Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
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.
Passengers of 18 years of age or older:
|Vehicle Engine (Cylinder) Capacity (in Cubic Centimeters or cc)||The Excise Duty (in USD)|
|0-3 years||4-6 years||7-9 years||10 years|
|1500 or under||500||1,000||1,000||6,000|
|1501 – 2500||1,500||2,000||3,000||7,000|
|2501 – 3500||2,000||2,500||4,000||8,000|
|3501 – 4500||4,500||5,000||6,500||10,500|
|4501 and over||7,000||7,500||9,000||13,000|
Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry.
Currency Import regulations:
Local currency (Mongolian Tugrik-MNT) and foreign currencies: no restrictions if declared on arrival.
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency (Mongolian Tugrik-MNT) and foreign currencies: up to the amount imported and declared.
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Airport Tax is levied on all passengers departing from Mongolia. Fee: USD 12.-.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to 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.
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 international commercial flights and rail are suspended until at least 31 March 2021. All road border crossings to and from Russia are closed to foreign nationals. Borders between China and Mongolia are closed.
The Mongolian government has indicated it may allow 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:
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. 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.
Any British nationals who need to extend their visas should contact the Immigration Agency of Mongolia, telephone +976 1800 1882 or +976 9314 1009.
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.
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.
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.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Mongolia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 2010 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.
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.
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