship may be worth it, as it allows individuals to fully participate in Cambodian society and enjoy the rights and privileges afforded to Cambodian citizens.
Cambodian citizenship also offers the possibility of dual citizenship, which may be beneficial for those who frequently travel or have business interests in multiple countries.
Obtaining Cambodian citizenship is possible through either marriage or naturalization. However, there are specific requirements that must be met, and some of these requirements may be waived in certain circumstances. As with any legal process, it is important to consult with a qualified legal professional to fully understand the requirements and possibilities of obtaining Cambodian citizenship.