Due to its size and poorly developed infrastructure, travelling around Mongolia can be quite a time-consuming effort. Extending your Mongolian visa is therefore almost a necessity if you want to experience all that Mongolia has to offer. The process is not that complicated, but figuring out the where and how can be a challenge. Don’t worry, I’m here to help!
For travellers of the following nationalities, travel to Mongolia doesn’t require a visa:
90 Days Visa-free: Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macao, Serbia, Ukraine (with invitation), USA.
30 Days Visa-free: Canada, Cuba, Germany, Israel, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay.
21 Days Visa-free: Phillipines.
14-Days Visa-free: Hong Kong
Keep in mind that you still need to register with the Immigration Office when staying for more than 30 days!
Extending a Mongolian Visa
Getting things done in Mongolia can be somewhat of a challenge, partly due to the lack of concrete information available to travellers. The process of extending your Mongolian visa is no exception. Therefore it is important to keep in mind the following:
If you have a 30-day tourist visa or are staying for less than 30 days, you don’t need to register.
You are officially required to register with the Immigration Office if you decide to stay for more than 30 days. This also applies to travellers with visa-free status or with a visa for more than 30 days! When registering, you can choose to extend your stay using the same form.
Apply for your extension within 7 days of your arrival in Mongolia. There are sources that claim that this isn’t necessary anymore, and that you can apply anytime up to 4 days before your Mongolian visa expires. While this might be true, I haven’t been able to verify this information. Apply within 7 days of your arrival, just to be safe.
Some officials might point out that it is easier to just overextend your stay and pay the appropriate fine when leaving Mongolia. While this might be easier, there is a risk involved. For all you know the rules might change someday, leaving you with significantly higher fines or worse sanctions! Just apply for an extension by following the steps in this guide!
Extend your Mongolian visa in Ulaanbaatar
In Ulaanbaatar, the place you’ll need is the Mongolian Immigration Office located near Chinggis Khaan International airport.
The address is: Service Hall 1882, Buyant-Ukhaa, 10th Khoroo, Khan-Uul District, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Opening hours are from 09.00-13.00 and 14.00-17.00.
It is quite a way outside the city, so if you don’t have private transportation I advise you to take the bus. Bus number 7 goes all the way to the airport and back. Get on at the Bayangol bus stop along Chinggis Khaan Avenue. Get off after the large roundabout when you see the Sports Arena on the left side of the road, and walk down a dirt road on the east side of this arena. You should see a large sign saying “Mongolia Immigration” on the side of the building you’re looking for.
When using buses in Ulaanbaatar, you need a ‘U-money Card’. This is a smart card that can be purchased for 3500 Tugrik, and topped up with credit. A single bus ride will deduct 500 Tugrik from the card when scanning it on entering the bus. You can buy the U-money Card from kiosks at all the major bus stops.
You can also take a taxi (basically wave down any car). This should cost you around 1000-2000 Tugrik per kilometre. The driver might charge you more because you are a foreigner, so be sure to agree on a price you’re comfortable with before setting off!
How much does extending your Mongolian visa cost?
To extend your Mongolian visa for 7 days, you will have to pay 27.000 Tugrik. For each additional day, you’ll pay 3.600 Tugrik. When extending, you automatically register as well, this costs 2.000 Tugrik.
This is the hard part. A visit to he Immigration Office is an exercise in Mongolian bureaucracy, where the summer months can be especially busy and confusing. Make sure you get here on time! The people here speak English pretty well, so you should have no problems with a language barrier.
Be sure to bring with you:
- Your passport. Must be valid for least 6 more months.
- A copy of your passport and visa. The staff at the Immigration Office can also make a copy for you.
- A passport photo (3,5 x 4,5 cm)
- An explanation letter of your reason to extend. This is usually cited as being necessary, but from personal experience I found this to be not necessary at all. The registration/extension form has a section where you can enter your reasons for extending your visa.
Here is a step-by-step guide to extending your Mongolian visa:
- Find the information desk.
Enter the building and take a left at the end of the lobby. This is the visa registration office. Go to the information desk on your right (as you enter the room) and ask for a registration form. The people at this desk can also make a photocopy of your passport and visa if necessary.
- Fill in the registration form.
Fill in the form. Make sure to indicate you’re extending your visa and enter the right amount of days you wish to extend for. When entering your reasons for extending, just keep it simple! State you need more time to travel the country, for example. Glue your passport photo to the top right of the form. There should be glue sticks and scissors on every table.
- Pay the fee.
If you’re from a country with a visa-free status, you don’t need to pay unless you plan on staying longer than your visa-free days.
There is a bank office located in the same building, down the hall from the visa office. Go to the bank clerk and tell him/her you wish to pay for an extension of (…) days. The price depends on the amount of days you wish to extend for. Complete the payment in cash or credit card, and receive a number of receipts. Save these receipts! You’ll need them for the application.
- Apply for your extension.
Take a number at the entrance of the visa registration office. Wait for your number to be displayed above the registration desk(*). When your number is called, go to the desk and hand in your completed registration form, your passport, passport and visa copies and your bank receipts. They will take these documents and start processing them.
Depending on how busy the Immigration Office is, this might take anywhere between twenty minutes and five hours. This is why you should be here on time! Stay in the visa office’s waiting area to hear your name being called! If you’re only registering (for visa-free travellers staying longer than 30 days, for example) you don’t need to wait.
- Collect your passport.
When your name is called go collect your passport, now (hopefully) decorated with an extension stamp!
(*) There is an aspect to Mongolian culture called the ‘Mongolian Scramble’. This is where instead of lining up in a queue, Mongolians will just gather in front of a desk or door and push past each other to get served or to get inside. When the Immigration Office gets busy, you might experience this first-hand. Don’t take offence when you are waiting for your number to be called, only to have someone cut in front of you. This is just the way things are done here, getting angry won’t solve anything! Just adapt to local customs and scramble along! Only do this when it’s really busy, though.
Some of the better guesthouses will help you with the extension process. Ask if they offer this service when booking your accommodation. This will cost you extra, and you will have to accompany them to the Immigration Office. At least they’ll drive you there and guide you through the process!
There is another Immigration Office in Olgii, in western Mongolia. Find it on “Энх тайваны гудамж” street, on the corner with “Зуха баатарын гудамж” street on south side of the big square. Extension applications will take longer here, probably days instead of hours! You must also provide them with the reason you apply here instead of Ulaanbaatar (You are cycling or otherwise not planning to go to Ulaanbaatar, for example).
Planning on applying for your Mongolian visa in Bangkok? Take a look at my quick guide!