Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Getting a visa doesn't have to be a gigantic ordeal

Getting a visa doesn't have to be a gigantic ordeal

Getting a visa doesn't have to be a gigantic ordeal

Agents say acceptance is all about presentation – and they’re here to aid in that particular chore

“Anyone can get a visa to come to Cambodia, but just try getting out!” says Rasmey Sokmongkol.

He makes it his business to understand Cambodians’ struggles to complete applications for Western visas. His company, East West Visa Services, eases the confusion of this process. It shows clients that often the barrier to a foreign visa lies not in a personal situation, but in its presentation.

Part detective, part storyteller and part guidance counselor, Rasmey Sokmongkol sifts through clients’ lives to find proof of visa suitability. Alongside his co-workers, he locates evidence, organises facts into compelling narratives and drills his clients by preparing them for embassy interviews.

Rasmey Sokmongkol considers foreign visas crucial for the overflowing Cambodian workforce.

“In Cambodia you’ve got 10,000 jobs for 50,000 job-seekers,” he says. In addition to temporary visas, EWVS works to place skilled Cambodian workers in long-term foreign jobs.

“We try to connect them with leading employers,” Rasmey Sokmongkol says. “Guarantees are unethical, but we are working hard toward job placements for high-end university graduates.”

For some Cambodians, EWVS provides help in situations that seem impossible.
Sokna Rankry sought an Australian visa to live with her new husband.

“I love my husband, I want to be with him.... So many things to think about, and so many things can go wrong,” she says.

All Cambodian travellers are categorised as high flight risks when travelling to Western nations. Laws assume that Cambodian citizens automatically improve their quality of life by moving to a Western nation. Wealthy countries, therefore, consider all Cambodian visa applicants to be potential flight risks and future illegal immigrants, until proved otherwise. This is where EWVS comes in to fill the gaps between immigration authorities and those planning on migration for employment. Case specialists assemble tangible evidence for the existence of a client’s job, family and active bank account – ties strong enough to assure that visas will not be abused.

Even romantic relationships and marriages must be proved genuine and ongoing.

By assembling phone records, emails, past visit visas and statements from old friends, EWVS can even validate love.

According to EWVS United States specialist Damon Kennedy, the single most common cause for visa rejection is a lack of guidance, or harmful guidance. Some rogue visa agents cheat clients and weigh them down with false evidence – but even these obstacles can be overcome by telling the truth, he said.

Rasmey Sokmongkol has operated in Cambodia for eight years and won respect in a business sector populated by dishonest agents. EWVS relies on carefully written contracts.

It only accepts client money if a case pre-qualifies as likely to succeed, and it offers a full refund if an embassy indicates EWVS services as a cause for rejection. Case fees range from $500 to $1,000 for first-time applicants.

“People denied think they’ll never get a visa,” says Kennedy. “They go back to their home, and never get to travel.” Standard reorganisation of a case, he emphasises, makes all the difference for foreign employment, education, or simple tourism.


  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The

  • Vietnamese workers in Koh Kong questioned

    The General Department of Immigration (GDI) is questioning 49 Vietnamese nationals who were working illegally in Koh Kong province to build a case and send them back to Vietnam, its Department of Investigation and Procedure director Kem Sarin said on Thursday. GDI forces and provincial authorities

  • Preah Vihear court drops charges against villagers

    The Preah Vihear Provincial Court has dropped all charges against eight ethnic Kuoy villagers who were in a land dispute with the Hengfu Group Sugar Industry Co Ltd since 2014. Wednesday’s decision was made by the judge who tried the case on June 10. The eight

  • Gov’t to boost Siem Reap tourism

    The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there. The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism

  • Residents ordered to remove structures on Phnom Penh’s canal

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has ordered authorities to act against the perpetrators who built houses along the Luo 5 canal in Meanchey district. The municipal administration plans to create a committee to solve the matter. The order was given on Wednesday while Sreng led

  • ‘On the offensive’: Cambodia to load up on loans to stimulate economy

    As the dust settles on the economy, Cambodia comes to grips with what needs to be done to turn the economy around, starting with a big shopping list for credit ‘We are going on the offensive,” Vongsey Vissoth, Ministry of Economy and Finance permanent secretary

  • Eighty replacement peacekeepers set for Mali mission despite Covid

    Eighty Cambodian blue helmet soldiers who completed the peacekeeping mission under the UN umbrella in Mali will return to Cambodia on Friday, said the Centre for Peacekeeping Forces spokeswoman Kosal Malida. “To protect their families and communities from the Covid-19 pandemic, the 80 are required to