Living as an Expat in Mongolia

1. What are the visa requirements for expats living in Mongolia?

Visa requirements for expats living in Mongolia depend on various factors such as the purpose of stay and the expat’s nationality. Here are the general visa types and their requirements:

1. Tourist Visa: Expats planning to stay temporarily in Mongolia for tourism purposes usually need a tourist visa. This typically requires a valid passport, a completed visa application form, passport-sized photos, and proof of sufficient funds for the stay.

2. Work Visa: Expats intending to work in Mongolia must apply for a work visa. This often involves a job offer from a Mongolian employer, a health certificate, a criminal record check, and other documentation as required by the Mongolian Immigration Agency.

3. Business Visa: For expats conducting business activities in Mongolia, a business visa is necessary. Requirements may include an invitation letter from a Mongolian business entity, proof of business registration, and other relevant documents.

4. Residency Visa: Expats looking to live in Mongolia long-term may apply for a residency visa. This typically involves proof of accommodation, financial stability, health insurance, and other supporting documents.

It is important for expats to consult with the nearest Mongolian consulate or embassy to verify the specific visa requirements based on their individual circumstances. Additionally, the visa regulations in Mongolia can change, so staying updated on the latest requirements is essential for a smooth living experience as an expat in the country.

2. Can expats easily find accommodation in Mongolia?

Yes, expats can typically find accommodation in Mongolia, although the ease of finding suitable housing can vary depending on the specific city or region they are looking to reside in. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Rental options: Expats in Mongolia can choose from various types of accommodation, including apartments, houses, and serviced apartments. In Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, there is a decent range of housing options available, with prices varying based on location, size, and amenities.

2. Real estate agents: Working with a reputable real estate agent can help expats navigate the local rental market more effectively. These agents can help expats find properties that meet their requirements and budget, negotiate leases, and handle any language barriers that may arise.

3. Online platforms: Expats can also search for accommodation through online platforms such as local real estate websites, social media groups, and expat forums. These platforms can provide valuable insights into the current rental market and connect expats with landlords or property managers.

4. Budget considerations: It’s important for expats to consider their budget when looking for accommodation in Mongolia. Rental prices can vary widely depending on the area and the type of housing, so it’s essential to set a realistic budget and factor in additional costs such as utilities and maintenance fees.

Overall, while finding accommodation as an expat in Mongolia may require some research and effort, with the right approach and guidance, expats can secure a suitable place to live in the country.

3. What is the cost of living for expats in Mongolia?

The cost of living for expats in Mongolia can vary depending on their individual lifestyle choices and preferences, as well as the location in which they choose to reside. Overall, Mongolia is considered to be an affordable country for expats compared to many Western countries. Here are some key points to consider in terms of the cost of living for expats in Mongolia:

1. Housing: Rental prices in Mongolia can range significantly depending on the location and type of accommodation. In the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, expats can find a decent one-bedroom apartment for around $300 to $600 per month, while larger apartments or houses in upscale neighborhoods can cost significantly more.

2. Food and groceries: The cost of food and groceries in Mongolia is relatively affordable, especially if one shops at local markets and supermarkets. Basic food items like bread, rice, vegetables, and meat are reasonably priced, and dining out at local restaurants is also affordable compared to Western standards.

3. Transportation: Public transportation in Mongolia, such as buses and marshrutkas (shared vans), is inexpensive and a popular choice for getting around. Expats may also opt to own a car, which can be a significant expense due to the cost of purchasing and maintaining a vehicle, as well as gasoline prices.

4. Healthcare: Medical care in Mongolia can be affordable, especially at public hospitals and clinics. However, expats may choose to have private health insurance to cover potential healthcare costs, especially for more serious medical issues or emergencies.

5. Entertainment and leisure: The cost of entertainment and leisure activities in Mongolia can vary, but expats can enjoy affordable options such as visiting museums, attending cultural events, and exploring the beautiful natural landscapes the country has to offer.

Overall, while the cost of living for expats in Mongolia is generally lower than in many Western countries, it is important for expats to budget carefully and consider their individual expenses and lifestyle choices to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience living in the country.

4. What are the healthcare options available to expats in Mongolia?

Healthcare options available to expats in Mongolia may vary in quality and accessibility. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Public healthcare system: Mongolia has a universal healthcare system that provides basic medical services to citizens and residents, including expats. However, the quality of care in public hospitals and clinics can be inconsistent, and facilities may lack modern equipment and resources.

2. Private healthcare providers: Expats in Mongolia often rely on private hospitals and clinics for higher-quality medical care. These facilities typically have English-speaking staff and offer a wider range of services, including specialized treatments and consultations with foreign doctors.

3. Health insurance: Expats are advised to purchase comprehensive health insurance that covers medical treatments, hospital stays, and emergency evacuations in Mongolia. It is important to research and compare different insurance options to find a plan that best suits your needs and budget.

4. Medical evacuation services: In the event of a serious medical emergency, expats may need to be evacuated to a neighboring country with better medical facilities. Some insurance plans include coverage for medical evacuation, ensuring prompt and safe transportation in critical situations.

Overall, expats in Mongolia should carefully consider their healthcare needs and options to ensure access to quality medical services during their stay in the country.

5. How is the education system in Mongolia for expat children?

The education system in Mongolia for expat children can vary depending on the school they attend. Here are some key points to consider:

1. International Schools: Expats in Mongolia often prefer to enroll their children in international schools, where the curriculum is usually in English and follows a Western-style educational system. These schools offer a high standard of education and typically have qualified teachers from around the world.

2. Public Schools: Expat children can also attend public schools in Mongolia, where the curriculum is in Mongolian and the education system follows a different structure compared to Western countries. While public schools can provide a more immersive experience in the Mongolian culture and language, expat children may face challenges with the language barrier and different teaching methods.

3. Curriculum: International schools in Mongolia often offer internationally recognized qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). These qualifications can be advantageous for expat children who may need to transition back to their home country’s education system in the future.

4. Support Services: Some international schools in Mongolia may offer additional support services for expat children, such as English language classes or counseling services to help them adjust to a new cultural environment.

5. Overall, expat families in Mongolia have options when it comes to their children’s education, with international schools providing a more familiar and structured educational experience, while public schools offer a chance for cultural immersion. Ultimately, the choice of school will depend on the individual needs and preferences of the expat family.

6. What are the best cities or regions for expats to live in Mongolia?

1. Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, is often the top choice for expats due to its modern amenities, diverse international community, and job opportunities in sectors such as mining, finance, and development. It offers a range of international schools, restaurants, and medical facilities, making it a comfortable choice for expat families.

2. Darkhan is another popular city among expats, known for its relatively milder climate compared to Ulaanbaatar and its vibrant cultural scene. The city boasts a growing economy, particularly in manufacturing and agriculture, offering employment opportunities for expats looking to work outside of the capital.

3. For expats seeking a more tranquil lifestyle, regions such as Khuvsgul and Gorkhi-Terelj National Park can provide a peaceful retreat amidst stunning natural landscapes. These areas offer outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, and camping, allowing expats to immerse themselves in Mongolia’s natural beauty while still maintaining access to essential amenities.

Ultimately, the best city or region for expats in Mongolia will depend on individual preferences, career goals, and lifestyle priorities. It’s essential for expats to research each location thoroughly, consider factors such as climate, job prospects, healthcare options, and community support before making a decision on where to live in Mongolia.

7. How is the transportation system for expats in Mongolia?

The transportation system for expats in Mongolia can be challenging but manageable with some understanding of the local systems. Here are a few key points to consider:

1. Public transportation: The main mode of public transportation in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, is the bus system. While it can be crowded and unreliable at times, buses are a relatively affordable way to get around the city. Expats should familiarize themselves with the bus routes and schedules to navigate efficiently.

2. Taxis: Taxis are a popular option for expats in Mongolia, especially for those looking for more convenience and comfort. It is important to negotiate the fare with the driver beforehand, as some taxis do not have meters. It is also recommended to use reputable taxi companies to ensure safety.

3. Ride-sharing apps: Ride-sharing apps like Uber and local app services are becoming more popular in Ulaanbaatar, providing expats with a convenient and reliable way to travel around the city.

4. Private transportation: Some expats opt to purchase or rent their own vehicles for more freedom and flexibility in getting around Mongolia. However, it is important to familiarize oneself with local driving laws and customs, as traffic can be chaotic in some areas.

Overall, while the transportation system in Mongolia may not be as developed as in other countries, expats can still navigate the city with a combination of public transportation, taxis, ride-sharing apps, and private vehicles to suit their needs and preferences.

8. What are the cultural norms and customs that expats should be aware of in Mongolia?

As an expat living in Mongolia, it is important to be mindful of the cultural norms and customs prevalent in the country to better integrate into society and show respect to the local population. Some key cultural norms and customs expats should be aware of include:

1. Greetings: Mongolians have specific customs when it comes to greetings. It is common to greet others with a handshake, particularly in formal settings. In more informal situations, traditional Mongolian greetings involve a slight bow or nod of the head.

2. Hospitality: Hospitality is highly valued in Mongolian culture. It is customary to offer guests food and beverages, and it is considered rude to refuse such offerings. Additionally, when visiting someone’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift as a token of appreciation.

3. Respect for elders: Respect for elders is an integral part of Mongolian culture. Elders are esteemed in society, and it is essential to show them respect through gestures like standing when they enter a room or addressing them with appropriate titles.

4. Buddhist customs: Buddhism plays a significant role in Mongolian culture, and many customs and traditions are influenced by Buddhist beliefs. It is important to be respectful when visiting Buddhist temples and monasteries, such as removing hats and shoes before entering, and refraining from taking photos without permission.

5. Nomadic traditions: Mongolia has a rich nomadic heritage, and many traditional customs are still practiced today. Understanding and respecting the nomadic way of life, including customs related to herding and livestock, can help expats better appreciate and connect with the local culture.

Overall, by being mindful of these cultural norms and customs, expats can navigate social interactions in Mongolia with greater ease and show respect for the traditions and values of the local population.

9. How easy is it for expats to find employment opportunities in Mongolia?

Finding employment opportunities as an expat in Mongolia can vary depending on various factors. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Job Market: Mongolia’s job market is relatively small and competitive, with a focus on industries such as mining, agriculture, and tourism. Expats with skills and experience in these sectors may find it easier to secure employment.

2. Language Barrier: Mongolian is the official language, and while knowledge of the language is not always required for expat employment, it can be a significant advantage. English is also widely spoken in business settings.

3. Work Permits: Expats need a valid work permit to legally work in Mongolia. Employers are responsible for sponsoring work permits, so having a job offer lined up beforehand is crucial.

4. Networking: Building a strong professional network can be beneficial in finding job opportunities in Mongolia. Attending industry events, joining expat groups, and connecting with local professionals can help in this regard.

5. Cultural Understanding: Understanding the local business culture and customs can also enhance expats’ chances of finding employment. Demonstrating respect for Mongolian traditions and etiquette can impress potential employers.

6. Remote Work: With the rise of remote work opportunities, expats may also consider working for international companies while living in Mongolia. This can provide additional employment options.

In conclusion, while finding employment opportunities as an expat in Mongolia may not be as straightforward as in some other countries, it is possible with the right skills, networks, and understanding of the local job market. Expats who are proactive in their job search and willing to adapt to the local business environment can increase their chances of finding rewarding employment opportunities in Mongolia.

10. Are there any expat communities or social groups in Mongolia?

Yes, there are expat communities and social groups in Mongolia that can provide support, networking opportunities, and a sense of belonging for expatriates living in the country. Some of the ways expats can connect with others in Mongolia include:

1. Embassies and international organizations: Embassies often organize events and gatherings for expats living in Mongolia. Additionally, international organizations and chambers of commerce can be good sources of networking and community building.

2. Online expat forums and social media groups: Platforms like Internations,, and Facebook groups dedicated to expats in Mongolia are great places to connect with others, seek advice, and share experiences.

3. Nonprofit organizations and cultural centers: Some nonprofit organizations and cultural centers cater to the expat community in Mongolia, offering language classes, cultural events, and volunteer opportunities.

4. Expat bars and restaurants: Establishments popular among expats can be hubs for socializing and meeting others who are also living and working in Mongolia.

5. Sports clubs and hobby groups: Joining sports clubs, book clubs, or other hobby groups can be a great way to meet like-minded expats while pursuing shared interests.

Overall, these communities and groups can help expatriates navigate the challenges of living in a new country, make friends, and create a sense of home away from home.

11. What are the safety and security considerations for expats in Mongolia?

Safety and security considerations for expats in Mongolia are important to ensure a smooth and comfortable living experience in the country:

1. Crime: While Mongolia is generally considered safe, it is important for expats to exercise caution, particularly in crowded areas and at night. Pickpocketing and petty theft can occur in busy tourist areas, so vigilance is advised.

2. Traffic: Road safety can be a concern in Mongolia, with erratic driving behavior and limited adherence to traffic laws. Expats should be cautious when crossing roads and consider using reputable taxi services or hire a local driver to navigate the traffic.

3. Extreme Weather: Mongolia experiences harsh winters with extremely low temperatures, posing risks such as frostbite and hypothermia. Expats should be well-prepared with appropriate winter clothing and be mindful of weather forecasts to avoid getting caught in severe conditions.

4. Health Concerns: The quality of healthcare facilities in Mongolia may not meet international standards, especially outside of the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Expats are advised to have comprehensive health insurance and access to medical evacuation services in case of emergencies.

5. Political Stability: Mongolia has a relatively stable political environment, but expats should stay informed about any potential political unrest or demonstrations that may occur. It is advisable to avoid large gatherings and follow local news outlets for updates.

By keeping these safety and security considerations in mind, expats can better navigate their living experience in Mongolia and minimize potential risks or uncertainties.

12. How is the weather and climate in Mongolia for expats?

1. The weather and climate in Mongolia can vary significantly depending on the region you are in. Generally, Mongolia has a continental climate with very cold winters and hot summers. In the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, winters can be extremely harsh with temperatures dropping well below freezing, sometimes reaching -40 degrees Celsius. It is important for expats to be prepared for these frigid temperatures with appropriate clothing and heating arrangements.

2. Summers in Mongolia are relatively short but can be quite hot, with temperatures often exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. Expats should be ready for these temperature fluctuations and ensure they have adequate sun protection during the summer months.

3. The weather in Mongolia can also be quite unpredictable, with sudden changes and occasional sandstorms or blizzards. Expats should be prepared for these variations and stay informed about weather updates to plan accordingly.

4. Overall, adapting to the weather and climate in Mongolia as an expat can be challenging, but with the right preparation and mindset, it is certainly manageable. Embracing the unique seasons and weather patterns of Mongolia can be a fascinating experience for expats looking to immerse themselves in the local culture and lifestyle.

13. What are the best ways for expats to make local friends in Mongolia?

Making local friends as an expat in Mongolia can greatly enrich your experience living in the country. Here are some of the best ways to connect with locals:

1. Language Exchange: Learning Mongolian can greatly help in building relationships with locals. Consider joining language exchange groups or programs to practice your Mongolian skills while making new friends.

2. Attend Cultural Events: Participating in local cultural events and festivals can provide a great opportunity to connect with Mongolians who share an interest in their traditional customs and heritage.

3. Join Clubs or Groups: Joining sports clubs, hobby groups, or special interest clubs can help you meet like-minded individuals and establish friendships based on common interests.

4. Volunteer: Consider volunteering for local community projects or non-profit organizations. This not only allows you to give back to the community but also provides a chance to meet locals who are passionate about similar causes.

5. Socialize in Local Hangouts: Spend time in local cafes, restaurants, or bars frequented by Mongolians. Strike up conversations with the locals and be open to making new connections.

6. Explore the Outdoors: Mongolia’s stunning landscapes offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Joining hiking or camping trips can be a great way to bond with Mongolians who enjoy exploring nature.

7. Take Part in Traditional Activities: Engage in traditional Mongolian activities such as attending naadam festivals, trying out horseback riding, or learning traditional crafts like making felt. This can help you connect with locals who appreciate their cultural heritage.

8. Use Social Media: Utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or local apps favored by Mongolians to connect with individuals in your area. Online communities can be a great way to meet new people and make friends.

By actively engaging in the local community, showing genuine interest in Mongolian culture, and being open to new experiences, expats can create meaningful connections and friendships with locals in Mongolia.

14. How is the food and dining scene in Mongolia for expats?

The food and dining scene in Mongolia can be quite unique and varied for expats. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Traditional Mongolian cuisine is centered around meat, particularly mutton and beef, along with dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. For expats who enjoy meat-based dishes, there are plenty of options available.

2. However, for expats who have dietary restrictions or preferences, it can be more challenging to find a variety of cuisine options. In recent years, international restaurants and cafes in larger cities like Ulaanbaatar have been on the rise, offering a broader range of choices including Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Western-style dishes.

3. The dining experience in Mongolia can also be different from what expats may be used to in their home countries. Traditional Mongolian restaurants often feature large communal dishes where diners share food from a central plate, which may be a new experience for some expats.

4. Overall, while the food and dining scene in Mongolia may require some adjustment for expats, there are options available to suit a variety of tastes. Expats can enjoy trying traditional Mongolian dishes while also exploring international cuisine in the larger cities.

15. Are there any language barriers for expats living in Mongolia?

1. Yes, language barriers can be a significant challenge for expats living in Mongolia. The official language is Mongolian, which uses the Cyrillic script. This can be difficult for expats who are not familiar with the language or script.
2. While English is becoming more widely spoken, especially in urban areas and among the younger population, it may still be limited outside of certain environments such as international schools or expat communities.
3. Learning at least some basic Mongolian can greatly help expats navigate daily life, interactions, and emergencies. Many locals appreciate the effort expats make to learn their language.
4. Expats working in Mongolia may also encounter language barriers in professional settings, as business meetings and contracts are often conducted in Mongolian.
5. Some expats opt to hire interpreters or language tutors to assist with communication and language learning. It is recommended to be proactive in overcoming language barriers in order to fully integrate into the local society and culture.

16. What are the best ways for expats to integrate into the local community in Mongolia?

Integrating into the local community in Mongolia as an expat can be a rewarding experience, but it requires effort and an open mind. Here are some of the best ways for expats to integrate into the local community in Mongolia:

1. Learn the language: Mongolian is the official language, and while English is spoken in major cities, knowing some Mongolian will go a long way in building relationships and showing respect for the local culture.

2. Embrace the culture: Take the time to learn about Mongolian customs, traditions, and social norms. Participate in local festivals, try traditional foods, and dress appropriately for different occasions.

3. Connect with locals: Make an effort to meet and interact with Mongolians through community events, clubs, or volunteer opportunities. Building personal connections is key to integrating into the local community.

4. Respect local customs: Show respect for Mongolian etiquette, such as removing your shoes when entering someone’s home or addressing elders with proper titles. Being mindful of cultural norms will help you navigate social interactions more smoothly.

5. Explore the country: Take the time to travel around Mongolia and explore its beautiful landscapes, historical sites, and nomadic lifestyle. By immersing yourself in the country’s rich heritage, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the local culture and people.

6. Be open-minded and flexible: Living in a new country can be challenging, but approaching the experience with an open mind and a willingness to adapt to new ways of living will help you integrate into the local community more effectively.

By actively engaging with the local culture, connecting with Mongolians, and being respectful of traditions, expats can successfully integrate into the vibrant community of Mongolia.

17. What recreational and cultural activities are available for expats in Mongolia?

1. Mongolia offers a wide range of recreational and cultural activities for expats to enjoy during their time in the country. One popular activity for expats is exploring the rich cultural heritage of Mongolia by visiting museums, art galleries, and historical sites such as the Gandantegchinlen Monastery and the National Museum of Mongolia.

2. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for activities such as hiking, camping, and horseback riding in Mongolia’s stunning natural landscapes, including the Gobi Desert, Khuvsgul Lake, and the Terelj National Park.

3. For those interested in experiencing traditional Mongolian culture, attending local festivals and events such as Naadam, the annual national festival featuring the Three Manly Games of archery, wrestling, and horse racing, can provide a unique insight into the country’s customs and traditions.

4. Additionally, expats can take part in cultural workshops and classes to learn traditional Mongolian crafts such as felt making, horse-head fiddle playing, and throat singing.

5. Socializing with the local community through language exchange meetups, cultural exchange programs, and volunteering opportunities can also provide expats with a deeper understanding of Mongolian culture and help them form connections with locals.

Overall, expats in Mongolia have a wealth of recreational and cultural activities to choose from, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the vibrant and diverse culture of the country.

18. How is the internet and communication infrastructure in Mongolia for expats?

The internet and communication infrastructure in Mongolia for expats has significantly improved in recent years, with more reliable and faster connections available in major cities like Ulaanbaatar. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Internet Speeds: While internet speeds in Mongolia may not be as fast as in some Western countries, they are generally sufficient for most expats’ needs, especially in urban areas.

2. Mobile Network Coverage: Mobile network coverage is widespread across the country, with major operators like Mobicom, Unitel, and Skytel providing good service in both urban and rural areas.

3. Wi-Fi Availability: Many cafes, restaurants, and co-working spaces in Ulaanbaatar offer free Wi-Fi, making it easy for expats to stay connected while on the go.

4. Cost of Internet: The cost of internet services in Mongolia is relatively affordable, especially when compared to prices in Western countries.

5. Connectivity Challenges: While the internet infrastructure in urban areas is generally reliable, expats living in more remote regions of Mongolia may experience occasional connectivity challenges.

Overall, expats in Mongolia can expect decent internet and communication infrastructure, particularly in major cities where services are more developed. It’s always a good idea to research internet providers and opt for a reliable one to ensure a smooth expat experience.

19. Are there any specific challenges that expats may face while living in Mongolia?

Yes, expats in Mongolia may face specific challenges due to the country’s unique cultural, geographical, and economic factors. Some of these challenges include:

1. Language barrier: Mongolian is the official language and not widely spoken outside the country. Expats may find it challenging to communicate with locals and navigate their daily activities.

2. Harsh climate: Mongolia experiences extreme weather conditions, with very cold winters and hot summers. Expats may struggle to adapt to the climate, especially in rural areas with limited infrastructure.

3. Limited infrastructure: Infrastructure in Mongolia, especially outside of the capital city Ulaanbaatar, can be underdeveloped. Basic amenities such as healthcare facilities, transportation networks, and reliable internet access may be lacking in some regions.

4. Cultural differences: Mongolia has a unique cultural heritage, influenced by its nomadic lifestyle and history. Expats may face challenges in understanding and adapting to local customs, traditions, and social norms.

5. Limited expat community: Compared to other expat destinations, Mongolia has a smaller expat community, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness for some individuals.

Overall, while living in Mongolia can be a rewarding experience, expats should be prepared to face these challenges and approach them with an open mind and a willingness to adapt to a new way of life.

20. What are some tips for a successful and fulfilling expat experience in Mongolia?

To have a successful and fulfilling expat experience in Mongolia, consider the following tips:

1. Learn the Language: While many Mongolians in urban areas speak English, knowing some basic Mongolian phrases can greatly enhance your experience and help you connect with locals on a deeper level.

2. Embrace the Culture: Mongolia has a rich and unique culture that is worth exploring. Take the time to participate in traditional events, try local cuisine, and engage with cultural practices to broaden your understanding and appreciation of the country.

3. Build Relationships: Developing strong relationships with both expats and locals can provide you with a support network and a sense of community while living abroad. Attend expat gatherings, join clubs or organizations, and make an effort to connect with people from different backgrounds.

4. Be Flexible and Patient: Living in a different country comes with its own set of challenges and cultural differences. Being flexible, patient, and open-minded will help you navigate any obstacles that may arise and adapt to your new environment more easily.

5. Explore the Country: Mongolia is a vast and beautiful country with diverse landscapes ranging from deserts to mountains to grasslands. Take advantage of your time there to explore different regions, go on road trips, and experience all that the country has to offer.

By following these tips, you can enhance your expat experience in Mongolia and create lasting memories while living in this unique and fascinating country.