China, Destinations, Mongolia, Planning

Mongolian visa in Beijing

September 12, 2010
Lining up for visas in Beijing

Lining up for visas in Beijing

Considering the website for the Mongolian consulate in Australia actually recommends you pick up your visa in Beijing, I figured that getting my Mongolian visa in China would be a piece of cake.

Thankfully, I was right! Although like all things bureaucratic, it takes some patience.

Where

The Mongolian embassy is located just around the corner from the Silk Street market in Beijing, at No. 2 Xiu Shui Beijie. It’s a fifteen to twenty minute walk from Jianguomen or Yong’anli subway stations. All the embassies look the same (high walls, barbed wire), so ask one of the many guards on the street, and they’ll point you in the right direction.

You don’t actually go inside the embassy – the Visa counter is on the street, so chances are you’ll see a huge line of people anyway.

When

As of September 2010, it’s open for applications from 9am to 11am Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 2pm to 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pickup is from 4pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Try and get there as early as possible – when I arrived at 9.30am on a Monday, there was already a long line and it was almost closing time when I got to the window. When I went back to pick the visa up on Tuesday, some people waiting to drop their applications in missed out when the staff closed the window at 3.45pm.

What to bring

Your passport, and a letter of invitation, if you need one. As an Australian, I didn’t need a letter, but I overheard a couple talking about a French girl who did. You can print an application form in advance from the embassy website, or pick one up when you arrive.

What happens next

Once you’ve handed in your application, you’ll be given a receipt and instructions on where to pay your visa fee (currently 495RMB + 10RMB bank commission for a 1 day service. Foreigners can only choose this service, there is no cheaper option available).

Take the receipt to the Bank of China, which is just across the other side of the main road, near Scitech Plaza. Show the receipt to the guy at the information counter – he’ll assist you from there.

The following day, head back to the embassy just before 4pm to line up to pick up your visa.

Too easy! In all, it took about three hours on the first day, and an hour on the pick up day, most of that spent waiting around. Take a book!

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6 Comments

  • Reply benisagoodboy September 12, 2010 at 6:43 am

    Hey thanks for this! I'm starting to plan my RTW trip myself, and this is great info!
    Could you please also let me know how you went about getting a Chinese visa? Thanks!

    • Reply Megan September 12, 2010 at 8:52 am

      No worries Ben!

      Getting a Chinese visa was really easy – I applied through the Visa centre in Sydney (you can google it – it's not actually the consulate, but its own office on Elizabeth St), and within four days I had a one year, multi-entry, 60 day each entry visa in my passport.

      It was a little pricey though – almost $200 I think. Apparently you can get one for much cheaper in Hong Kong, but I wanted to make sure I got a multi-entry visa valid for a year, which can be a little hard to get. I'll be entering China three or four times on this trip, so it was definitely worth it.

  • Reply Ayngelina September 13, 2010 at 3:00 am

    I'm hoping to head to Mongolia as well but I haven't even begun to think about the visa process – thanks for reminding me.

  • Reply Rob March 1, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Cheers Mate! Great first hand info! I was feeling a little sketchy about trying to get a Mongolian visa in Beijing but your post has given me confidence that it shouldn't be to much of a hassle!

  • Reply Jordan July 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Hey Megan!

    So I’m living in Beijing and trying to get across the border into Mongolia for just visa purposes. I know you went all the way up to Ulaanbaatar and I only want the border but I’m wondering how you got there. I’ve been reading that a train goes from Beijing to Hohhot and then to Erenhot (aka Erlian) on the border. And from there crossing is pretty simple. However, in person I’ve just been going in circles with different ticket offices telling me different things. Did you take train, plane, bus…? Do you know the best way to get to Erenhot?

    I appreciate the help!

    • Reply MeganRTW July 6, 2011 at 3:54 am

      Hey Jordan,

      I actually took the Trans Mongolian to UB (which I booked through China Trip Advisor) so I’m not sure about the train to Erenhot, bur other travellers I met in UB were planning to go that way – you should just be able to buy a ticket to the border from any CTS agency and then from the border you can get a local ticket to UB. Try the Lonely Planet thorntree for more info or check out the Man in Seat 61 – it’s fairly straightforward, or so I’ve heard.

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