An E-Visa Complain

At the edge of the Tourist High Season, we start with the E-Visa and the need to be more effective. In general, the Cambodian E-Visa is the best of the South East Asia and it is really an example. Just don’t use intermediate agencies that would overcharge you. Please use exclusively the Government website: https://www.evisa.gov.kh/

As in any system, there will be always mistakes, system failures and misunderstanding. But it is important to work all the time to avoid it. A perfect complement could be the skill training of officers dealing with international visitors in airports, sea ports and land gates. They must speak at least a good level of English, while having experience in dealing with foreigners, using the electronic technologies and being kind. It will give a good image to Cambodia.

I got the following complain from a couple with a not good experience in their E-Visa experience. By sure, most people are happy with the service, but it is important to heard also those who are not happy in order to improve it:

E-Visa Office
Legal and Consular Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

I would like to give you my feedback because I can´t let it pass. My husband and I applied for the e-visa because we wanted to make all the “document process” in Cambodia more efficient since we were going to be traveling in Asia for almost a month for our honey moon.
We applied for the e-visa through the Iphone application “Cambodia e-Visa” (me) and through the web page (my husband) with the following details:

Transaction Details (mine)
Invoice Number: 115082700089-zYIq0E
Transaction Reference: 0827110000504
Transaction Date/Time : 8/27/2015 4:31:46 AM
Credit Card Number: 544548XXXXXX0394
Transaction Details (my husband´s)
Invoice Number: 115082700080-Yr98M
Transaction Reference: 0827110000493
Transaction Date/Time : 8/27/2015 4:19:42 AM
Credit Card Number: 528851XXXXXX869

We received an e-mail that said that we were going to receive another e-mail with the visa. We never got such e-mail (Is your web page and application working well?), but the Cambodia e-visa application said they were aproved. Therefore we supposed that we would have no problem at all as soon as we got to Cambodia.

When we arrived to the airport, we went straight to the immigration counter because we had already paid and applied for the e-visa. The officer wanted the printed e-visa (which we never rececived). We tried to explain that we never got it but that it was paid, we showed him the transaction details, the e-mail and evidence… but with such a limited English, he said he couldn´t do anything for us.

We thought it was going to be very fast an efficient but ended up being the opposite way! The rest of the people in the airplane tramited the visa there at the airport, had no problem at all and left the airport quite fast. My husband and I were treated very unwelcoming and disrespectful. Here I see some problems:

1. The Cambodia e-visa application does not work.
2. The limited English that the officer knew
3. The officer in the counter not wanting to cooperate and do his work well. Isn´t he supposed to help us and find out what happened? We had all the evidence! At least we deserved a polite apologize for the inefficient e-visa and respectful treatment while they solved the problem out.

After a long wait, another officer comes. His identification number is: 012216
He tried to say something but we did not understand. With signs, he showed us his cell phone and we imagined he was going to find out what was wrong. We waited while he made a phone call no longer than 8 minutes. In the meantime, the other officer crossed his arms, and took a nap in front of us. Really? I do not have his identification number but you can check it out in your cameras.

As soon as he hung up, he shows us his hand and ASKS FOR MONEY! What? Really? We had already paid for our visa, why pay him for something that was not our problem? Isn´t that part of his job? We had to pay him hiding the money because we had a camera on top (you can check the evidence and see how he asked us for money and how we had no choice than to pay him because all we wanted was to come in and continue our pleasant honey moon). I don’t think it is the correct way to welcome tourists to a country.
He ended up writing something in our passport, and as soon as we got away, we received our confirmation e-visa. Once we entered the country? With all the respect for your country and because we really fell in love with Siem Reap, I suggest you take into consideration what happened to my husband and me.

1. If you will offer an e-visa, make sure it really works! What we thought that was going to be fast an efficient, ended up being an unpleasing experience.
2. Officers in the counters did not speak English and showed no interest in solving the problem.
3. I believe that the officer that asked us for money should be sanctioned. They represent your country!

I felt responsible to let you know what happened and hope it is useful for you,

If you need more information, feel free to write back,

Best regards,

Ursula Ortuno

Definitively, there is a great confusion in this complaint. But it is not good that the officers at the airport or in any international gate, are not ready to handle this kind of situations in a professional way. Just the English skill should be a duty for any officer at the international Cambodian borders.

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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