Mongolia - Consular Information Sheet
June 8, 2000
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Mongolia is a vast north Asian country.
It peacefully abandoned its communist system in 1990 and has successfully
made the transition to a parliamentary democracy. Economic reforms
continue. The country’s development has been hampered by inadequate
infrastructure, particularly in the energy, transportation, and
communication sectors. Travelers to Mongolia should be aware of
the shortcomings in these areas as they may have an impact on
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and entry/exit
visa are required. While it is recommended that visitors obtain
the appropriate entry/exit visa prior to travel, visas may be
obtained at the international airport in Ulaanbaatar and at train
stations on the Russian and Chinese borders. Two photographs and
a US$50 processing fee are required. Visitors planning to stay
in Mongolia for more than 30 days are required to register with
the police at the Citizens’ Information and Registration Center.
Visitors who stay longer than the time permitted by their visa
may be stopped at departure, denied exit, and fined. A departure
tax must be paid at the airport on departure. For current information
on visa issuance, fees, and registration requirements, travelers
should contact the Embassy of Mongolia at 2833 M Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone: (202) 333-7117 or http://www.MongoliaNet.com.
Travelers arriving or departing Mongolia through China should
also be aware of Chinese visa regulations. American citizens are
not permitted to transit through China without a visa. For more
information, see the Consular Information Sheet for China or contact
the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 2300 Connecticut
Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, Tel: (202) 328-2500 or http://www.china-embassy.org
or the Chinese consulates general in Los Angeles, San Francisco,
Chicago, New York City, and Houston.
CRIME INFORMATION: Over the past few years there has been
a significant rise in crime in Mongolia, particularly in Ulaanbaatar,
the capital. Violent crime is increasing, and it is no longer
advisable to walk alone through the city after dark. The most
common crimes against foreigners are pickpocketing and bag-snatching.
Travelers should be especially cautious when taking public transportation,
and in crowded public areas such as markets, the State Department
Store, the Central Post Office, Gandan Monastery, and the so-called
Black Market. U.S. citizens who detect pickpocketing attempts
should not confront the thieves as they and their accomplices
may then become violent. Foreigners have also been robbed by thieves
dressed as or claiming to be police officers, especially in the
area of Sukhbaatar Square. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid
occasional protests and street demonstrations that can turn unruly.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the U.S. Embassy. Useful information
on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling
abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad. It is available from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
20402 or via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities in Mongolia are
very limited, and some medicines are unavailable. Infectious diseases,
such as plague and meningococcal meningitis, are present at various
times of the year. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization
and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands
of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate
payment for health services. For more information, please contact
the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar or the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention’s international travelers hotline (see next paragraph).
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. The U.S. Medicare and Medicaid
programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the
United States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas
may face extreme difficulties. Check with your own insurance company
to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, and whether it
provides for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will
be made to the overseas hospital or doctor, or whether you will
be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies
also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition
of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical
emergencies abroad is provided in the Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
our home page at http://travel.state.gov and autofax service at
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: For information on vaccinations
and other health precautions, travelers may call the toll-free
numbers of the international travelers hotline of the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention, 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747),
may use the CDC autofax service at 1-888-CDC-FAXX, (1-888-232-3299),
or may access the CDC home page on the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Mongolia is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Driving in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar can be extremely difficult
due to poorly maintained streets, malfunctioning traffic lights,
inadequate street lighting, and a shortage of traffic signs. There
has been a dramatic increase in the number of vehicles on the
road in recent years, but the knowledge and skills of the driving
population has not kept pace with the influx of automobiles. There
are now some taxis in town, but most people simply wave down a
vehicle and negotiate a price with the driver. There are no car
rental companies currently operating in Mongolia, but it is sometimes
possible to hire a car and driver. Public transportation within
the capital is extensive, cheap, and generally reliable, but is
also extremely crowded (see information on crime above). There
are few paved roads outside of the capital, and driving can be
hazardous, particularly after dark. For specific information concerning
Mongolian driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory
insurance, contact the Embassy of Mongolia at 2833 M Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20007, telephone: (202) 333-7117.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service at present, or economic authority to operate such
service, between the U.S. and Mongolia, the U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has not assessed Mongolia’s Civil Aviation
Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards
for oversight of Mongolia’s air carrier operations. For further
information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet web
site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 1-618-229-4801.
Mongolia has upgraded its aviation facilities and communications
and air traffic control capabilities. However, the U.S. Embassy
has reported some general safety and reliability concerns regarding
domestic flights operated by the national airline MIAT. The U.S.
Embassy does not prohibit its employees from utilizing MIAT, but
does encourage them to exercise prudence and good judgment when
boarding domestic flights. If Embassy employees observe potential
hazards, such as missing safety belts or passenger overcrowding,
they are advised to deplane and await another flight.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Importation of any firearm or ammunition
requires prior approval from the Government of Mongolia. For additional
information contact the Embassy of Mongolia at 2833 M Street,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20402, tel: (202) 333-7117.
CRIMINAL AND DRUG PENALTIES: While in a foreign country,
U.S. citizens are subject to that country’s laws and regulations,
which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United
States and do not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Mongolian law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or
imprisoned. In Mongolia, penalties for possession, use, or trafficking
in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
CURRENCY REGULATIONS: Traveler’s checks denominated in
dollars are accepted at some hotels and may be converted to dollars
or Tugriks at several banks. Credit cards can be used at a variety
of hotels, restaurants, and shops, almost exclusively in Ulaanbaatar.
Cash advances against credit cards are available at one commercial
bank and international bank wire transfers are also possible.
WINTER POWER SHORTAGES: Severe fuel shortages and problems
with central heating and electrical systems may cause seriously
reduced heating levels and power outages in Ulaanbaatar and the
cities of Darhan and Erdenet during the winter months of November
through April. Smaller towns in the countryside may have no heat
or electricity at all during these months. The U.S. Embassy advises
all American residents in Mongolia to be prepared to depart if
there is a complete energy failure.
ACCOMMODATIONS: The number of hotels in Ulaanbaatar and
of tourist-oriented facilities in the countryside has increased
sharply in recent years. Accommodations are readily available,
although many hotels may be fully booked during the peak tourist
month of July.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption
of children, international parental child abduction, please refer
to the Department of State Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
Embassy Location/Registration: U.S. citizens residing
in or visiting Mongolia are encouraged to register with the Consular
Section of the U.S. Embassy, located in Micro Region 11, Big Ring
Road, Ulaanbaatar, and to obtain updated information on travel
and security within Mongolia. The telephone number is (976)-1-329-095,
and the Embassy web site is http://www.us-mongolia.com.