News report | | 30/04/2024 | ±3 minutes reading time

The countries of the Southeast Asian cooperation bloc ASEAN have been planning the introduction of a joint ASEAN visa for a long time. It is often compared to the Schengen visa, which grants foreign travellers access to all countries in the Schengen Area. Thailand has recently revived the plans regarding the ASEAN visa.

Different visa policies in Southeast Asia

The countries of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, each have their independent visa policies. This means that visitors to the region encounter a lot of bureaucracy if they want to visit multiple countries. Additionally, visa policies depend on the traveller's country of origin. This means that travellers must check the visa requirements for each country. Whenever a visa is required, travellers must fill out a separate form and go through the application process for each country, which can be a time-consuming process.

For example, British and Irish travellers always need a visa for Cambodia. The Cambodia visa can be applied for online before departure. This differs from the situation in Thailand, where visas are often not required in numerous instances. The differences in visa policies among countries in the region make it less attractive for travellers to visit multiple countries during a trip to Southeast Asia.

The Idea of a joint ASEAN Visa

To promote tourism in the region, the idea of a joint visa has emerged over the years within the ASEAN countries. This is partly due to the increasingly close cooperation within ASEAN. The association views Europe as a successful example of a region which introduced a joint visa. In fact, with the European Schengen visa, foreign travellers can visit all countries in the Schengen Area. In this case, tourists can visit popular cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome while holding just one visa. The idea of the ASEAN visa is that travellers will soon be able to make longer journeys with one single visa, for example, from Bangkok in Thailand to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and further to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. This would offer many possibilities for extensive tours through Southeast Asia.

Thailand Fuels Plans for the ASEAN Visa

In April 2024, it was revealed that six countries within the ASEAN had jointly discussed a proposal for a shared visa. The Thai Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, was reported to have initiated the proposal, and the other participating countries were Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Reportedly, the discussions were constructive, and all participants were positive about the idea of a joint ASEAN visa. The countries aim to attract more tourists who wish to stay longer in the region through this initiative.

Obstacles on the Path to an ASEAN Visa

Despite the positive reactions to the idea of a joint ASEAN visa, its introduction seems to be a long way off for now. This is mainly since the countries differ greatly from each other, both culturally and politically. Moreover, the six countries have a total population of over 280 million, making it difficult to make joint decisions. There are also uncertainties regarding potential security risks that a joint visa could bring about. Malaysia recently stated that it needs to further investigate the possibility of a joint ASEAN visa before it can agree to the plans.

Applying for a Cambodian visa online

The introduction of the ASEAN visa is likely to take a few more years. Therefore, travellers to Southeast Asia must currently apply for a visa for each country. The visa for Cambodia can be easily applied for online.

Apply for the Cambodia visa online

e-Visa.co.uk is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the Cambodia visa. e-Visa.co.uk acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for a visa directly with the immigration service (36 USD per visa, via www.evisa.gov.kh). However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via e-Visa.co.uk, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 36 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £36.61 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous Cambodia visa was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.