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Embassies abroad get reminder about graft

Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on all embassies and consulates to accelerate visa application procedures and cease charging “unofficial” fees, in an apparent bid to stamp out corruption abroad.

Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong issued the directive last week.

The standard, 30-day single-entry visa to Cambodia should cost $20, which includes a $5 processing charge if completed online before arrival, according to the ministry’s website.

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the ministry, said the directive was intended to allow speedier entry for tourists and potential investors, who can also spend $25 to apply for a one-month, extendable business visa either from abroad or on arrival.

He did not say how endemic the illegal practice of charging extra is, or offer details about the sums being levied on visa applicants. Allegations of travel-related graft typically stem from border crossings, not from embassies abroad.

“It was issued to remind embassies to process visas as quickly as possible and not to charge fees for ‘faster processing’ of visas,” he said, stressing that “there is no official fee for speeding up your visa processing.”

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