Following complaints from some members of the public, the government will consider reducing the costs of issuing passports, said Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.

“Some people have claimed that Cambodian passports are too expensive. The government will consider making them more affordable because we were elected to serve the people,” Sar Kheng made his remarks at a March 1 graduation ceremony at the Cambodian University of Specialties.

He said the government had once charged a tax to issue Cambodian ID cards, but had ceased the practice.

“In addition, the government has not taxed farming land since 1979. Despite calls from some members of the international community to do so, we have refused,” he added.

Interior ministry General Department of Identification spokesman Say Meng Chheang said most passports are valid for 10 years.

“Currently, it costs $100 to prepare a passport in 15 working days. It is $150 to prepare in seven working days, and $200 for next day service. A passport for a child under six years of age is valid for five years, and are priced at $80, $120, and $160, for the same processing time as the 10 year version,” he added.

“This service is available at the passport department in Niroth commune’s Ta Ngov village of Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district. There are also branches at AEON MALL Sen Sok City (AEON2) and in Battambang and Koh Kong towns, along with Poipet town in Banteay Meanchey province,” he continued.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun said that the cost of having a passport issued in Cambodia was higher than many other countries in the region, especially when GDP per capita was factored in.

“The expense of our passports is an obstacle to some of the Kingdom’s poorer citizens. This may be why so many people choose to work illegally in places like Thailand,” he added.

He suggested that reducing the price of passports to around the same cost as those of Thailand and Vietnam would significantly reduce the number of illegal migrant workers.

“It would be excellent if the government adjusted prices so they are closer to our neighbours. In Thailand, a passport costs $30, in Vietnam they are just $12, while in Laos they are $35. They should also put an end to irregularities such as charging a fee to fill out the forms in ink,” he opined.