Will American expats in Cambodia get a US stimulus payment?

May 21 update from the US Embassy: The Embassy recently received 187 U.S. Treasury checks (economic impact payments) for U.S. citizens and is in the process of notifying recipients in Cambodia of their arrival.  Recipients must be registered in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in order for us to have contact information and to make notifications when we receive such checks.

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Safety (CARES) Act, every American citizen who qualifies will be receiving a $1,200 payment from the US government. People started seeing deposits in their accounts a few weeks ago, but Americans abroad have wondered if they are eligible.

American flag in Cambodia

Since I don’t have a check yet to take a picture of, here’s a photo of an American flag on the Mekong in Phnom Penh.

Although the CARES Act seemed to include all American citizens, the IRS page initially said that “U.S. residents will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers…” suggesting that non-residents were not eligible.

However, over the weekend the IRS has posted clarification on their site that reads:

As a U.S. citizen living abroad, am I entitled to a Payment?

Yes, U.S. citizens living outside the country are eligible for the Payment. Anyone eligible to file Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR is an eligible person if they have a valid SSN and can’t be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer. Nonresident aliens who file or would file Form 1040-NR or Form 1040-NR-EZ are not eligible for the Payment.

You can read more about who qualifies, but most Americans who made less than $99,000 last year are eligible for the stimulus payment (although those making more than $75,000 will get less than the full amount), including retirees and those on SSI. The catch is that you need to have filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, which if you are earning overseas you are legally required to do each year.

So the next big question is: how will expats in Cambodia receive their payments?

For those who were owed a refund on their 2018 or 2019 taxes and entered direct deposit information on their return, they will receive their payment by direct deposit and it may have already arrived, as the first payments went out on April 15th.

If you were not required to file a tax return, the IRS will let you fill out a form for non-filers where you can enter in your direct deposit information.

Expats abroad who are self-employed or have needed to make payments on their taxes in 2018 and 2019 and therefore did not include direct deposit information on their taxes are currently in a sort of limbo. There is an online site where you can check the status of your payment and enter payment information, but most expats are finding that they either get a message that says “Payment status unavailable” or “The information you entered does not match our records.”

“Payment status unavailable” can mean many things, but many, including myself, have found that their status changed after a few days. I went from getting “Payment status unavailable” to “The information you entered does not match our records.” Unfortunately the IRS website appears to not be able to handle foreign addresses, and the issue seems to be postal codes — the site will not accept foreign postal codes, but using a US zip code or leaving it blank doesn’t work either. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way around it at this time.

However, getting one of these messages does not mean you won’t be getting your check! Qualifying expats will likely be getting paper checks mailed to the address used on their last tax return. If your address is in Cambodia, you may be waiting for a while, as mail services at a near standstill in the country. Your other option is to file your 2019 taxes as soon as possible and include direct deposit details, even if you are not due a tax return.

Another issue that may be affecting American expats in Cambodia is that if you file a joint return with your spouse or partner and that spouse or partner does not have an American social security number, you are not currently eligible for the stimulus payment. There is currently a lawsuit pending about this.

If you are a VA or SSI recipient and don’t file a tax return and have dependents (eligible children are granted a $500 payment), you need to add them using the Non-Filers tool by May 5th.

If you still have questions, check out the Democrats Abroad FAQs about the CARES stimulus payments for Americans overseas.

If you’re an American living in Cambodia and you’ve received your stimulus payment, please post a comment about how you received it, and if you had a foreign address on file with the IRS.

Update: On May 13th the “Check your payment” site started accepting foreign addresses and allowing expats who have a foreign address to check the status of their payment. Unfortunately, on the same day they stopped allowing people to enter in their bank details. What this means is that most expats abroad are being mailed checks.

51 Responses to Will American expats in Cambodia get a US stimulus payment?

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    Ken says:

    Just like to share my experience.

    I received $1200 check late in 2020, and $600 check on Feb 17,2021, both through US Embassy in Phnom Penh. Was expecting to receive another $1400 check maybe next month. But to my surprise I received $1400 direct deposit into my bank account in US on March 24.

    In my past tax return, I did claim refund with my US bank account information before, but it was long time ago, maybe 10-15 years ago. It is surprising that IRS still keeps my US bank account information and somehow made direct deposit only the third payment this time. I couldn’t believe this, and checked by (Check the status of your payment) in IRS web site, and confirmed that they really made direct deposit to my bank account in US.

    Max McPickle says:

    Can anyone whose 2nd Stimulus check that was mailed out in the first “batch” (January 6th), drop a post here if their check has arrived at the US Embassy? I read on a reddit expat group that they haven’t even mailed physical checks out yet, and only sent Direct Deposits. I emailed the Embassy last week, and they said it hasn’t arrived, and gave no additional info. I’d hate to keep emailing them weekly. I thought I’d read somewhere that we would get an email from STEP regarding this, but I probably misremembered. It would be cool if the Embassy emailed us when the checks arrive. Thanks!

      Burnard Parker says:

      I am in the the same boat. My check was sent Jan 3rd but the U.S. Embassy has not received it as of Jan 25. I am enrolled in STEP but also have not received an email.

      Your Cambodia Address is actually on the envelope so my fear is that the new administration will try to send it to my Cambodia residence.

      As 90% of letter mail does not arrive, that is not good.

      Burnard S Parker says:

      Just got a call that they have mine.

      Mailed Jan. 6

    Derrick C Clark says:

    Bangkok Bank on Mao tse Tung blvd says they can cash the USA treasury check call them at 095 222 402

    Curt Lindsey says:

    Hello all, has anyone found a way to cash the EIP check in Cambodia yet?

      Derrick C Clark says:

      Dear valued customer,

      Thank you for your email.

      Regarding you inquiry about USA treasury checks for US citizens in Phnom Penh.

      Please be advised that directly contact branch in Phnom Penh.

      344 (1st & 2nd), Mao Tse Toung Boulevard,

      Sangkat Toul Svay Prey I,

      Khan Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh,

      Kingdom of Cambodia

      Mon-Fri 8.30-15.30 น.

      call 523 224 404-9

    Rammer says:

    What about Americans in Philippines?

      Derrick C Clark says:

      With the IRS’ Get My Payment tracking app, you can find the status of your stimulus check.

    Derrick C Clark says:

    U.S. Treasury Checks

    The Embassy recently received an additional quantity of 46 U.S. treasury checks and we are in the process of notifying recipients of their arrival. If you are not registered in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), then we do not have your contact information and cannot notify you. When we receive more checks, we will notify those recipients as well. If you have a question about your economic impact payment, please

      Connor says:

      Have any Americans living in Cambodia picked up their 3rd stimulus check from the embassy yet? The IRS is showing that my check was mailed on May 07, meaning that it was supposedly mailed over two months ago. Is anyone else waiting for their 3rd round stimulus check??


    Derrick Clark says:

    U.S. Treasury Checks

    The Embassy recently received an additional quantity of 46 U.S. treasury checks and we are in the process of notifying recipients of their arrival. If you are not registered in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), then we do not have your contact information and cannot notify you. When we receive more checks, we will notify those recipients as well. If you have a question about your economic impact payment, please

    Mike Adams says:

    Today I picked up my check at the US Embassy. It was SO EASY!

    1. I called the embassy phone number and #0 for the operator (don’t waste time with all the voice mail options). I said I wanted to pick up my “Stimulus Check”.
    2. I was put thru to the person handling that, right away she confirmed my check was there and had come in the 3rd batch which arrived yesterday.
    3. You don’t need an appointment to get it, just say “Picking up a Stimulus Check” which seems to be the key phrase. They told me to pick it up from 1 – 3PM.
    4. There were NO LINES! I really just walked in, got a number (I was next in line) and then signed for my check. Out in 5 mins. Amazing.

    Just a few General NOTES:
    – IRS page said my check was SENT on 15 May and that is the date on the check.
    – The check arrived at the embassy on 2 June (about 2 weeks later)
    – they said they have received 3 batches of checks, the first batch was the biggest and w more since 21 May.
    – It is SO quiet at the embassy, its like this is nearly the only thing they are doing right now.

    I hope you find this helpful.

    Derrick C Clark says:

    Please tell me you have done this recently. I have tried 16 banks andinstitutions with no luck. Are you certain Bangkok bank will do it?

    Nick says:

    Just so everyone knows, if you filled out your correct international address on the NON FILERS Form via online , you will receive a check anywhere in the world , that said if the post office in your country actually will get the check to you without messing up. I live in Easter Europe and my check was sent to my address that i provided to the IRS via online . ON get my payment page my check was mailed on May 1st and arrived on May 19th. Then i went to a local bank and provided them the check and it usually takes 30 days for them to cash it for you since they have to send it back to the UNITED STATES for the US treasury to pay the local bank . If you follow all the correct steps on the IRS site you will get a check no matter where you live as long as you are a US citizen and if your local post office does not screw anything up . Even if the post office messes up the IRS will see that the check was not cashed and you can contact them as they will be sending a follow up letter to all US CITIZENS after a check is mailed. The only problem might be that some countries as you mentioned will not cash US checks and then you are in a bit of a problem. Then you would have to go to another country or sign the check over to someone living in the US to get you the money

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