MongoliaOfficial Name: Mongolia
Valid for six months beyond date of arrival
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays under 90 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Denver Street #3
Telephone: +(976) 7007-6001
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(976) 9911-4168
Fax: +(976) 7007-6014
Since 1990, Mongolia has been successfully transitioning into a parliamentary democracy. Economic reforms continue, although the country’s development will depend on considerable infrastructure investment, particularly in the mining, energy, transportation, and communication sectors. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Mongolia for additional information on U.S. – Mongolia relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
You must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of your arrival in Mongolia. A visa is not required if you are visiting Mongolia for fewer than 90 days for the purpose of business or tourism; however, if you plan to stay in Mongolia for more than 30 days, you must register with the Citizenship and Migration General Authority of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar within seven working days of arriving in Mongolia and obtain a residency permit card. If you do not register and you stay longer than 30 days, even for reasons beyond your control, you will not be allowed to exit until you have paid a fine, which can vary. The minimum fine is one to three times the Mongolian monthly minimum wage, or approximately $96 to $288 at current exchange rates. Foreign citizens are required to carry their residency permit card or passport at all times while in Mongolia and are subject to a fine if not in possession of their documents when stopped by Mongolian authorities.
Visitors who have been in Mongolia for more than 90 days must visit the Citizenship and Migration General Authority of Mongolia in order to register their departure at least ten days before traveling. Be aware that requests to exit Mongolia can be denied for reasons such as a pending civil dispute, a pending criminal investigation, or an immigration violation. In such instances, you may not be allowed to leave the country until the dispute is resolved, however long that may be.
If you are planning to work or study in Mongolia, you should apply for a visa at a Mongolian embassy or consulate outside of Mongolia. If you do not have a visa upon arrival in Mongolia, the authorities may refuse to allow you to register to obtain a residency permit, charge you a fine, or require that you leave the country.
If you plan to arrive or depart Mongolia overland through China or Russia, you should be aware of Chinese and Russian visa regulations and obtain appropriate visas before beginning your trip. If you need a visa for Russia, you should obtain it outside of Mongolia, as it is difficult to obtain Russian visas at the Russian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar.
Check with immigration authorities to make sure that the border posts you intend to use in China and Russia will allow U.S. citizens to transit there and will be open when you want to use them. A number of border posts are closed to foreigners. For more information on the entry, exit, and transit requirements for Russia and China, see the Country Specific Information for Russia and China.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, Mongolia requires that its citizens provide documentary evidence of relationship and permission from parent(s) or a legal guardian for a child to travel. At this time it is not required for foreigners, however having such documentation on hand may help facilitate entry/departure.
Visit the Embassy of Mongolia website for the most current visa information or contact the Embassy of Mongolia at 2833 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 333-7117. The Consulate General of Mongolia is located at 465 California Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94104, telephone (415) 622-4000.
Travelers with HIV/AIDS may be subject to additional scrutiny and are required to declare their status on a health declaration form and present themselves to the health control monitoring units at the border. For additional information, contact the Embassy of Mongolia before you travel.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.
Safety and Security
Political protests and street demonstrations occur occasionally in Ulaanbaatar. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar on Twitter and visiting the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Ulaanbaatar is relatively safe compared to cities of comparable size in the United States. However, crime in Ulaanbaatar, and throughout Mongolia, has sharply increased in recent years. Non-violent street crime such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching is most common, but violent incidents do occur regularly. The U.S. Embassy has received several recent reports of street assaults and pickpocketing incidents targeting foreigners in Ulaanbaatar, including U.S. citizens. There are reports of organized groups operating in open areas, usually after dark, that surround, grab, and choke victims in order to search their pockets. Thieves also have cut victims’ bag straps and clothing to reach wallets, cell phones, and other valuables. If you detect pickpocket attempts, you should not confront the thieves, since they may become violent. It is best not to walk alone through Ulaanbaatar after dark.
There are increasing reports of unprovoked xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals, including against U.S. citizens. Asian-Americans should exercise caution at all times when walking in the streets of Ulaanbaatar, as they may be mistaken for ethnic Chinese or Koreans and attacked. Inter-racial couples are sometimes targeted for assault. The perpetrators usually target foreign men with local women. These assaults range from organized attacks by nationalist groups to spontaneous incidents in bars.
You should be extremely cautious at these locations:
- Chinggis Khan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar: Organized groups frequently target tourists for robbery and pickpocketing at this airport.
- The State Department Store and the area around the Circus: Organized pickpocket gangs target tourists at the entries/exits/elevators of the store and in surrounding areas, along Peace Avenue, and down to the Circus.
- Naran Tuul Covered Market: Organized criminal groups target foreigners for robbery and pickpocketing. Crowded public areas, such as open-air markets, the Central Post Office, and the Gandan Monastery.
In addition, you should be alert when you using public transportation or taxis. There have been several reports of foreigners being robbed and/or assaulted while riding in unregistered taxis. You may wish to ask your hotel, a restaurant, or store to make taxi arrangements for you. Also, you may wish to request that a native speaker write your destination address in Mongolian, since most cab drivers do not speak English. Private unmarked cars often act as taxis in Mongolia, but they are unreliable and unsafe. If you find a cab driver whom you like (English speaker, trustworthy, clean car, etc.), request his mobile phone number for future use.
Crime generally increases sharply before, during, and after the Naadam Summer Festival in July, throughout the summer tourist season, and during and after Tsagaan Sar and the Winter Festival, in January or February.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crime, such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the police or appropriate authorities.
- Help you contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Ulaanbaatar does not have a dedicated tourist police unit; nor does it have any centralized reporting system. You should report allegations of criminal activity to the police district responsible for the area where the crime took place.
In Mongolia, the local equivalents to the “911” emergency line are “102” for the police department and “103” for a medical emergency.
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States. Additional information for victims of crime in Mongolia can be found on the Embassy’s website.
Detailed Crime and Safety reports are released annually by U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and are available online at the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)’s website.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While traveling in Mongolia, you are subject to its laws, which are different from our own. If you break the law in Mongolia, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Persons violating Mongolian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Mongolia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. In Mongolia, you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings. Mongolia has a “zero tolerance” law regarding drinking and driving; violations could land you in jail.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted in the United States for engaging in sexual conduct with children or for using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country regardless of the legality of these activities under that country’s laws. Counterfeit and pirated goods are illegal in the United States and if you purchase them in a foreign country, you may be breaking local law as well.
Arrest notifications in host country: While local authorities are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in that country, they may not do so in a timely manner or at all. To ensure that the United States government is aware of your circumstances, request that police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas. You may need to make repeated requests to authorities to speak to a consular officer. Authorities may be unaware of your rights to consular access.
Currency and Credit Cards: In Ulaanbaatar, some hotels accept travelers’ checks in U.S. dollars, and several banks convert travelers’ checks to dollars or Mongolian currency, known as Tugrugs. You can use credit cards at some hotels, restaurants, and shops in the city. Cash advances against credit cards are available at some commercial banks such as Trade and Development Bank, Golomt Bank, Khan Bank, and Xac Bank. International bank wire transfers are also possible. There are a handful of VISA and Maestro/Cirrus ATMs in Ulaanbaatar, but they are not reliable. Very few ATMs exist outside the capital. Outside of Ulaanbaatar, cash is the only possible method of payment.
Winter Energy: During the winter, severe fuel shortages and problems with central heating and electrical systems may cause seriously reduced heating levels and power outages across Mongolia. Smaller towns in the countryside may have no heat or electricity at all. You should prepare to leave the country if there is a complete energy failure. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Customs: Mongolian customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning the import and export of items such as firearms, ammunition, and antiquities. Import of firearms or ammunition requires prior approval from the Government of Mongolia. Exporting antiquities requires a special customs clearance certificate issued by authorized antique shops at the time of purchase. For additional information contact the Embassy of Mongolia at 2833 M Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20007, telephone: (202) 333-7117.
Dual Nationality: Mongolia does not formally recognize dual citizenship. In order for a foreign person to become a naturalized Mongolian citizen, the person must first relinquish any foreign citizenship, either through renunciation or legislation. The law generally confers citizenship upon children born abroad to Mongolian parents, whether or not they attained the citizenship of another country at birth. When the child reaches the age of maturity, there are certain legal requirements that must be followed to either maintain or abandon Mongolian citizenship. More information is available online at the Immigration Authority’s website.
WOMEN TRAVELER INFORMATION: If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Consensual same-sex sexual conduct is not specifically prohibited under Mongolian law. However, NGOs, including Amnesty International and the International Lesbian and Gay Association, have criticized a section of the Mongolian penal code that refers to “immoral gratification of sexual desires,” arguing that it could be used against persons engaging in same-sex sexual conduct. There is no law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Civil Registration Law permits individuals who have had gender reassignment surgery to have their birth certificate and national ID card reissued to reflect the change, and the LGBT Center reported that transgender persons have successfully used this law to identify with their new gender.
The Mongolian National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has reported that LGBT individuals frequently face violence and discrimination both in public and at home based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. There are reports that individuals have been assaulted and intimidated in public due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBT persons also have reported harassment and surveillance by police, and the NHRC has reported that police sometimes verbally abuse LGBT individuals who report bias-motivated crimes. Despite training in recent years for police and investigators on how to handle cases involving LGBT rights, victims reported harassment by officers responding to initial complaints of crimes. No hate crime law or other criminal justice mechanisms exist to aid in the investigation, prosecution, or sentencing of bias-motivated crimes against the LGBT community.
For more detailed information about LGBT rights in Mongolia you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our LGBT Travel Information page.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Mongolia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from that in the United States. The Law on Social Protection of the Disabled (2010) gives the Government of Mongolia the responsibility to implement measures to protect the rights of persons with disabilities, including physical, sensory, and mental disabilities. However, the government does little to execute such measures, and in practice, most persons with disabilities face significant barriers to employment, education, and participation in public life. Government buildings and public transportation remain largely inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Open manholes, protruding obstacles, and unheeded crosswalks prevent many persons with disabilities from moving freely on sidewalks and roads. There are few paved sidewalks outside Ulaanbaatar, and those that are paved usually lack curbs. A few buildings have ramps, but most buildings remain inaccessible to persons in wheel chairs and on crutches. Elevators are quite small and will not accommodate a standard-sized wheelchair. Service animals are rare, and are often barred from public buildings.
Medical facilities in Mongolia are limited and do not meet most Western standards, especially for emergency health care. Basic medical services are widely available and inexpensive. Many brand-name Western medicines are unavailable. The majority of medical facilities are located in Ulaanbaatar; medical facilities are limited outside of Ulaanbaatar. Specialized emergency care for infants and the elderly is not available. Basic hygiene services are available in hospitals, but usually on a fee-for-service basis.
Sanitation in some restaurants, particularly outside of Ulaanbaatar, is inadequate. Stomach illnesses are frequent. You should drink only bottled water and use other routine safety measures to protect your health. Severe air pollution is a serious problem during the winter months in Ulaanbaatar, and travelers with breathing or other health problems should plan accordingly. Tuberculosis and measles are increasingly serious health concerns in Mongolia. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB and measles. Local hospitals generally do not contact the Embassy about ill or injured U.S. citizens in their care. If you need assistance from the Embassy, you should ask the doctor or hospital to contact the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar. See the Embassy’s website for a list of medical facilities in Ulaanbaatar.
You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad or for detailed country-specific health information., consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
In Mongolia, doctors and hospitals generally expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t cover you when you travel overseas, it is a very good idea to purchase a travel medical insurance policy. For more information, please see our Your Health Abroad page.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: Driving in Mongolia can be extremely difficult due to poorly maintained streets, broken traffic lights, poor street lighting, a shortage of traffic signs, unskilled drivers, and wandering pedestrians. Unpaved roads are common outside the capital, and street lights are rare. Driving outside of Ulaanbaatar after dark is unsafe. For specific information concerning Mongolian drivers’ permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Mongolia at 2833 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007, telephone (202) 333-7117.
Metered taxis are common in Ulaanbaatar. There are a few car rental companies, but safety and maintenance standards vary, so you should use rental vehicles with caution. Local tourist companies can provide cars with drivers. Public transportation within the capital is widespread, cheap, and generally reliable, but it is also extremely crowded, so pickpocketing can occur.
During the winter holiday season there tends to be an increase in intoxicated persons on the streets and a spike in drunk drivers. December tends to be a very dangerous month on the roads in Mongolia, with the highest number of traffic fatalities occurring at the end of the month.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Mongolia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Mongolia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.