When planning our Trans-Siberian adventure, we realised we would need to get our Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas before we leave the UK. The Russian visa was surprisingly straight forward. With no strict rules around when to apply, we could submit our application well in advance which took a bit of the pressure off!
The Mongolian visa was also pretty straight forward but we struggled to find any clear guides online – so I decided to make one 🙂 Here’s my step by step guide on how to apply for a Mongolia visa…
A few things you need to know…
- You MUST obtain your visa BEFORE entering Mongolia!
- The Mongolian tourist visa is valid for a period of 30 days.
- You cannot apply for the visa until 90 days before your arrival date.
- When applying for your visa, you do not need to specify any dates. Your visa will begin the day you enter Mongolia and will be valid for the following 30 days.
- The visa takes 2-3 working days to process. If you pay more for the express option, you can submit your application in the morning and it will be ready on the same day (after 4pm).
Documents you’ll need…
- One application form. You can find this form on the Mongolian Embassy website. Print a copy and fill it out by hand. It’s very short and just asks for your details plus an address you’ll be at in Mongolia.
- Passport – with a validity date at least six months beyond the end of your intended period of stay in Mongolia.
- One recent passport photo. UK passport photo is fine – glue to your form in the designating box. Don’t worry if you forget, they will glue it on for you if not!
- Proof of travel insurance and itinerary. This is not compulsory but is listed as ‘preferable’ on the website, so we took it along just in case. We took a copy of our travel insurance, our train reservation from Mongolia to China and our hostel confirmation printed from booking.com. If you don’t have anything booked yet, you could always make a booking on booking.com and then cancel after you have received your visa as many are free to cancel until pretty close to the check-in date.
And that’s it 🙂
How to apply…
- Print and complete application form. Make sure you print at 100% – your passport photo should fit in the box in the top right corner.
- Glue your passport photo into the designated box on the form.
- Head to the embassy in London (address here). You don’t need to book an appointment, just turn up. To submit an application, you’ll need to apply on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday between 10am-12pm. We arrived just after 10am, and queued for about half an hour.
How much will it cost?
For the standard single entry visa it’s £40 (processed in 2-3 working days). You can pay more for the visa to be completed on the same day (£60) which was well worth it for us as it meant we didn’t have to hang around in London or arrange for someone to collect our passports as they do not send the passports – it’s collection only.
The embassy is situated in a tiny basement room below the main Mongolian embassy in Kensington. Google maps is not very helpful – the pin on the map is not actually where it is! It’s slightly further down the road on the right (look for some giant flags hanging outside!). Once you reach the front of the queue, hand over your documents.
IMPORTANT – You cannot pay with cash or card!
After checking over your form, you will be asked how you would like to pay – bank transfer or by bank slip. If you pay by bank transfer, I’d recommend doing this beforehand and printing your bank statement.
Alternatively you can opt for a bank slip. You then need to take this to the HSBC bank located 3 minutes from the embassy (turn right out of the building, walk to the end of the road then turn left and keep walking until you see the bank on the right). Go upstairs in the bank to pay and make sure you keep hold of your receipt! Take this back to the embassy (you don’t need to queue for this part – go to the right of the desk) and they will swap your receipt for a ticket number.
To me, it seemed much easier to go with the bank slip option – this is what most people in the queue seemed to be doing too.
When you go back to collect your visa (they cannot be posted), you just need to show your ticket number and you will be given your passport. Someone else can collect your passport for you – they just need to make sure they take the ticket with them!
So that’s all you need to know to apply for a Mongolian tourist visa!
I hope this comes in useful! If you have any specific questions about the visa or application process, let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them 🙂