Moving to Mongolia

1. What are the visa requirements for moving to Mongolia?

1. Visa requirements for moving to Mongolia vary depending on the purpose of your visit, the duration of your stay, and your nationality. As a general guideline, tourists from many countries can enter Mongolia visa-free for up to 30 days. However, for longer stays, work purposes, or other specific reasons, a visa may be required. It is advisable to check the most up-to-date information on the official website of the Mongolian Immigration Agency or to consult with the nearest Mongolian consulate or embassy in your country to determine the specific visa requirements for your situation.

2. For those who do require a visa, typical documents needed may include a completed visa application form, a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining, a passport-sized photo, proof of accommodation in Mongolia, proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay, and a return flight ticket. Additionally, depending on your purpose of visit, you may need to provide additional documentation such as a letter of invitation from a Mongolian host, a work permit for employment purposes, or proof of enrollment from a recognized educational institution for students.

3. It is essential to submit your visa application well in advance of your intended travel dates to allow for processing time, which can vary depending on the type of visa and the volume of applications. Failure to comply with the visa requirements could result in denied entry or complications upon arrival in Mongolia. Therefore, thorough research and careful preparation are key to ensuring a smooth and hassle-free relocation to Mongolia in terms of visa requirements.

2. Can foreigners own property in Mongolia?

Yes, foreigners are allowed to own property in Mongolia. There are some restrictions and guidelines that should be followed by foreign individuals or entities looking to purchase real estate in Mongolia. Here are some key points to keep in mind regarding foreign ownership of property in Mongolia:

1. Foreigners are generally allowed to buy and own immovable property, such as land and buildings, in Mongolia, though there are some restrictions in place for certain areas, such as border regions and certain strategic locations.
2. Foreign ownership of agricultural land is restricted in Mongolia, with non-residents or non-Mongolian incorporated entities not being allowed to own agricultural land unless special permission is granted by the government.
3. The process of buying property in Mongolia as a foreigner involves some paperwork and legal procedures, so it is advisable to seek guidance from a reliable real estate agent or legal advisor familiar with the local regulations.

Overall, while there are certain restrictions and guidelines in place, foreigners can own property in Mongolia under the established legal framework.

3. What are the best cities or regions to live in Mongolia?

1. Ulaanbaatar is the capital city of Mongolia and the largest urban center in the country. It offers the most amenities, cultural activities, and job opportunities compared to other cities. However, the city can be quite polluted, crowded, and traffic-congested. The central district of Sukhbaatar is considered the most desirable area to live in Ulaanbaatar due to its central location and proximity to various services and facilities.

2. Darkhan is another city that is popular among expats and foreigners living in Mongolia. It is the second-largest city in the country and offers a more relaxed lifestyle compared to Ulaanbaatar. Darkhan has a lower cost of living and less pollution, making it an attractive option for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital.

3. Erdenet is a city known for its mining industry and is considered one of the most developed cities in Mongolia. It has a relatively modern infrastructure and amenities, making it a comfortable place to live. The city is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, providing residents with the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.

Overall, the best cities or regions to live in Mongolia would depend on individual preferences and priorities. Factors to consider when choosing a city to live in Mongolia include job opportunities, cost of living, quality of life, and access to amenities and services.

4. What is the cost of living like in Mongolia?

The cost of living in Mongolia can vary depending on the city you choose to live in and your lifestyle preferences. To provide a general overview, here are some typical costs in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city:

1. Housing: Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost between $300 to $600 per month, while outside the city center, the cost may be slightly lower.

2. Food: Basic groceries for one person might cost around $150 to $200 per month. Eating out at local restaurants can range from $5 to $15 per meal, depending on the establishment.

3. Transportation: Public transportation in Ulaanbaatar is relatively affordable, with bus fares starting at around $0.30. Taxis are also a common mode of transportation, with average fares starting at $2.

4. Utilities: Monthly utility bills for a typical apartment can range from $50 to $100, depending on your usage of electricity, water, heating, and internet.

Overall, the cost of living in Mongolia is considered to be lower compared to many Western countries. However, expenses can vary greatly based on your lifestyle choices, such as dining out frequently, choosing luxury accommodation, or owning a car. It is advisable to create a budget based on your specific needs and conduct thorough research before making the move.

5. How is the healthcare system in Mongolia for expats?

The healthcare system in Mongolia for expats can vary depending on individual circumstances and specific needs. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Public healthcare in Mongolia is generally provided by the government through hospitals and clinics. However, the quality of care, availability of services, and facilities can vary across different regions of the country.

2. Expats living in Mongolia may choose to access private healthcare services, which often provide higher quality care and more English-speaking staff. Private hospitals and clinics in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, offer a range of medical services including general practice, specialist consultations, and emergency care.

3. It is important for expats to have comprehensive health insurance coverage that includes medical evacuation and repatriation in case of serious illness or injury. This will ensure access to the best possible medical care in Mongolia or abroad if necessary.

4. Language barriers can be a challenge when seeking medical treatment in Mongolia, so it is advisable to have a local translator or interpreter assist with appointments and communication with healthcare providers.

5. Overall, while the healthcare system in Mongolia may not be as advanced as in some Western countries, expats can access adequate medical care, especially in urban centers like Ulaanbaatar. It is important to research healthcare options, understand local practices, and ensure proper insurance coverage to ensure peace of mind while living in Mongolia.

6. What are the best ways to find accommodation in Mongolia?

When looking for accommodation in Mongolia, there are several effective ways to find the best options:

1. Online Platforms: Utilize websites and platforms such as Airbnb, Booking.com, or local Mongolian real estate websites to search for available properties. These platforms often provide a variety of choices ranging from apartments to traditional ger camps.

2. Local Real Estate Agents: Contacting local real estate agents or agencies can help in finding suitable accommodation options according to your preferences and budget. They can provide you with insider knowledge and help negotiate terms with landlords.

3. Word of Mouth: Networking with locals or expats who are already living in Mongolia can be beneficial. They might have recommendations for good neighborhoods or specific properties to consider.

4. Social Media: Join expat groups or community forums on social media platforms like Facebook or Reddit. These groups often have housing listings or useful advice for newcomers.

5. Short-Term Rentals: If you are unsure about a permanent living situation, consider opting for short-term rentals like guesthouses or serviced apartments. This allows you the flexibility to explore different areas before committing to a long-term lease.

6. Local Newspapers or Noticeboards: In some cases, checking out local newspapers or community noticeboards can also reveal rental listings that might not be advertised online.

By exploring these avenues, you’ll increase your chances of finding suitable accommodation in Mongolia that meets your needs and preferences.

7. Is it easy to find work as an expat in Mongolia?

Finding work as an expat in Mongolia can be challenging, but not impossible. The job market in Mongolia is relatively small and competitive, with certain industries such as mining, finance, and education offering the most opportunities for expats. Here are some factors to consider when looking for work as an expat in Mongolia:

1. Networking: Building professional relationships and connections in Mongolia is vital for finding job opportunities. Attending networking events, joining expat groups, and leveraging social media platforms can help you connect with potential employers.

2. Language skills: While many international companies in Mongolia operate in English, having some knowledge of the local language, Mongolian, can be advantageous when applying for jobs.

3. Work permits: Expats will need a work permit to legally work in Mongolia. It is important to ensure that you have the necessary documentation before seeking employment in the country.

4. Cultural understanding: Understanding and respecting the local customs and cultural practices in Mongolia can help expats navigate the job market more effectively and build relationships with local colleagues.

5. Flexibility: Being open to different job opportunities and industries can increase your chances of finding work in Mongolia as an expat. Being flexible with job preferences and expectations may lead to unexpected opportunities.

Overall, while it may not be easy to find work as an expat in Mongolia, with patience, persistence, and the right approach, expats can secure fulfilling job opportunities in the country.

8. What is the education system like in Mongolia for expat children?

The education system in Mongolia for expat children can vary depending on the city and school they attend. Generally, expat children have the option to attend international schools or local Mongolian schools. International schools in Mongolia offer curriculums from various countries such as the UK, USA, or the International Baccalaureate program, providing a familiar education system for expat children. These schools often have bilingual programs and a diverse student body, which can ease the transition for expat children. On the other hand, attending local Mongolian schools can provide a more immersive cultural experience but may present language barriers and differences in teaching styles. Parents should carefully consider their child’s needs and preferences when selecting an education option in Mongolia.

9. How safe is Mongolia for expats?

Mongolia is considered a relatively safe country for expats by many standards. However, it’s important for individuals moving to Mongolia to keep certain safety considerations in mind:

1. Crime Rate: Mongolia has a low crime rate compared to many other countries, with violent crime being rare in major cities. Expats should still take common sense precautions to ensure their safety, such as avoiding walking alone at night in dimly lit areas and being cautious in crowded public places.

2. Driving Safety: Road safety can be a concern in Mongolia due to poor road conditions and aggressive driving behaviors. Expats should exercise caution when driving or consider using public transportation or hiring a driver.

3. Health and Medical Care: Mongolia’s healthcare system may not meet the standards that expats are accustomed to in their home countries. It’s advisable for expats to have comprehensive health insurance coverage and access to reputable medical facilities.

4. Political Stability: Mongolia is generally politically stable, but expats should stay informed about any potential political developments or civil unrest that may impact their safety.

5. Natural Disasters: Mongolia is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and severe winters (dzuds). Expats should be prepared and have emergency plans in place in case of such events.

Overall, while Mongolia is relatively safe for expats, it is essential for individuals relocating to the country to familiarize themselves with local safety practices and potential risks to ensure a smooth and secure transition.

10. What is the best way to transfer money to Mongolia?

The best way to transfer money to Mongolia will depend on various factors such as the speed of transfer, cost, convenience, and the amount of money being transferred. Here are some of the most commonly used methods for transferring money to Mongolia:

1. Bank Transfer: One of the most secure and reliable ways to send money to Mongolia is through a bank transfer. You can initiate an international wire transfer from your bank account to a Mongolian bank account. However, it’s essential to consider potential fees and exchange rates that your bank and the receiving bank may charge.

2. Online Money Transfer Services: Platforms like Wise (formerly TransferWise), PayPal, and Skrill are popular options for transferring money internationally. These services often offer competitive exchange rates and lower fees compared to traditional banks.

3. Remittance Services: Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram have a widespread network of agents in Mongolia, making it convenient for recipients to collect cash quickly. However, these services may have higher fees and less favorable exchange rates.

4. Cryptocurrency Transfers: Utilizing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin for international money transfers to Mongolia can provide faster transfer speeds and potentially lower fees. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the volatility of cryptocurrency prices.

Before choosing a method to transfer money to Mongolia, you should compare exchange rates, fees, transfer speeds, and security measures to select the option that best suits your needs. Additionally, consider any legal requirements and regulations related to international money transfers to ensure a smooth and compliant transaction.

11. What are the cultural considerations for expats moving to Mongolia?

When considering moving to Mongolia as an expat, it is crucial to take into account several cultural considerations to ensure a smooth transition and integration into the local society.

1. Respect for Traditions: Mongolia has a rich cultural heritage with deep-rooted traditions such as the nomadic lifestyle, respect for elders, and strong family values. Expats should show respect for these traditions to gain acceptance and build positive relationships within the community.

2. Language: Although English is increasingly spoken in urban areas, learning the Mongolian language can greatly enhance communication and show respect for the local culture. Making an effort to speak some basic Mongolian phrases can go a long way in fostering relationships with locals.

3. Social Etiquette: Mongolians place a high value on hospitality and generosity. It is customary to offer and accept gifts with both hands, remove shoes before entering someone’s home, and show respect towards religious sites such as temples and monasteries.

4. Personal Space: Mongolians tend to value personal space and may not be as physically affectionate as in some other cultures. It is important to be conscious of personal boundaries and respectful of individual space when interacting with locals.

5. Dress Code: In more traditional settings, modesty is valued, and both men and women are expected to dress conservatively. Expats should be mindful of local dress norms and adapt their attire accordingly to show respect for the culture.

6. Communication Style: Mongolians value indirect communication and may not always express their opinions openly. It is important to be patient, listen actively, and read between the lines to understand the nuances of communication in social and professional settings.

By being aware of and respecting these cultural considerations, expats moving to Mongolia can successfully navigate the intricacies of the local culture and make meaningful connections in their new environment.

12. How difficult is it to learn the Mongolian language?

Learning the Mongolian language can be challenging for English speakers due to its complex grammar structure and unfamiliar sounds. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating the difficulty of learning Mongolian:

1. Grammar: Mongolian grammar is quite different from English, with a system of suffixes and prefixes that change the meaning of words. Verbs are conjugated based on tense, mood, and aspect, which can be tricky to master.

2. Alphabet: Mongolian uses the Cyrillic alphabet with additional characters unique to the language. While it may seem daunting at first, mastering the alphabet is essential for reading and writing in Mongolian.

3. Pronunciation: Mongolian has distinct sounds that may not exist in English, such as vowel harmony and consonant clusters. Pronouncing words correctly can be a significant challenge for beginners.

4. Vocabulary: Building a strong vocabulary in Mongolian requires memorizing new words and understanding their usage in different contexts. Additionally, there may be limited resources available for learning Mongolian compared to more widely spoken languages.

Despite these challenges, learning Mongolian can be a rewarding experience for those interested in the country’s rich culture and history. Persistence, practice, and immersion in the language are essential for overcoming the difficulties in learning Mongolian.

13. What are the transportation options like in Mongolia?

Transportation options in Mongolia can vary depending on the region and infrastructure availability. Here are some common transportation options available in Mongolia:

1. Public buses: Public buses are available in major cities such as Ulaanbaatar, offering a cost-effective way to get around.

2. Minibuses: Minibuses are a popular mode of transportation, especially for shorter distances within cities or between towns.

3. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in urban areas and can be a convenient option for getting around, although prices may vary.

4. Rental cars: Renting a car is a great option for exploring more remote regions of Mongolia, offering flexibility and independence.

5. Private drivers: Hiring a private driver is another common option for traveling longer distances or exploring the countryside.

6. Horse or camel riding: In rural areas, especially in the countryside, horse or camel riding is still a traditional mode of transportation.

7. Motorcycles or scooters: Motorcycles or scooters are also popular in Mongolia, offering a more agile way to navigate through urban areas or rural landscapes.

It’s important to note that road conditions in Mongolia can vary, with some areas having unpaved roads and rough terrain. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the most suitable transportation option based on your destination and travel preferences.

14. What are some common expat challenges faced when moving to Mongolia?

Moving to Mongolia as an expat can come with its own set of challenges. Some common expat challenges faced when relocating to Mongolia include:

1. Language barrier: Mongolian is the official language in Mongolia, and while English is increasingly spoken in urban areas, communication can still be difficult, especially in more rural parts of the country.

2. Cultural differences: Mongolia has a unique cultural heritage that can be quite different from what expats are accustomed to. Understanding and adapting to local customs and traditions can be a challenge.

3. Harsh climate: Mongolia experiences extreme weather conditions with very cold winters and hot summers. Adjusting to the climate, especially for expats coming from milder regions, can be challenging.

4. Limited infrastructure: While urban centers like Ulaanbaatar have modern amenities, infrastructure in more remote areas can be basic. Access to healthcare, transportation, and other essential services may be limited outside major cities.

5. Bureaucracy: Dealing with administrative procedures, obtaining visas, and navigating local regulations can be time-consuming and complex for expats, especially if they are not familiar with the local system.

6. Isolation: Mongolia is a vast country with low population density, which can lead to feelings of isolation, especially for expats living in rural areas. Building a social network and support system may take time.

7. Pollution: Ulaanbaatar is known for its severe air pollution during the winter months, largely due to coal burning for heating. This can have an impact on expats’ health and quality of life.

By being aware of these challenges and taking proactive steps to address them, expats can successfully navigate their move to Mongolia and enjoy all that this unique country has to offer.

15. How is the internet and communication infrastructure in Mongolia?

The internet and communication infrastructure in Mongolia has been steadily improving in recent years. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Internet Penetration: Mongolia has seen significant growth in internet penetration rates, with a high percentage of the population now having access to the internet.
2. Mobile Usage: Mobile phones are widely used in Mongolia, with many people relying on their mobile devices for internet access.
3. 4G Coverage: Mongolia has relatively good 4G coverage in urban areas, allowing for fast and reliable internet connections.
4. Rural Areas: While internet access is more limited in rural areas, efforts are being made to expand coverage and improve connectivity in these regions.
5. Broadband Infrastructure: Mongolia has been investing in improving its broadband infrastructure, with efforts to increase speed and reliability of internet connections.
6. Communication Networks: Mongolia has a well-developed communication network, with both landline and mobile phone services widely available.
7. International Connections: Mongolia is connected to international communication networks, allowing for global connectivity and communication.

Overall, Mongolia’s internet and communication infrastructure is continually evolving and expanding to meet the needs of its population, and efforts are being made to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas.

16. What are the best ways to meet other expats in Mongolia?

Meeting other expats in Mongolia can greatly enhance your experience living in the country. Here are some of the best ways to connect with fellow expatriates:

1. Expat Community Events: Attend social gatherings, networking events, and cultural celebrations organized by expat groups in Mongolia. These events provide an excellent opportunity to meet new people and build a strong expat community.

2. Online Forums and Social Media: Join expat forums and social media groups dedicated to Mongolia. Platforms like InterNations, Expat.com, and Facebook groups are popular among expats in Mongolia and can be a great way to connect with others, ask questions, and share experiences.

3. Language Exchange Meetups: Participate in language exchange meetups to meet locals and other expats who are interested in learning new languages. This can be a fun and interactive way to make new friends and practice your language skills.

4. Expatriate Clubs and Associations: Join expat clubs or associations in Mongolia that cater to specific nationalities or interests. These clubs often organize social events, sports activities, and cultural outings, providing a platform to meet like-minded individuals.

5. Attend Workshops and Classes: Enroll in workshops, classes, or skill-sharing sessions that interest you. This can be a great way to meet expats with similar hobbies or professional interests and expand your social network in Mongolia.

By actively engaging in these avenues, you can create a supportive network of expats in Mongolia, foster friendships, and make your transition to living in the country smoother and more enjoyable.

17. What are the shopping and dining options like in Mongolia for expats?

Shopping and dining options for expats in Mongolia can vary depending on the city or town they are residing in. In the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, expats will find a range of shopping malls, markets, and supermarkets that offer a variety of both domestic and imported goods. Retail chains like State Department Store and Nomin are popular options for clothing, electronics, and household items. There are also many local markets where one can find fresh produce, traditional clothing, and handmade crafts.

When it comes to dining, expats in Mongolia will have the opportunity to sample a mix of traditional Mongolian cuisine and international fare. Local dishes such as buuz (steamed dumplings), khorkhog (meat and vegetable stew), and tsuivan (noodle dish) are popular options to try. Additionally, there are a growing number of international restaurants in Ulaanbaatar offering cuisines from around the world, including Korean, Japanese, Indian, and Western-style eateries.

Overall, expats in Mongolia should have no trouble finding shopping and dining options that cater to their preferences and needs. It’s always a good idea to explore local markets and traditional establishments to fully immerse oneself in the unique culture and flavors of Mongolia.

18. What are the best ways to adapt to the climate in Mongolia?

Adapting to the climate in Mongolia can be challenging, as the country experiences extreme temperatures and varying weather conditions throughout the year. Here are some of the best ways to adapt to the climate in Mongolia:

1. Dress appropriately: Layering is key in Mongolia as temperatures can vary significantly between day and night. It’s important to wear warm clothing, including thermal underlayers, hats, gloves, and scarves during the cold winter months. In the summer, lightweight and breathable clothing is essential to stay cool.

2. Stay hydrated: The climate in Mongolia is generally dry, so it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle with you, especially when traveling or engaging in outdoor activities.

3. Protect yourself from the sun: Mongolia has high UV radiation levels, so it’s crucial to protect your skin from the sun. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to avoid sunburn and skin damage.

4. Acclimate gradually: If you are not used to the extreme temperatures in Mongolia, it’s important to acclimate gradually. Give your body time to adjust to the climate by taking it easy at first and avoiding strenuous activities until you feel more comfortable.

5. Use humidifiers: In the winter months, the air in Mongolia can be extremely dry due to heating systems. Consider using a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air and prevent dry skin and respiratory issues.

6. Embrace the local lifestyle: Mongolians have adapted to their climate for centuries, so take cues from the locals on how to navigate the weather. Learn traditional clothing styles and practices that can help you stay comfortable in different seasons.

By following these tips and being mindful of the climate in Mongolia, you can better adapt to the weather conditions and make the most of your time in this beautiful country.

19. Are there any specific customs or etiquette expats should be aware of in Mongolia?

Yes, there are several specific customs and etiquette expats should be aware of when moving to Mongolia:

1. Greetings: Mongolians typically greet each other with a handshake and a slight nod of the head. It is common to greet older people first and to use honorific titles when addressing them.

2. Removing Shoes: In Mongolian homes and certain traditional establishments, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering. Make sure to observe this custom to show respect.

3. Gift Giving: When visiting someone’s home or when invited to dinner, it is polite to bring a small gift, such as pastries or well-packaged chocolates. Avoid giving yellow flowers as they are associated with mourning.

4. Respecting Elders: Respect for elders is highly valued in Mongolian culture, so be mindful of your manners and always show deference towards older individuals.

5. Public Behavior: Public displays of affection are not common in Mongolia, so it is best to avoid such behavior in public places.

6. Toast Etiquette: When participating in a toast, hold your glass slightly lower than the person who made the toast as a sign of respect. It is also respectful to take at least a sip after the toast.

7. Dress Code: Dress modestly, especially when visiting monasteries or other religious sites. It is also important to cover your head and shoulders when entering these places.

8. Etiquette in Ger: When visiting a traditional Mongolian ger (yurt), always enter with your right foot first and avoid pointing your feet towards the hearth, as it is considered disrespectful.

9. Dining Etiquette: Wait to be seated and do not start eating until the host has begun. It is customary to leave a small amount of food on your plate to show that you have eaten your fill.

By familiarizing yourself with these customs and etiquette practices, expats can show respect for Mongolian culture and build positive relationships with the local community.

20. How easy is it to travel within Mongolia and to other countries from Mongolia?

Traveling within Mongolia can be a unique experience, as the country has vast open spaces and a relatively underdeveloped transportation infrastructure. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Domestic travel: In Mongolia, the primary modes of domestic travel are by road and air. The road network connects major cities and towns, but many roads are unpaved and can be challenging to navigate, especially in rural areas. Flights are available between major cities such as Ulaanbaatar, Khovd, and Olgii, but flight schedules can be irregular and weather-dependent.

2. International travel: Mongolia has an international airport in Ulaanbaatar, Chinggis Khaan International Airport, which serves as the main gateway for travelers entering and exiting the country. There are direct flights to several countries in Asia and Europe, including China, South Korea, Russia, and Turkey. Additionally, there are land border crossings with China and Russia for those traveling overland.

3. Visa requirements: Travelers should be aware of visa requirements for both Mongolia and other countries they wish to visit. Mongolia offers visa-free or visa-on-arrival entry for citizens of many countries, but it’s essential to check the specific requirements before planning travel. Visas for certain countries can be obtained in advance from Mongolian embassies or consulates.

4. Overall, traveling within Mongolia and to other countries from Mongolia can be manageable with proper planning and research. It’s essential to be flexible and patient, especially when it comes to domestic travel within Mongolia due to the country’s unique landscape and transportation challenges. Additionally, keeping up-to-date with visa requirements and transportation options will help ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience in and out of Mongolia.