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Mongolia
Official Name:

Mongolia

Last Updated: December 5, 2016

Embassy Messages

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar

Denver Street #3,
11th Microdistrict
Ulaanbaatar 14190
Mongolia

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Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

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Six months from date of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

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One page per stamp 

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

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Not required for stays of fewer than 90 days.  For stays of more than 30 days, register with Mongolian Immigration within seven days of arrival.

VACCINATIONS:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

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None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

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 None

Country Map

U.S. Embassy Ulaanbaatar

Denver Street #3
11th Micro-District
Ulaanbaatar 14190
Mongolia

Telephone: +976-7007-6001

Emergency after-hours telephone: +976-9911-4168

Fax: +976-7007-6016

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Mongolia for information on U.S.-Mongolia relations.

  • Tourism & Business Travel:

You do not need a visa if visiting for fewer than 90 days, but your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your date of arrival.  For stays for more than 30 days, register with Mongolian Immigration within seven days of arrival. Failure to register will result in a fine of $100-$300 – even if you extend your stay due to circumstances beyond your control. 

  • Work, Study, Reside:

If you plan to work, study, or reside in Mongolia for more than 90 days, apply for a visa at the Mongolian embassy in Washington, DC

  • Overland Travel to/from China or Russia:

If you plan travel overland to China or Russia, you should carefully research Chinese and Russian travel restrictions – and obtain appropriate visas before coming to Mongolia.  It has become increasingly difficult to obtain visas at the Chinese or Russian embassies in Ulaanbaatar.

Even with an onward visa, overland travel into and out of Mongolia is not always possible.  Most of Mongolia’s overland border crossings are closed to foreign travelers.  However, the country’s most widely used overland ports of entry and exit, the Zamiin Uud in the south and the Sukhbaatar/Altanbulag border crossing in the north are always open to foreign travelers. See the Country Specific Information pages on China and Russia for additional information on the entry, exit, and transit requirements for those countries.

  • HIV/AIDS:

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Mongolia.  Travelers with HIV/AIDS may be required to declare their status on a health declaration form and to present themselves to health control monitoring units at the border.  Please verify this information with the Embassy of Mongolia before you travel.

Additional Information:

The Embassy of Mongolia is located at:  2833 M Street NW, Washington, DC  20007; telephone (202) 333-7117 and 202 333-7017; email monconsul@mongolianembassy.us.

The Consulate General of Mongolia is located at:  465 California Street Suite 200, San Francisco, CA  94104; telephone (415) 622-4000; email sanfrancisco@mfa.gov.mn.

Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Mongolia is a relatively safe country for foreigners.  However, both street crime and violent crime are on the rise, especially in the larger towns and cities.  Crime typically peaks during the Naadam summer festival in July and during the Tsagaan Sar (Lunar New Year) festival in January or February.

  • Petty street crime such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching can occur at any time, especially in crowded places like open markets, train stations, and popular tourist attractions.  Other street crime most often occurs late at night, often outside of bars and nightclubs. 
  • Muggings are on the rise. Muggings are most likely to occur if you are alone in unfamiliar urban neighborhoods after dark, or in unregistered taxis or private vehicles operating as taxis.  Stick to well-lit and well-established tourist areas, and use radio taxis whenever possible.
  • Be cautious when approached by strangers, particularly late at night.  Friendly locals may, for example, strike up a conversation, offer a beverage--which later causes loss of consciousness--and rob you.   
  • Be cautious at tourist sites.  Female travelers should join larger tour groups when visiting monasteries and when patronizing ger camps.  In 2016, we received three reports of sexual assault against foreign females who were visiting popular monasteries.  In each case, a monk isolated the foreign tourist during her tour.  We also received several reports of thieves entering the gers of female travelers late at night to steal valuables.  One of these incidents also involved sexual assault. 
  • Unprovoked xenophobic attacks against foreigners also occur.  The attackers often target Asian-Americans and interracial couples – particularly foreign men with Mongolian or other Asian women – for verbal or physical abuse.  These assaults typically stem from incidents in bars and nightclubs, but can also be premeditated attacks by nationalist groups.   
  • Smuggling is prevalent across the Chinese and Russian borders.  Be wary of other passengers requesting help with their luggage, which might contain illicit articles.
  • See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

Report crimes to the local police at 102 (the Mongolian equivalent of 911) and contact the U.S. Embassy at +976-7007-6001 or +976-9911-4168.  The emergency ambulance number is 103.

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

Ulaanbaatar has no centralized crime reporting system.  If victimized, you should report the crime to the police district having jurisdiction over the locale where the crime occurred.  Before reporting a crime, however, you may wish to consult an attorney, since police have been known to aggressively question victims.  You should consider the possibility that you will be required to remain in Mongolia for the duration of the ensuing police investigation and prosecution.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence:

U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

Most Mongolian hospitals do not meet Western standards.  Although most doctors and emergency responders are dedicated and professional, their training and equipment are sub-standard.  Most pharmaceuticals are made in China or Russia, and lack English labels.  Modern medical facilities are heavily concentrated in Ulaanbaatar, although some public and private hospitals in larger provincial cities offer medical services on par with those in the capital.  In the countryside, medical services are not available.  See our list of medical facilities in Ulaanbaatar.

Air Pollution: Ulaanbaatar suffers from severe air pollution in the winter. The U.S. Embassy’s pollution sensors registered Air Quality Indices (AQIs) in excess of 300 for 16 days in December 2015 and January 2016.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes AQIs above 300 as “hazardous” – anyone breathing such heavily polluted air is likely to experience serious health effects.  For reliable and timely air pollution readings, check the U.S. Embassy’s live air quality monitor.

We do not pay medical bills.  Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments.   See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance (our webpage) to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Mongolia to ensure the medication is legal.  Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Rabies
  • Plague
  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Measles

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.  See our webpage for further information.

Customs:  Mongolian customs authorities strictly enforce laws regulating the import and export of firearms, ammunition, and antiquities.  Import of firearms or ammunition requires prior government approval.  Exporting antiquities requires a special customs clearance certificate issued by an authorized antique dealer at the time of purchase.  For additional information, contact the Embassy of Mongolia.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers:  Mongolian law does not specifically prohibit consensual same-sex sexual conduct.   However, there is no law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Mongolian National Human Rights Commission has reported that LGBTI individuals frequently face violence and discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  LGBTI persons also have reported harassment and surveillance by police. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance:  Ulaanbaatar has textured sidewalks to aid visually impaired pedestrians, but numerous obstacles prevent persons with disabilities from moving freely.  Government buildings and public transportation remain largely inaccessible to persons with disabilities.  Mongolian elevators are often too small to accommodate a standard-sized wheelchair.  Service animals are rare and are often barred from entering public buildings.

Students:  See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers:  Domestic violence and sexual assault are serious problems in Mongolia.  Many incidents involve alcohol.  See the Safety & Security section above, as well as our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Operating a vehicle outside of Ulaanbaatar is unsafe, particularly after dark.  Passing is difficult and dangerous. Outside of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia has few paved roads and even fewer street lights.  Most of the roads have only two lanes and no shoulders; most of the sealed roads need resurfacing. Trucks commonly carry overloaded cargo.

Mongolian motorists are aggressive, commonly cutting each other off, performing illegal turns, driving through red lights, and/or suddenly stopping in the middle of the road.  Moreover, driving under the influence is common. Although Mongolia is a right-hand traffic country, more than half of all vehicles have the steering wheel on the right-hand side. Most motorcycle and moped drivers have limited experience sharing the road.

  • Driving off-road can be dangerous – especially without a knowledgeable Mongolian guide.  Participants of the 2016 Mongol Rally reported that Mongolian roads – and road conditions – are the roughest of the entire 10,000-mile course.  Those contemplating off-road driving through Mongolia should bring standard vehicle maintenance equipment, a good GPS unit, and a reliable satellite phone.  Use extreme caution before driving off-road during the winter.  Mongolia’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is highly capable of assisting stuck vehicles.  However, off-road rescue can take days given the remoteness and rough terrain, and few NEMA rescue crews speak English.

Traffic Laws:

  • To help reduce traffic and air pollution, police actively restrict certain license plate numbers from driving into downtown Ulaanbaatar on certain days of the week.
  • All foreign residents must carry a Mongolian driving permit. It is not legal to drive in Mongolia with a U.S. driver’s license. U.S. citizen tourists may legally drive in Mongolia for up to six months with a valid international driver’s license, but must have a Mongolian license thereafter. Automobile insurance is mandatory.  For information concerning Mongolian driver’s licenses, vehicle inspection, road taxes, and vehicle insurance, contact the Embassy of Mongolia in Washington, DC.
  • If you are involved in a collision, never move your vehicle until after the police arrive to assess the scene-- even if your vehicle is blocking traffic.  Moving your vehicle will incur an almost certain fine.

Public Transportation:

Metered taxis are available in Ulaanbaatar.  Drive rental cars with caution; the safety and maintenance standards of rental car companies varies.  Local tour companies can provide cars with drivers, but the drivers’ experience, knowledge, and English-speaking abilities will vary.  Public transportation within the capital is widespread, cheap, and generally reliable, but also extremely crowded – be alert against pickpocketing.

Mongolia has more than 1,100 miles of train track, most of which runs from south to north along the Chinese and Russian borders.  Buses share the country’s rough, remote roads with private automobiles and commercial trucks. 

See our Road Safety page for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight:  Due to limited road and rail infrastructure, air travel remains the easiest and fastest mode of travel.  Mongolia has more than 40 airports.  In addition, a new international airport is scheduled to open in Ulaanbaatar in July 2017.

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.

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