Required filming permits to shoot in Cambodia


When planning a television, cinema, web or photo production in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is definitely a stop you shouldn’t miss.

Here you will find beautiful tropical landscapes (from warm white-sand beaches to cool misty mountains), spectacular ancient temples and buddhist monuments, heavenly exotic flora, hypnotizing wild fauna, succulent healthy dishes and uncomparable local friendliness.

Incentives for foreign productions

In addition to such treasures that will surely add a lot of value to your project, Cambodia also embraces foreign productions coming to the country with the following incentives:

  • Low costs*
    • Breakfast “rice with pork” + one drink = $2/person
    • Water bottle (18 L / 4 gal) = $1.5
    • Beer Can = $0.50
    • Transportation (Tuk Tuk) = $0.75
    • Movie ticket = $3
    • Studio apartment rental = $150/month
    • Mobile phone plan (6GB of data + unlimited** calls & SMS) = $6/month
  • 0% tax on import/export of shooting related equipment, gear and props
  • Quick permit issuance for starting your shoot as soon as possible
  • Cheaper rates for cast, crew, rentals and services than other countries
  • Hassle-free hiring requirements (It’s very easy to employ local crews and talent)
  • Locations that can double for anywhere in South-East Asia
  • Foreign production-experienced film professionals
  • Skilled construction crews to build your sets
  • State-of-the-art video, audio and lighting/grip equipment as well as facilities
  • A solid tourist infrastructure (over 5 million tourists visited Cambodia in 2016)

Shooting Permits

Unlike videos or photos taken on your trip to Cambodia for personal non-commercial use, professional projects must request filming permits before starting to shoot.

Due to the time it takes to obtain such documents, it is strongly recommended to initiate applications before you leave your country in order to save precious time and be able to shoot as soon as you set foot in Cambodia.

The permission process, in general, can take one or several levels, each one at a different institution and with its own associated fees and wait times, depending on the chosen locations, type of project and its scale:

  1. General Film Permit
  2. Ministry Authorization (for special public buildings and sites: museums, etc.)
  3. Local Authority Permit (Province’s Governor or Municipality)
  4. Community Chief Permission
  5. Location Permission

Permit Requirement Examples:

Royal Palace

  • Permit from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts
  • Permit from the municipality of Phnom Penh (for fiction only)
  • Permit from the Ministry of the Royal Palace (submit planned date -and time, if possible of shooting)

National Museum

  • Permit from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts
  • Permit from the municipality of Phnom Penh (submit the shooting schedule)

Wat Phnom

  • Permit from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts
  • Permit from the municipality of Phnom Penh (submit shooting schedule)

Toul Sleng, Genocide Museum

  • Permit from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts
  • Permit from the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum (submit shooting schedule)

Ministry of Post and Telecommunications

  • Permit from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts
  • Permit from the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (submit the shooting schedule)

How can I apply for permits?

You may request permits directly yourself by contacting the respective institutions. However, for an easier and faster experience, it is better to hire a local fixer (or production coordinator) to do it on your behalf.

S/he will guide you through the process, help you collect and prepare the required documents (including a Khmer translation of your documents which helps speed things up), submit your applications and make the appropriate phone calls and/or visits to follow up your case until permission is finally granted.

Even though you can apply for permits while in Cambodia, like we said before, it is highly recommended to start the process prior to your departure.

General Film Permit

This is the first mandatory permit you need to shoot in Cambodia. It is issued by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts’ Department of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion. This document will help you process following permits from additional institutions.

Additionally, should you need to import/export a large quantity of equipment for your project, the General Film Permit will allow you to process a tax-free request from the customs.

Where to get the application form

Should you choose to start this process yourself instead of hiring a local fixer or production coordinator, you must send a request by email or fax to one of the following places:

  • At a Cambodian government office in your home country (e.g. embassy or consulate)
  • At the Cinema Department (better option than the first one)

Keep in mind that original copies of the required documents must be submitted immediately afterwards.

Processing Times (in working days)

Given that you provided all the required documents correctly and your content isn’t sensitive and subject to revisions, please expect the following processing times:

– Permit for Feature film (10 days)
– Permit for Documentary / Commercial / Short / TV show / Clip / Photoshoot (5 days)

Required Documents

The production must submit four (4) sets of the following documents:

  • Official shooting permit request from the foreign production team
  • Cinema Department’s application form (correctly filled out)
  • Passport copies of each foreign production team member coming to Cambodia
  • Crew/Talent list (including first and last names, positions, gender, passport numbers, etc.)
  • List of equipment to be imported to Cambodia
  • Supporting documents (depend on the project type)
    • Commercials / TVCs
      • Script (in English or French with preferably a Khmer translation)
      • Schedule and Shooting Locations List
      • Any additional information, if necessary, that could help better understand the project
    • Music Videos
      • Name and lyrics
      • Synopsis of the content to be shot
      • Schedule and Shooting Locations List
      • Detailed information about the shooting
    • Documentary (without sensitive content)
      • Synopsis of the film (in English or French with preferably a Khmer translation)
      • Schedule and Shooting Locations List
      • Detailed information about the shooting
    • Documentary (with sensitive content)
      • Concept or note of intention
      • Schedule and Shooting Locations List
      • Detailed information about the shooting
    • Narrative (fictionalized) / Docudrama
      • Synopsis (in French or English with preferably a Khmer translation)
      • Final Script (in English or French)
      • Shooting Itinerary: dates, locations, crew list including names, position and passport number
      • Additional details that help better understand the project:
        • What needs to be changed or built for the shooting
        • Provocative content
        • Special requirements: e.g. importing special equipment or needs of using military weapons or vehicles.

WARNING – Content-sensitive and large-scale movies:

  • In most cases, films with political or pornographic content are censured.
    The Department often asks for a rewriting of the script.
  • For large-scale or content-sensitive projects the file must be sent to the Ministry of Culture.
  • Shooting Permit processing might take around one (1) month from the reception date of the complete documentation.

Positive Results

If permission is granted, the Ministry’s Department of Cinema will issue a letter that will allow you request/process further permits from other institutions or authorities, including those who manage the plots of land or buildings where you want to shoot.

Keep several copies of all letters and permissions with you at all times during your shoot, because they might be requested on various occasions.

Should you plan to show your movie in Cambodia later on, then you must preciously save all permits, as the Department of Cinema will ask for them in order to authorize the movie release.

Negative Results

In case of permission denial, you may still request a reconsideration, following these steps:

  • Submit additional information to the Department of Cinema that you believe could help clarify your case and clear it.
  • Correct the script, as suggested by the committee, and in collaboration with the production team.

At this point, you can expect either a second advice or a green light.

Should the project be rejected, then a notice by the Ministry will be issued to the production team to inform them about the refusal.

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  • This article was written for educational purposes using information by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia and the Cambodia Film Commission. We thank contributors for letting us use their data.


  • *Prices listed above are lowest prices. May vary depending on area and specifications. United States Dollar used as reference.
  • **On-net only.
  • This article is work-in-progress (WIP). Further information will be added very soon.
  • The information is accurate to the date of first publishing.
  • If you find any mistake or inaccurate information, please let us know. We would greatly appreciate your help and be very happy to fix the post.


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