MAKE IT TO MON­GO­LIA

Sunday Times - - Hotel Review - AN­SWERS YOUR QUES­TIONS

How does one go about get­ting a visa for Mon­go­lia? Re­cently, I heard that if one vis­its for less than 30 days one can ob­tain a visa on ar­rival. Is that true? — Cath Schorr

Mon­go­lia has no con­sulate or em­bassy in SA, so your best bet for get­ting a visa is to go through the Mon­go­lian Em­bassy in Lon­don. Their web­site at em­bassy­of­mon­go­lia.co.uk says ap­pli­ca­tions via e-mail or post are not ac­cepted, and that you must ap­ply in per­son or “through an au­tho­rised sub­ject”.

It goes on to name two ap­proved visa agen­cies: Real Rus­sia (re­al­rus­sia.co.uk) and Al­mont (al­mont­travel.co.uk).

I found Real Rus­sia, based in Lon­don, to be ex­tremely help­ful. They have a de­tailed web­site and an on­line chat fa­cil­ity, through which I learnt the fol­low­ing.

The good news is they can do the ap­pli­ca­tion for you — but it will take both time and money. Their “stan­dard ser­vice” takes six work­ing days and costs £94.86 (about R1,850) and their ex­press ser­vice takes two days and costs £130.56 (R2,520). The con­sul­tant pointed out, how­ever, that “work­ing days” in Mon­go­lia are Mon­days, Tues­days and Thurs­days.

The greater prob­lem for you is that Real Rus­sia will need your pass­port to make the ap­pli­ca­tion. There­fore, you will have to send it — the con­sul­tant said they had found DHL and Fedex to be safe — along with the signed visa ap­pli­ca­tion form (they will send you a link); and a re­cent colour photo. You will also need con­fir­ma­tion of both in­bound and out­bound flight or train book­ings, ho­tel reser­va­tions and travel in­sur­ance. Real Rus­sia can also help with these ar­range­ments, if you like.

Once ap­proved, they will send the pass­port back to you, for which you will also have to pay. She quoted me £46 (about R900) to send it to Park­town, Johannesburg.

It ap­pears you can get a tourist visa on ar­rival at the air­port in Ulaan­baatar, but this has to have been pre­ar­ranged by some­one in Mon­go­lia (such as your tour op­er­a­tor or ho­tel). You’ll also need 108,000 MTN (about R625) and two pass­port pho­tos. Most cru­cially, you need the pre-ap­proval let­ter.

Since you have to ar­range ac­com­mo­da­tion be­fore­hand any­way, I would check with my cho­sen ho­tel or tour com­pany to see if they can as­sist with get­ting the pre-ap­proval let­ter. If not, be safe and ap­ply through Real Rus­sia.

We can help with your des­ti­na­tion dilem­mas, visa puz­zles and itin­er­ary ideas. E-mail trav­el­[email protected]­day­times.co.za

Pic­ture: 123rf.com/toi­let­room

CAP­I­TAL A panoramic view of Ulaan­baatar, Mon­go­lia.

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