So you’ve set up your company and you’re ready to go, right? WRONG!

If you set up a company in Cambodia, it is a legal requirement that your business is licensed with the relevant Ministries. Unfortunately, some licenses in Cambodia are expensive – but if you don’t get them, you could face a pretty hefty fine from the Ministry concerned – especially if you are a foreigner who is running the business.

Here is a brief look at what’s involved for licensing various businesses in Cambodia. It is important to note that these prices are just quotes from the Ministry that I have received and are used to give you a general idea of the costs involved. In Cambodia, prices can fluctuate and thus the price quoted to you may be somewhat different.

If you want to set up a restaurant in Cambodia you will need a variety of licenses from different government Ministries. Firstly, you need a license from the Ministry of Commerce – this is included when the company is set up (as an export / import license) so you do not need to worry about purchasing this additionally. Secondly, a license from the Ministry of Tourism is sometimes required. The fees for such a license can alter depending on the number of chairs you have in your restaurant. For example, if you have under 100, it will cost around $150. If you have over 300 chairs, it will cost over $300. You are then required to get letters issued from the Ministry of Health and the Fire Station. Application fees for these letters will set you back around $170 each. A location certificate is required too.

Agricultural Businesses also require licenses. The fee for this is around $4000. In order to set up the business you will need to supply a certificate of incorporation from the MOC, the Patent and VAT certificate, a lease certificate, a filled in application form and various other information. For your fee, you will receive a Business license that will set you up for running a variety of agricultural related businesses in Cambodia.

Import and Export businesses are easiest in relation to licenses as all companies incorporated through the MOC come with an inbuilt import / export license. However, some items that are imported or exported do require additional licenses such as medicines and other restricted goods. If you intend to import medicines into Cambodia, you will need to pay around $600 to the Ministry of Health for a license. The conditions for obtaining are license are difficult however – not only does the person obtaining the license need to have a pharmacy degree recognized by the Ministry of Health, they also must be a Cambodian national. Such licenses take about one month to obtain once all the correct documentation in provided.

Licenses are an inevitable cost of doing business – painful, but less painful than ignoring the law. See our publication on Establishing a Business for more info on licensing.