Mongolia Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Mongolia Traveler Information guide.
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Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Six months from date of entry.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page per stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: 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.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: None.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: None.
Embassies and Consulates
Denver Street #3
Emergency after-hours telephone: Please call the main Embassy switchboard at +976-7007-6001
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Mongolia for information on U.S.-Mongolia relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
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 of more than 30 days, you must 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 visit, work, study, or reside in Mongolia for more than 90 days, apply for a visa at the Mongolian Embassy in Washington, DC, the Mongolian Consulate General in San Francisco, or the Mongolian Mission to the United Nations in New York.
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 all required visas before coming to Mongolia. The Chinese and Russian Embassies in Ulaanbaatar issue visas for non-residents of Mongolia, but non-resident visa applications are commonly subjected to long processing delays.
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 border crossing 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.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Mongolia.
- The Embassy of Mongolia is located at: 2833 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007; telephone (202) 333-7117 and 202 333-7017; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Consulate General of Mongolia is located at: 465 California Street Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94104; telephone (415) 622-4000; email email@example.com.
- The Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations is located at: 6 East 77th Street, New York, NY 10075; telephone (212) 861-9460; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safety and Security
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 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 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. Outwardly friendly locals may strike up a conversation to distract you so that others can rob you. If a stranger offers you a beverage on the street, be especially cautious. Street beverages may cause you to lose consciousness, enabling the stranger to rob you.
- Be cautious at popular tourist sites. Female travelers should consider joining large tour groups when visiting monasteries and when patronizing ger camps. In 2016 and 2017, we received several reports of sexual assault against foreign women 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. Please note that if a sexual assault occurs, Mongolian police may require the victim to stay in-country for at least two months while the investigation proceeds. Alternatively, the victim may designate a legal representative for this purpose.
- 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 occur in or near bars and nightclubs, and alcohol is often involved. Certain nationalist groups sometimes also instigate premeditated attacks against foreigners.
- Female visitors may be subject to sexual harassment both in the workplace and on the street. Although workplace culture in Mongolia has traditionally turned a blind eye to sexual harassment, local laws do protect female employees. However, if you are a victim of sexual assault, it is important to timely and thoroughly document all incidents. Street harassment is especially prevalent at night and in areas outside the capital. Women should avoid walking alone after dark and should avoid using unregistered taxi cabs.
- Smuggling of goods, including contraband and antiquities, is prevalent across the Chinese and Russian borders. Be wary of other passengers requesting help with their luggage, as it could contain illicit articles.
- Women travelers should not hike, trek, or camp on their own in Mongolia. In 2018, a U.S. citizen woman was raped in western Mongolia while on a trekking tour. U.S. citizens should take the time to research and hire only reputable tour agencies with established safety and security records, especially when visiting remote areas far from the capital.
- 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. The emergency ambulance number is 103. Please note that local authorities do not commonly speak English.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. The U.S Embassy is not a law enforcement organization.
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. If local reporting is not possible, then report the crime in Ulaanbaatar or the closest city. Before reporting a crime, you may wish to consult an attorney, since police have been known to occasionally question victims in an aggressive manner. If you report the crime, you may be asked to remain in Mongolia for the duration of the ensuing police investigation and prosecution. Mongolian law also provides for the option of appointing a legal representative to do this in your place. It is important to note that, if the victim does not file a complaint, police may refuse to investigate the crime--even if they have probable cause to suspect that a crime took place. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care and provide a list of doctors and hospitals
- 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. as well as local resources
- 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
- Investigate crimes
- Provide legal advice or represent you in court
- Serve as official interpreters or translators
- Pay legal, medical, or other fees for you
U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated. Mongolia’s vast area and limited road and communications infrastructure make emergency response challenging for local and national authorities. Mongolia’s severe weather—desert conditions in the summer in many tourist areas and dangerously cold in the winter (-40F) across the country—exacerbates the potential for urgent situations, especially in the event of injury or becoming lost or disoriented outside of city centers. It is not recommended to drive outside of Ulaanbaatar or other city centers after sunset, and winter visitors should always keep high-quality cold-weather clothing in vehicles, even for short trips, to protect oneself in the event of delay or becoming stranded. Routine safety inspections for emergency and medical equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and tour guides and tourist attraction staff may not be adequately trained or certified by the host government or recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, basic medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities, with significant limitations on the availability of medication and quality of health care. First responders are generally unable to quickly access areas outside of major cities to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, then you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
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, precious metals, and antiquities. Importation of firearms or ammunition requires prior government approval. All precious metals should be declared on arrival. 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:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Mongolia’s criminal code prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, language, race, age, gender, social status, professional position, religion, education, or medical status. There are no laws or legal provisions that criminalize being LGBTI or that specifically target the LGBTI community. However, NGOs continue to report that LGBTI individuals faced violence and discrimination both in public and at home based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. There were also reports that LGBTI persons faced greater discrimination and fear in rural areas than in Ulaanbaatar. The Government of Mongolia does not recognize same-sex spouses for visa and residency purposes.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Major streets in Ulaanbaatar feature 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.
Women Travelers: Domestic violence and sexual assault are serious problems in Mongolia. See the Safety & Security section above, as well as our travel tips for Women Travelers.
With few exceptions, Mongolian hospitals do not meet Western standards. Although most doctors and emergency responders are dedicated professionals, their training and equipment are sub-standard. Most modern medical facilities are in Ulaanbaatar, though some public and private hospitals in larger provincial cities offer medical services on par with those in the capital. Medical services may be completely unavailable in remote areas. Mongolia does not have helicopter medical evacuation and those who require medical assistance in remote areas must drive to the nearest major town. Medical evacuation to Ulaanbaatar is conducted by commercial air carriers. Some pharmacies in Ulaanbaatar carry European or U.S. pharmaceuticals, but quantity and variety is limited. Most pharmaceuticals are made in China or Russia, and lack English labels. See our list of medical facilities in Ulaanbaatar.
Air Pollution: Due to the pervasiveness of coal-burning for warmth, Ulaanbaatar and most other Mongolian cities suffer severe air pollution during winter. The U.S. Embassy’s air quality monitor registers Air Quality Indices (AQIs) in excess of 300 most days from December through February. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes AQIs above 300 as “hazardous.” Air pollution can cause both short- and long-term health effects and poses an especially high risk to children, pregnant women, the elderly, outdoor enthusiasts, and people with heart or lung disease. Travelers planning to visit Ulaanbaatar during winter should consult a medical professional and should, at the very least, consider carrying an N95 mask to help filter out harmful particulates. 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 to cover medical evacuation. The U.S. Embassy does not provide medical evacuation, but will contact the insurance company on your behalf to arrange medical evacuation if necessary.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Mongolia to ensure the medication is legal in Mongolia. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent:
- Meningococcal meningitis
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety:
- Operating a vehicle outside of Ulaanbaatar is unsafe, particularly after dark. Outside of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia has few paved roads and even fewer street lights. Most roads have only two lanes and no shoulders and most sealed roads need resurfacing. Trucks commonly carry overloaded cargo. Livestock and pedestrians commonly cross roads in all parts of the country. Passing is difficult and dangerous.
Mongolian motorists are sometimes 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 while intoxicated 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. Motorists rarely respect pedestrian right-of-way, even in crosswalks.
- Driving off-road in Mongolia can be dangerous, especially without a knowledgeable Mongolian guide. Those contemplating off-road driving in Mongolia should bring standard vehicle maintenance equipment, a good GPS unit, and a reliable satellite phone. Exercise particular caution when driving off-road during winter. Mongolia’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) regularly assists stuck vehicles. However, off-road rescue can take days given the remoteness and rough terrain, and few NEMA rescue crews speak English. Foreign motorists may face life-threatening situations after becoming stranded in remote locations without sufficient sources of food, water, and heat.
- 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. It can take hours before police arrive at the scene of the collision.
Ulaanbaatar does not have a metro system, but does have a fairly reliable bus system. Bus maps are not posted in English and buses can become extremely crowded--be alert against pickpocketing. Unofficial, unregistered, un-metered taxis are rampant in Ulaanbaatar, however metered and radio taxis are also available. Radio taxis may refuse service during rush hour, however.
The safety and maintenance standards of rental car companies vary. Local tour companies can provide cars with drivers, but the drivers’ experience, knowledge, and English-speaking abilities will vary.
For more information, please visit our Road Safety page.
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.
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.
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