Setting up a company in Cambodia requires navigating business registration and licensing based on your activities. The process involves multiple government agencies. This step-by-step guide makes business registration in Cambodia straightforward for both locals and foreigners seeking to operate formally.
Choose a Business Structure
First, pick a structure for your Cambodian business – sole proprietorship, partnership, private limited company, or representative office. Each has different regulations, so consider tax and liability implications.
Many foreign investors opt for private limited companies—either 100% owned or joint ventures allowing 49% foreign shares. Talk to advisors about the best fit.
Check for Sector-Specific Licenses
Some industries need extra business licenses in Cambodia beyond registration. The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) oversees many, like:
- Tourism company license
- Commercial representative office permit
- Construction permit
- Transport operations certificate
Check if your activity requires additional clearances from MOC or agencies like the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Interior, or National Bank of Cambodia.
Select a Unique Name
Develop a business name reflecting activities in the Khmer language or available for translation. Check Cambodia’s Business Registration Depository to be sure the name doesn’t already exist.
Once registered, your company name will be protected from duplication across Cambodia.
Appoint a Company Representative
Next, select a company representative or “principal“ as the primary government liaison for foreigners registering a Cambodian company, either yourself or a local advocate.
Domestic company directors can be foreigners with valid long-term visas or work permits or Cambodian nationals. Requirements vary by business type.
Gather Documents for Business Registration in Cambodia
Compile all documents needed for your application:
- Business registration form
- Copy of principal’s passport
- Signed company statutes meeting Cambodian laws
- Office lease agreement
- Notice of company tax patent
Secure certified Khmer translations of all non-Khmer papers from government translators.
Submit Application for Business Registration
With your documents complete, your company representative can file them in person at the office for business registration in Cambodia under the Ministry of Commerce.
Pay required fees of around 4 million Riel (~$900-1000 USD) depending on company activities for government record-keeping, patents, publications, and more.
Once submitted, registration can take 10+ working days for review and approval. You’ll then receive official registration certification and be formally legal to operate.
Acquire Operational Licenses
After company registration, acquire applicable operational licenses—additional permission for activities like hiring staff, production, construction projects, and more, depending on your sector.
For example, manufacturers need Industrial Production Permits from the Ministry of Industry, while employers require Labor Books detailing each worker’s role, salary, and benefits from the Ministry of Labor.
Comply with any special requirements to lawfully launch operations. Renew all registrations and licenses annually.
Finish setting up full Cambodian compliance:
- Register for taxes at the General Department of Taxation.
- Open business bank accounts with registration papers.
- Post approved licenses publicly at all operating locations.
- Stay on top of regular reporting requirements.
With paperwork completed both initially and ongoing, your enterprise can thrive in Cambodia!
Final Thoughts on Business Registration in Cambodia
Streamlining business registration in Cambodia involves multiple agencies, so connect with advisors like KPMG Cambodia or Emerging Markets Consulting early when establishing companies as either domestic or foreign entities.
Ideally, engage representatives familiar with the process to efficiently coordinate required licenses, permits, translations, and government approvals on your behalf.
What types of businesses can foreigners register in Cambodia?
Foreigners can register representative offices of overseas parent companies, joint ventures allowing minority foreign ownership, and private limited liability companies across most sectors, besides restricted industries like domestic media.
What are the standard Cambodian business registration fees?
Business registration in Cambodia for a private limited company costs around 4 million Riel ($950-1000 USD), covering government administration, patents, registration in the national business directory, and local publication fees. Costs vary slightly for other entities.
How long does business registration approval take in Cambodia?
Standard registration through the Ministry of Commerce currently takes 10–15 working days from the complete submission of all required documents. Priority processing options are unavailable. Plan filing timelines accordingly when launching new Cambodian ventures.