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Mongolia travel guide

About Mongolia

Mongolia is far-flung and hardly well-trodden, but do not let that put you off. There is so much to see and do in this sizeable Central Asian country, from the stunning scenery and wildlife of mountains and deserts to the emerging luxury hotels and restaurants in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

In the ancient land of Mongolia, history buffs and culture vultures will find plenty to keep them entertained. Outside of the main cities, many Mongolians continue to hold on to the traditional life of herdsmen. Residing in portable felt and canvas tents (known as 'ger'), the modern-day Mongolian nomads move from one place to another in search of shelter, water supply and food for themselves and their animals.

Mongolia's vast areas of wilderness, from the sprawling Gobi Desert to the snow-peaked mountains located in the Bayan-Ölgii Province, offer plenty of scope for adventurous outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing, jeep tours, horse and camel riding, mountain biking and birdwatching are but a few of the activities on offer. Intrepid visitors can also explore numerous temple ruins like Mañjuśrī Monastery on the slopes of Bogd Khan Mountain or Ongi Monastery in the Dundgovi Province.

While infrastructure remains relatively underdeveloped in vast swathes of rural Mongolia, elsewhere the country is racing headlong into the 21st century. The capital Ulaanbaatar is transforming at a pace that any returning visitors will find dizzying. In a relatively short space of time, the city has turned into an ultra-modern metropolis with international restaurants, five-star hotels, shopping malls and glass tower blocks – a sure sign of Mongolia's status as an up-and-coming Asian travel hotspot.

While there is plenty of nightlife and excitement in Ulaanbaatar, do not visit Mongolia without exploring the wild, largely unspoilt landscapes and traditional lifestyle of its inhabitants. Leaving the capital does not mean being stranded from civilisation. Internet is now available even in small villages and it is not uncommon to see nomads toting mobile phones. It is perhaps this contrast that makes Mongolia such a fascinating destination to visit today. Get planning your trip now before the tourist hordes inevitably catch on.

Key facts

Area:

1,564,116 sq km (603,909 sq miles).

Population:

3,234,703 (2019).

Population density:

2.06 per sq km.

Capital:

Ulaanbaatar.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh since 2021.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai since 2021.

Travel Advice

All scheduled commercial flights have been cancelled but there are occasional flights leaving Mongolia. The UK government is working closely with the Mongolian authorities regarding charter flights and options for British people to return to the UK.

Flights

The government of Mongolia has announced the following flights leaving Ulaanbaatar:

October

  • 21 October: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 21 October: Almaty (Hunnu Air)
  • 22 October: Seoul (Asiana Airlines)
  • 22 October: Irkutsk (Aero Mongolia)
  • 22 October: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 25 October: Budapest (Hunnu Air)
  • 26 October: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 27/28 October: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 27 October: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 28 October: Almaty (Hunnu Air)
  • 28 October: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 29 October: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 29 October: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 29 October: Seoul (Asiana Airlines)

November

  • 2 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 2 November: Tokyo (AeroMongolia)
  • 3 November: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 4 November: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 4 November: Almaty (Hunnu Air)
  • 4 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 5 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 5 November: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 7 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 7 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 10 November: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 10 November: Seoul (Asiana Airlines)
  • 11 November: Tokyo (AeroMongolia)
  • 11 November: Almaty (Hunnu Air)
  • 11 November: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 11 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 12 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 14 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 13 November: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 14 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 17 November: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 18 November: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 18 November: Almaty (Hunnu Air)
  • 18 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 19 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 20 November: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 21 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 21 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 23 November: Tokyo (AeroMongolia)
  • 24 November: Seoul (Asiana Airlines)
  • 24 November: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 25 November: Almaty (Hunnu Air)
  • 25 November: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 25 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 26 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 27 November: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 28 November: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 28 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 30 November: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)

December

  • 1 December: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 1 December: Seoul Asiana Airlines)
  • 2 December: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 2 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 3 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 4 December: Nursultan (Hunnu Air)
  • 4 December: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 5 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 5 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 7 December: Tokyo (AeroMongolia)
  • 7 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 8 December: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 9 December: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 9 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 10 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 12 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 11 December: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 12 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 14 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 14 December: Tokyo (AeroMongolia)
  • 15 December: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 15 December: Seoul (Asiana Airlines)
  • 16 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 16 December: Almaty (Hunnu Air)
  • 16 December: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 17 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 18 December: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 19 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 19 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 21 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 21 December: Tokyo (AeroMongolia)
  • 23 December: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 23 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 24 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 25 December: Nursultan (Hunnu Air)
  • 25 December: Frankfurt (MIAT Airlines)
  • 26 December: Istanbul(Turkish Airlines)
  • 26 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 28 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)
  • 28 December: Tokyo (AeroMongolia)
  • 29 December: Seoul (Asiana Airlines)
  • 29 December: Tokyo (MIAT Airlines)
  • 30 December: Seoul (Korean Air)
  • 30 December: Istanbul (Turkish Airlines)
  • 31 December: Seoul (MIAT Airlines)

The British Embassy understands that British nationals may be able to purchase tickets for the outward legs from Ulaanbaatar. British nationals wanting to purchase tickets for these flights should contact the relevant airline direct.

The British Embassy cannot guarantee seats on any of these flights. You will be responsible for payment of the ticket. Individuals who book on any of these flights are responsible for making their own onward travel arrangements. You should also check FCDO Travel Advice regarding onward flights to the UK from the destinations listed above.

If you book a seat you should make sure your luggage will be checked through to your destination. If the airline cannot undertake this task, you should check with the airport, through which you are transiting, whether you will be allowed to collect your luggage and then check-in for your next flight.

As further information becomes available it will be shared on these pages and on the British Embassy Ulaanbaatar Twitter and Facebook sites.

You will need to pay for your return travel to the UK. If departure options are available but you cannot afford the travel costs and have exhausted all other options for getting funds, you may be eligible to apply for an emergency loan from the government. This is a last resort option and you would need to repay the loan when you’re back in the UK.

For more information, please read Financial Assistance Abroad.

Returning to the UK

Mongolia is on the red list for entering England. From 4am on Monday 11 October, Mongolia will no longer be on the red list for entering England. Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

Future travel options

The UK government is working closely with airlines, the Mongolian authorities and other governments to make sure options are available for you to return to the UK. This travel advice will be updated when further departure options become available.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, you can contact the British Embassy on +976 1145 8133.

The Embassy cannot provide further information or advice about departure options over the phone. This page will be updated when departure options become available. To get the latest information, sign up for travel advice email alerts.

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Mongolia on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

All scheduled commercial flights have been cancelled but there are occasional flights leaving Mongolia. See Return to the UK

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Mongolia.

Returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

If you test positive for COVID-19 in Mongolia you will be asked to self-isolate and will be contacted by your nearest medical facility who will discuss your symptoms and offer further guidance. You should follow any guidance given by the Mongolian authorities.

Local medical facilities may not always have English speakers so if you require help with translation you can view our list of translators; the Embassy is unable to provide a translation service.

Depending on your health condition you may be required to enter a government medical quarantine facility.

If you test positive while staying in a hotel you may be asked to move to a designated quarantine hotel, there are a number of designated hotels in Ulaanbaatar. Families should expect to quarantine together, either in home isolation or a government-run facility.

Travel in Mongolia

Precautionary measures introduced by the Mongolian authorities include:

  • restrictions on public gatherings
  • fines for not wearing a mask in public
  • the suspension of all scheduled international commercial air and rail routes. You should check the status of any upcoming flights or trains into and out of Mongolia with your airline/booking agent
  • the closure to foreign nationals of road crossings between Mongolia and Russia
  • the closure of all borders between China and Mongolia until further notice
  • the cancellation of all domestic flights except for charters

In addition to the above, the Government of Mongolia has placed the country under an “Orange Level” status, or “partial heightened state of readiness”. Orange restrictions include a ban on gatherings and a requirement for anyone travelling between provinces to provide evidence of having been fully vaccinated at least 14 days previously.

Accommodation

Limited hotels are open. You will likely need to wear a mask in indoor public areas of your accommodation, and your temperature may be checked upon entry. Hotels need to carry out regular cleaning and sanitising measures as per government guidance.

Public places and services

You may be fined if you do not wear a mask in public. Other restrictions are summarised in the Travel in Mongolia section above.

Health

The Mongolian Ministry of Health has advised foreign nationals exhibiting cold or flu-type symptoms to call either of the following Ulaanbaatar-based clinics for advice: SOS Medica (+976 9191 3122) or Intermed (+976 8010 5577).

If you’re returning to the UK from Mongolia, consult the latest advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on actions to take.

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health

View Health for further details on healthcare in Mongolia.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Mongolia

We will update this page when the Government of Mongolia announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Mongolian national vaccination programme started in February 2021 and is using the AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines. British nationals with permanent residency status in Mongolia are eligible for vaccination, if they choose to join the programme. Mongolia has a staged rollout based on profession and vulnerability, you should contact your local district health provider for further details and advice.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Mongolia, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Help and support

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Further information

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crime

Most crime in Mongolia is non-violent, but occasionally violent incidents do occur. There have been isolated incidents of rape and murder of foreign nationals. Petty crime is common, particularly in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Watch out for pickpockets especially in markets or other crowded public places. Be wary of large groups of people, including children and teenagers, who sometimes harass pedestrians for money when entering and leaving vehicles, pubs and restaurants. Tourists’ mobile phones are especially targeted by thieves in the streets and should be carried securely. Keep passports, money and other valuables in a safe place and do not display signs of wealth – jewellery etc.

Incidences of violent crime do occur in Ulaanbaatar and there have been reports of foreigners being robbed and assaulted, especially when walking alone at night, or using unlicensed taxis.

Petty crime tends to increase during festive months – New Year, Tsagaan Sar (December – February) and Naadam (July). Take - safety precautions at all times but especially during these months and when using Public Transport.

Report any theft to the nearest district police station. The police can provide a letter for insurance purposes. In an emergency call the police on 102 or +976 102 from an international mobile phone. There should be someone available on this number who can speak to you in English.

Local travel

Travelling across the Mongolian countryside can be difficult and potentially dangerous if you’re not familiar with the terrain. Mongolia does not have an extensive road network. You may need to follow tracks in the dust, mud or sand and there will not necessarily be other traffic to follow if these give out. Global Positioning Systems do not always function reliably and there are areas of the country without mobile phone coverage. It is recommended that you take back-up communications like a satellite phone with you, plenty of water and provisions. Make a contingency plan and make sure someone knows your route and times of arrival and departure.

Mongolia experiences extremes of weather, from +35C in summer to -40C in winter. Even in summer, evenings can be cold because of the altitude and weather conditions can change without warning. There are very long distances between settlements. Take appropriate provisions, including warm clothing, blankets, food and water if you’re travelling outside urban areas. You should carry a First Aid kit and supply of prescription medicines when travelling outside Ulaanbaatar. See health

Road travel

Driving standards have not kept pace with the dramatic growth in the number of vehicles and are highly variable. Vehicle maintenance can be poor, even for rental vehicles.

Wear seat belts where possible and avoid driving at night. If possible, use an experienced, professional driver familiar with the driving conditions. Driving in Ulaanbaatar is hazardous as roads are heavily congested. There is minimal signposting and a high number of accidents.

If you intend to drive in Mongolia you need an International Driving Permit. You should also try to familiarise yourself with local law.

Communications

Most UK phone networks work in cities but the network isn’t widely available in remote areas. Wifi is available in many restaurants and bars and you can buy local SIM cards and mobile phones at a reasonable price.

Air travel

Evidence suggests that domestic services (including helicopter services) in Mongolia do not always comply with international safety standards. The FCDO can not offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.

In 2017 the International Civil Aviation Organisation carried out an audit, evaluating Mongolia’s safety oversight capabilities.

A list of incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety Network.

Flights can be subject to disruption due to weather conditions and maintenance issues. Bear this in mind when making your travel plans.

Rail travel

Trans-Mongolian express trains (Beijing-Moscow via Ulaanbaatar) are known to be used for smuggling. Search your compartment and secure the cabin door before departure. Do not pack something in your luggage or transport any items for someone else.

Political situation

In recent years there have been occasional instances of civil and political unrest resulting in demonstrations and in some cases violence. You should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.

Although there is no recent history of terrorism in Mongolia, attacks can not be ruled out. You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks. These could be in public areas including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Possession and use of any type of drugs including cannabis is illegal. If found guilty you could face a very long prison sentence in an institution with very basic facilities.

Never photograph the police, police escorts, or military. This is considered a criminal offence.

Though many Mongolians are familiar with foreign visitors, you should be aware of local customs, especially if visiting remote areas or calling on a Mongolian family (eg stepping on a door threshold can cause offence).

Some Mongolian men do not like seeing Mongolian women in relationships with foreign men. Be discreet to avoid causing offence.

Although not illegal, homosexuality is not generally accepted socially. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Show appropriate respect in Buddhist monasteries. Ask permission before taking photographs, and do not touch any sacred images or objects.

If you’re a resident in Mongolia you should carry your registration card at all times. If you’re visiting Mongolia, and do not have a registration card, you must carry your passport at all times – a photocopy isn’t sufficient.

Failure to carry your registration card or passport may lead to a fine. Keep a copy of the bio data page and the page with your Mongolian border immigration stamp separately in a safe place.

It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a license. Mongolia is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). If you’re caught purchasing or trafficking illegal goods you’ll be prosecuted and could receive a prison sentence and fine.

In purchasing antiques make sure the supplier presents a certificate of authenticity for the item. You will need the document for exporting the item. Mongolian Customs produces an import, export guide on prohibited items.

If you become involved in a commercial dispute or a criminal investigation, you may be prevented from leaving Mongolia until the issue is resolved. This is called a travel ban. If you’re subject to a travel ban, you should inform the British Embassy.

If you bring a car into Mongolia you may have to pay a small fee. If you do not leave with your car you may also have to pay an import tax either on departure or at a later date when you’ve returned to the UK.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Mongolia set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Restrictions in response to coronavirus

Entry to Mongolia

It is currently not possible for British nationals without long-stay visas, residence permits or business visas for Mongolia to enter Mongolia. You should contact the Mongolian Embassy in London for the most up-to-date advice on entry requirements. All scheduled international commercial flights and rail are suspended. All road border crossings to and from Russia are closed to foreign nationals. Borders between China and Mongolia are closed.

The Mongolian government allows foreign nationals to travel to Mongolia on incoming charter flights if they meet certain criteria (a valid long-stay visa, permanent residency or short term business visas). All incoming passengers are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before arrival and either:

  • Present valid evidence of having received a full vaccination course against COVID-19 at least 14 days before arriving in Mongolia. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’). Passengers meeting this criteria would need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, will be required to take a PCR test at Chinggis Khan International Airport (unless aged 5 or under), and provide their isolating address and phone number to the relevant airport authorities. Or,

  • Present valid evidence of having been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the previous 4 months, and subsequently fully recovered. Passengers meeting this criteria would also need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, will be required to take a PCR test at Chinggis Khan International Airport (unless aged 5 or under), and provide their isolating address and phone number to the relevant airport authorities. Or,

  • Undertake 7 days quarantine in an approved hotel followed by a further 7 days of self-isolation. PCR tests will be taken on the 6th day of quarantine. No further isolation will be required if there are no symptoms and those tests return negative results

The FCDO still advise against all but essential travel to Mongolia. If you choose to travel to Mongolia against FCDO advice on these flights, you will be responsible for making your own arrangements and, if relevant, paying for the cost of approved hotel quarantine on arrival in Mongolia. Details of quarantine hotels can be found here and here. Your nearest Mongolian Embassy should have information on the latest requirements for returning to Mongolia.

You can sign up to receive email alerts for changes to this travel advice.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 status

Although we understand that the UK’s proof of COVID recovery and vaccination status is being accepted in practice, Mongolia has not yet officially confirmed this. We therefore recommend that you contact your nearest Mongolian embassy for advice on entry requirements. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination.

Visas

Any British nationals who need to extend their visas should contact the Immigration Agency of Mongolia, telephone +976 1800 1882 or +976 9314 1009.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

You should have a visa before you travel to Mongolia. A Mongolian visit visa is usually valid for a stay of up to 30 days within six months from the date of issue. You can extend your visa up to 30 days once within six months. Full details can be found at Immigration of Mongolia.

If you arrive in Mongolia with the wrong visa, the Mongolian Immigration Agency may ask you to pay for the correct visa or deny you entry. Contact the nearest Mongolian Embassy to confirm visa requirements for your visit.

The Mongolian Border Agency will collect biometric data (scanned fingerprints) on your arrival.

Online visa

As of 1 May 2019, companies and individuals who are inviting British citizens to Mongolia from the UK can request entry permissions online for visa on arrival. This is for single or multiple entry visas for tourism (J) and business visit (B) categories only.

The inviting companies need to login to the immigration website and upload the invitation letter, application etc per instruction. If all the needed documents are provided, the immigration authority will inform the inviting organisation or individual via email or text message. Once permission is granted, the foreign citizen can get a Mongolian visa on arrival. You should make sure you have the confirmation before travelling to Mongolia.

You should remember that at the entry point, the immigration authority might interview you and they can refuse your entry to Mongolia. It is important for the inviting individual or company to provide full and true information about the person.

Onward travel

It can be difficult to get visas for China and Russia in Mongolia. If you’re planning to travel to China or Russia from Mongolia, seek advice from the Chinese and Russian Embassies in London for the latest visa requirements before you travel to Mongolia. Foreigners who aren’t residents of Mongolia haven’t always been able to get Chinese visas from the Chinese embassy in Ulaanbaatar. If you plan to travel to Mongolia and then onward to China, you should get your Chinese visa before the start of your trip.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Mongolia.

Travelling with children

Adults accompanying children other than their own should have a notarised letter from the legal guardians of the child confirming the arrangement. For further information contact the Embassy of Mongolia in London.

Registration

If you intend to remain in Mongolia for more than 30 days or if you do not have an entry/exit visa, you must register your stay with the Mongolian Immigration Agency in Ulaanbaatar within a week of arriving. Once registered you will be issued with a residence permit. The permit will include your date of birth, passport number, address, photograph and fingerprints. You should carry it with you at all times when you’re in Mongolia.

Visitors who have been in Mongolia for more than 90 days must obtain an exit visa to leave the country. The exit visa is obtained from the Mongolian Immigration Agency office and usually takes 10 days to process. Visitors to Mongolia for less than 90 days do not need an exit permit. However, requests to exit Mongolia can be denied for reasons such as civil disputes, pending criminal investigations or immigration violations.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

You can only use a UK Emergency Travel Document (ETD) to enter Mongolia if you’re a permanent resident or for airside transit. ETDs can be used to exit Mongolia. If your ETD has been issued in Mongolia and you are a permanent resident in Mongolia, you’ll need an exit visa from the Immigration Authority. If you do not have a residence permit you won’t need an exit permit to exit Mongolia on an ETD.

Border crossings

There are normally 8 border points open to British passport holders. They are at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, the road/train crossing to China at Zamin Uud, the road crossing to China at Bulgan in the west, the road crossing to China at Bichigt in the south east, the road crossing to Russia at Tsagaannuur in the far west, the train crossing to Russia at Sukhbaatar and the road crossings to Russia at Altanbulag and Ereen-Tsav. You may not cross into China or Russia at any of the other border points as they are either seasonal or are open only to Mongolians, Chinese or Russians.

If you’re planning to bring a vehicle into Mongolia at any of the border crossings you should inform the tax authorities and border troops in advance.

If you’re travelling by train across the China/Mongolia border expect a delay of a few hours as the railways use different gauges.

You may encounter problems when entering Mongolia by train from Russia, particularly with Russian border or customs officials who scrutinise documentation (in particular customs declarations) very carefully. If you’re crossing overland to or from Russia pay scrupulous attention when completing all the necessary paperwork.

Entering Mongolia by car

If you’re entering Mongolia by car you should familiarise yourself with Mongolian Customs law.

If you’re entering Mongolia in a private vehicle you should complete the customs declaration form and make sure you have all valid vehicle documents, including driving licence, ownership records and insurance. You can complete the customs declaration forms on entry at the border, as well as at the Ulaanbaatar City Customs Office situated next to the train station in Ulaanbaatar.

If you enter Mongolia in a private vehicle you must leave in the same vehicle, or otherwise pay customs tax. The amount of tax depends on the size of the engine and the value of your vehicle. You can find more details on Mongolian Customs’ webpage.

If your vehicle breaks down in Mongolia, you won’t be able to leave it there without paying customs tax. If your vehicle breaks down and can not be fixed you must either pay for it to be transported out of Mongolia, or sell it on to a local mechanic, but you’ll still need to pay customs tax. You mustn’t under any circumstance leave your vehicle unattended or abandon it.

If you’re leaving your vehicle in Mongolia you must leave it in a secure place, either with a mechanic or at an official Customs warehouse, for which you will need to submit a completed customs declaration form and pay a monthly fee for storage. If you leave your vehicle with a mechanic in Mongolia because it can not be fixed, you must provide proof (photos and a letter from a mechanic and a police report) of this to the Customs Office. If you choose to sell your vehicle, you’ll need to show proof of sale.

Customs tax is payable in local currency (MNT) only and must be paid directly to the Customs Office. If you wish to leave your vehicle and then return to collect it at a later date you should still pay the tax up front, which can then be reimbursed to you when you return to take your vehicle out of Mongolia. If you aren’t able to return in person, ask a third party to make the initial tax payment, and then collect the refund on your behalf.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Mongolia on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Mongolia.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. You’re only allowed to bring medicines for personal use into Mongolia. These include medicines for urgent aid for up to 7 days or for the treatment of diabetes, cancer, mental illness or HIV/AIDS for which you have a doctor’s prescription. If you’re arriving by plane, you should carry all medicines in your checked baggage. Guidance is available from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Air pollution

The high levels of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, especially in winter, may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. You can check the pollution index levels for many cities on the AQICN website.

Health risks

There have been isolated incidents of bubonic plague in some rural areas of Mongolia. Plague is caught by consuming marmot meat. The meat is a delicacy in some rural areas although it is illegal to hunt for marmot in Mongolia. When travelling in rural areas, you should avoid marmot meat and follow the latest advice from the local authorities.

If you think you have been exposed to Bubonic Plague whilst travelling in Mongolia, you should immediately report to the nearest hospital and call the National Infectious Disease Centre on +976 100. You should contact the British Embassy if you or your group is quarantined due to an incident involving Bubonic Plague.

Medical treatment

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 103 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company as soon as possible to inform them of what has happened.

The standard of healthcare is variable, especially outside Ulaanbaatar. In Ulaanbaatar the quality and access can also vary. Doctors and hospitals may ask for cash payment in advance of treatment. The quality of local medical supplies is low and some medicines are counterfeit. Take basic supplies of over-the-counter medicines and any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.

Medical bills, especially when medical evacuation is needed, can be very substantial. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Mongolia is very much a cash-based society. The Mongolian currency is the Tögrög, abbreviated to MNT. You can use credit cards in some hotels, shops and restaurants in Ulaanbaatar and ATMs are widely available.

ATMs are also becoming more common in other towns, and some international debit cards can be used to withdraw Mongolian Tögrögs. Travellers’ checks are no longer accepted. You can transfer money to Mongolia using commercial means like Western Union or Money Gram. If you’re travelling through countryside you will need cash available to cover daily costs.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can not provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can not find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry.We are not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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