Frequently Asked Questions

About the ACMS

No. The ACMS does not provide scholarships, but the ACMS runs several fellowship programs to support the research work of American and Mongolian students and scholars as part of larger research projects. Recipients are announced every year in early spring.

In general visiting scholars and researchers, university faculty and students from the USA and other countries, as well as Mongolian scholars, visit the ACMS office and utilize its services. However, the ACMS is a non-profit organization serving the general public. As such, the ACMS is open to all visitors seeking assistance in Mongolia.

Visa and Registrations

This is visa information for US citizens only.

Holders of US passports, who travel to Mongolia for official, private business and tourism for up to 90 days are exempted from visa requirements in accordance with the New Visa Policy, which has been effective since July 18, 2001.

If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, you will need a Mongolian visa.

This is visa information for US citizens only.

In order to stay in Mongolia for more than 90 days, or to obtain a multiple entry visa for work or study, approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia is required. A host institution in Mongolia must send a letter of introduction and visa request on your behalf to receive this approval. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs then sends the approval letter to the Mongolian Embassy in Washington, DC, where your visa is ultimately issued if receiving it prior to entering Mongolia. The visa fee is $131. Learn more at the Mongolian Embassy website.

The process for applying for a student or work visa involved the following steps to complete. These must be completed with assistance from a host institution:

  • The applicant and host institution discuss the applicant’s intended affiliation with the host institution (e.g. student, faculty member, or employee), and the host insitution prepares a formal letter similar to a contract outlining the conditions of the applicant’s affiliation and his/her intended purpose for residing in Mongolia.
  • The applicant sends a copy of the photo page of his/her passport and current HIV blood test results to the host institution.
  • The host institution then sends a letter of request along with the contract, passport copy, and HIV blood test results to the Ministry of Education for a permit to apply for a student or work visa. Upon approving the request, the Ministry of Education issues a letter of request to the Office of Immigration, Naturalization, and Foreign Citizens.
  • The host institution sends another letter of request to the Office of Immigration, Naturalization, and Foreign Citizens to receive a permit to apply for a student or work visa. Upon approving the request, the Office of Immigration issues the permit to the host institution.
  • The host institution then forwards the permit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which sends a letter to the Mongolian embassy authorizing the consulor’s office to issue a student or work visa.
  • After the embassy receives the letter, the applicant must send his/her passport to the embassy with a complete visa application form and results of an current HIV blood test. The passport and application should be sent with a pre-paid self-addressed stamped envelope which can be tracked. UPS and FedEx are two options. Call the embassy directly for current instructions and visa fees.
  • After receiving the visa in his/her passport, the applicant is prepared to enter Mongolia as a student or faculty member on a non-tourist visa.
This process can only be completed with the assistance of a host institution, so identifying an appropriate host institution early on in the application process is very important. Without the proper visa, visitors must apply in-country to change their visa status from tourist to non-tourist, which requires going through the same process outlined above, with the addition of having to exit Mongolia and reenter it on a new visa issued at a consular office abroad (usually China).

If you are staying more than 90 days, you must get an official letter from your host institution. This letter must explain your reason for staying in Mongolia and must request long-term residency permission after you have acquired your visa. Two copies are needed. One to the Ministry of Education and one copy to the Immigration office. A contract (if you have any) with your host institution may be required at the MoE (so it a good idea to have one made). In addition, you will need to do the following:

Acquire a letter of proof of your local address from your local municipality (Oron suutsni khoroo)

Go to the Immigration office and purchase a form to fill out.

Prepare one copy of a recent identification photo (approx.1.5 x 2.5 inch).

Make a copy of your passport identification page (at the Immigration office, they do copies for a nominal fee).

Finally, go back to the Immigration office with the following: Passport, identification photo, completed registration form, letter with proof of residency, letter of visa sponsorship from MoE, and + 31,500₮ (for the permit).

Yes. The ACMS can provide assistance in completing the registration process, including support in acquiring the appropriate letters of sponsorship from host institutions and submitting documents to the relevant agencies. These services are provided on a fee-basis to cover administrative costs. ACMS members are asked to pay $35, where as non-members are asked to pay $50. These rates do not include the fees charged by the Mongolian government agencies.


The average cost of apartments can vary depending on location, condition, and whether it is furnished. A furnished studio (Mongolian 1-room) is approximately $400-$500 per month, a 1-bedroom (Mongolian 2-room) is approximately $500-$600 per month, a 2-bedroom (Mongolian 3-room) is approximately $600-$700 and above. Guest houses are available for $5-$10 per night. Landlords often ask foreign renters to provide payment for an entire lease up front, but terms of leases are negotiable. The ACMS can provide assistance in arranging housing for visiting scholars. This service is generally provided on a fee-basis of $40 for ACMS members and $55 for non-members. Learn more

Generally all utilities are included, plus phone. But some landlords ask for payments for electricity usage over 100 watts per month.

The apartments are also typically furnished. For rental to foreigners they are usually furnished including bed, couch, refrigerator, electric stove, TV, phone, vacuum cleaner etc.

Yes. The ACMS can locate and negotiate a lease for an apartment on your behalf. Renting an apartment is recommended if you intend to stay longer than a few weeks in Ulaanbaatar. This service is provided on a fee-basis which as of June 2007 was $40 for ACMS members and $55 for non-members per negotiated lease. These prices include the administrative costs of locating an apartment, negotiating the terms of the lease on your behalf, and providing intermediary services throughout the term of the lease per apartment. Learn more

Mongolian Language

Indiana University at Bloomington offers Mongolian language courses and resources.

The University of Western Washington also has Mongolian Studies program.

For self learning, you can order books from the ACMS. We offer a number of books and self-learning materials on Mongolian that are unavailable in the US.

The ACMS also conducts an intermediate level intensive Mongolian language course during the summer. Learn more

For information about Mongolian language books available for sale in Ulaanbaatar and shipped worldwide, please visit contact us.

Professional level translators – for workshops and seminars may be around $100 per hour.

High level translators – $100 per day.

Intermediate level translators – $50-$80 per day.

Average rate for unofficial daily translations – $15-$25 (for mid-to-low level translators who are mostly students. You can negotiate based on their language skills).


You need to get a letter of request for a permit from your host institution that describes your detailed itinerary, and this must be delivered to the Department of Border Defense. The department will issue you a special letter of permission to travel to the above mentioned areas. For traveling to national parks or other restricted areas you do not need a special permit, since those areas have their administration units at site. You can buy a special ticket at the gate.

The Open Society Forum and UNDP have public libraries at their offices in Ulaanbaatar. These libraries have extensive collections of reports, journals, and books on Mongolian social development and policy issues. Contact these agencies directly to learn their business hours. The ACMS library also has a limited number of reports and books on policy issues in its collection. The ACMS library is open to the public Monday through Friday 9am-6pm.

Additional information can be found by visiting the websites of non-governmental and governmental organizations working on social and economic development in Mongolia. These include World VisionMercy CorpsADRAAsia FoundationChristina Nobel Children’s FoundationPeace CorpsFriends of MongoliaUSAIDUNESCO, and UNICEF.

The process of getting official approval to export biological or organic samples from Mongolia can seem long and overly complicated to foreigners. In past years, a number of foreign scholars and researchers have run into great trouble in attempting to export their research samples from the country, trouble which often stemmed from the lack of clear instructions emanating from the Mongolian government on the steps they needed to follow.

Based on interviews with Mongolian officials in charge of the process of inspecting and approving the export of biological samples to foreign countries, we have prepared a list of these steps foreign researchers will need to follow. The ACMS would like to extend its special appreciation to Mongolian biologist and ACMS member Dr. N. Soninkhishig for her help in preparing this list.

The Mongolian government assumes that all biological field research will be carried out jointly with, or at least with the official backing of, a Mongolian counterpart organization that is certified to undertake this kind of research, including Mongolian university departments or certified NGOs. It will also be assumed that this cooperation will be set down onto an official contract with all of the necessary signatures and stamps. The government likewise assumes that the Mongolian counterpart will aid the foreign researcher in undertaking the steps listed below. The foreign researcher should not assume that any of the officials and scientists they will interact with will speak English.

The following steps will be needed to receive final permission to export biological and organic specimens:

  1. An official letter, in the Mongolian language, must be prepared and addressed to the Mongolian government’s Mergejliin khyanaltyn gazar (Department of Professional Supervision). This letter must describe the purpose or aim of the research undertaken, a list and brief description of the samples obtained, including their sizes and weights, and the way in which they will be exported (typically either by air or rail). In addition, the letter must include a description of the type of analysis to be undertaken in the researcher’s home country, when it will be done, and when and how the results from this analysis will likely be released.This letter must be given personally to the Mergejliin khyanaltyn gazar (Department of Professional Supervision), which is located in the government building located in Barilgachdiin talbai (Construction Worker’s Square), Chingeltei duureg, 211238 Ulaanbaatar 13; phone: 327266, fax: 3250048, Accompanying the letter must be the following:
  1. the original copy of the contract established between the foreign researcher and their Mongolian counterpart;
  2. photocopy of the counterpart’s official certificate of approval from the Mongolian government; and
  3. receipt documenting the payment of ₮5,000 to the official account number 900032002 at any commercial Mongolian bank.
  1. If the samples in question consist of insects, plants or soil, the researchers need a certificate from the Ulsyn khorio tseeriin laboratori (State Prohibited Items Laboratory), located on the south side of town, near the Tsagaan khaalga (White Gate), just north of the ‘Avraga’ Bükhiin deed surguuli (‘Avarga’ Wrestling College); phone: 341-197; mobile: 9983-9972.

Representative samples must be brought to this location for analysis by the scientists working there. They will check to see that the specimens are not weeds nor carry any plant diseases or insects. This analysis typically will be completed within a single day and will cost up to ₮10,000. But the time and cost will increase if additional testing is required. Also, for very large operations, scientists could be brought directly to the site where the samples are located, which will also increase the costs.

If the samples in question consist of animals or human remains, the researchers need a certificate from the Ulsyn mal emneleg, ariun tsevriin laboratori (State Veterinary and Sanitation Laboratory), located Khan-Uul district, 11th khoroo, Zaisan; phone: 341651.
The researcher then needs to secure the Garal üüseliin gerchilgee (Certificate of Origination) from the Ulsyn khudaldaa aj üildweriin tankhim (Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry), located in the Mergejliin Khyanaltiin Gazar (Department of Professional Supervision, see above); phone: 328878, fax 324620, e-mail: They are open to receive materials from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm, Monday-Friday. Certificates will then to given in the afternoons, 2.30 to 5.30 pm. To receive this certificate, the researcher must show three documents: the contract, packing list, and invoice. This certificate will cost ₮11,000.

  1. Finally, the researcher must secure a Gaalyn bürdüülelt (Customs Certificate) from the Ulsyn Gaalyn Yerunkhii Gazar (State General Customs Department), located 11th district “Unuudur” newspaper building (behind the Dashchoilong monastery), phone: 350049 Customs officials will require a document from the foreign researcher listing the samples to be exported, their number, size and weight; how they are packed; and where and how they are to be exported. They will also check the validity of the official documents listed above. And they may also require to see representative samples.

If these procedures are followed and there are no hindrances, the entire inspection process could well be completed within 2-3 days at a total cost of ₮26,000-₮30,000. But researchers are warned to be prepared for obstacles, such as scientists or officials not working in their offices or answering their phones during the day, or for these people demanding additional testing or other forms of documentation.

The ACMS has found that the procedures listed above are not made available to foreign researchers or their Mongolian counterparts in written form. They appear instead to be passed on orally from one person to another. It is generally expected that Mongolians will call and speak directly with the people in charge in order to understand what needs to be done, a situation that could well lead to some subjective interpretations of procedures, if not outright abuse of the process.

It is in the best interest of the foreign researcher hoping to export specimens to leave as much time for this inspection process as possible and to be patient. Rushing the process may be an option only if they are willing to pay bribes or other forms of inducements to those involved. But on the other hand, if the researcher shows a willingness to work within the system, the system will usually work.

Lastly, the ACMS invites all who undertake this process to write to us and share their experiences, whether they are good or bad. We would especially like to know of any steps required that are not listed here. Such feedback will help us to expand and develop this section for the benefit of all scholars and researchers.

Professional level translators – for workshops and seminars may be around $100 per hour

High level translators – $100 per day

Intermediate level translators – $50-$80 per day

Average rate for unofficial daily translations – $15-$25 (for mid-to-low level translators who are mostly students. You can negotiate based on their language skills).

There are two common rates for renting a vehicle for a countryside trip. One is based on daily rent which is $40-$50 per day + the driver’s meal and lodging if staying in a hotel in the countryside. Another rate is per kilometer, which is 50-70 cents depending on a type of car + driver’s meals and lodging.

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