Here’s some great news for anyone who has been dreaming of Mongolia’s boundless grasslands and eternal blue skies – travel into the country has recently become a whole lot easier.
A new e-visa system unveiled in 2021 means queuing up at a Mongolian embassy is now mostly a thing of the past. Even better, from 2023 until 2025, a host of countries have been granted visa-free travel into the land of Ghengis Khan.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting a visa for Mongolia.
Many people can travel to Mongolia visa-free
In a bid to boost tourism following the global pandemic, 2023, 2024 and 2025 have been declared "the years to visit Mongolia", and a host of countries are now being offered visa-free travel until the end of 2025.
Citizens of the UK, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe have been granted visa-free travel for up to 30 days. Pre-existing visa-free travel arrangements remain in place, including for citizens of the United States (up to 90 days), Canada (up to 30 days) and a number of other countries.
In total, as of August 2023, citizens of 61 countries will be able to visit Mongolia without applying for a visa. Check if your country is on the list by visiting the government’s visitor site and clicking on "Visa Information."
For (almost) everyone else, there are e-Visas
If you are not eligible for visa-free travel, your country may be one of 99 nations that can apply for an e-Visa, using a new online system unveiled in 2021. Tourist eVisas – known as K2 visas – grant stays from 30 to 90 days depending on your country of origin. To obtain one, you’ll need to apply online for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) via the government’s e-Visa portal.
You’ll need to upload a scan of the information page from your passport, and supporting documents including flight and hotel bookings, travel insurance and proof of funds. There’s a form to fill out, and you’ll need a bank card to pay the visa fee (US$51.50 at the time of writing). Allow 72 hours (three working days) for your ETA to be issued by email.
The ETA will need to be scanned by immigration officers on arrival in Mongolia. You can show a digital copy on your phone, but it’s a good idea to bring a paper copy with you as a backup. Note that you’ll need to enter Mongolia within 150 days of your ETA being issued.
Visas for longer stays in Mongolia
If you plan to travel to Mongolia for longer than the validity of an e-Visa (or longer than the visa-free travel period granted to your country), you should contact the nearest Mongolian embassy for the most up-to-date advice on entry requirements and visas. Find details of Mongolian embassies on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Other classes of visas for Mongolia
Business travelers who plan to stay in the country for longer than the stay allowed on an e-Visa or the visa-free travel period should apply for a business visa. You’ll need supporting documents from the company you plan to visit in Mongolia; Mongolian embassies can explain the process.
If you plan to work in the country, you should apply for an employment visa. You’ll need support from a Mongolian employer; find details on the Immigration Agency of Mongolia website.
Travelers transiting through Mongolia en route to somewhere else can apply for a transit/short-stay e-Visa, which grants a maximum layover of 10 days. There are also specialist e-Visas for people participating in sports or cultural events.
Can I extend a Mongolia visa?
It’s possible to extend your visa in-country for an extra 30 days by visiting the Office of Immigration, Naturalisation & Foreign Citizens (INFC) near the airport in Ulaanbaatar. This should be done at least five working days before your visa expires – you’ll need supporting documents (including a letter of invitation, which can be from a host or tour agency in Mongolia) and a passport photo.
Additional immigration requirements for travel to Mongolia
Make sure that your passport is valid for at least 180 days from the date you arrive in Mongolia. The Mongolian Border Agency will scan your fingerprints on arrival, and if your visa has a duration longer than 30 days, you’ll need to register at the INFC in Ulaanbaatar within seven days of arriving in the country.
This also applies to citizens who are permitted a visa-free stay of more than 30 days (such as travelers from the USA) and intend to stay for longer than 30 days, and travelers who intend to extend their visa past 30 days. Some tour companies and guesthouses can take care of the registration on your behalf.
For the latest regulations, a good source of up-to-date information is the website of the Mongolian embassy in Washington DC. Information is also available from the Immigration Agency of Mongolia and the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.