(NOT) Getting a tourist Chinese Visa in Ulaan Baatar (Mongolia)

After being denied the Chinese Visa in Baku, Tashkent, Bishkek and Dushanbe (now open only for local residents), we just gave up and started to think about a “forced” detour in our Silk Road, overland trip from Venice to Beijing.

If the first idea was to cross to China from Kyrgyzstan and wonderful Torugart Pass, after all the refusals we came up with a new, longish solution: take a bus from Kazakhstan (visa free up to 15 days for many nationalities) to Mongolia and apply for the long-awaited Chinese Visa in Ulaan Baatar.

All the online information we checked beforehand was fairly positive in the feasibility of the application even for tourists

When last Friday (09/09/16) we reached the Embassy, though, to our utmost despair we faced the ineluctable verdict: “Foreigners without residency permit in Mongolia cannot receive Chinese Visa”!

NomadXpress at the Chinese Embassy in Ulaan Baatar (Mongolia)
NomadXpress at the Chinese Embassy in Ulaan Baatar (Mongolia)

This what was showing on a concise paper expressionlessly flapped by the security guard in front of the embassy. Although at the beginning we were told that we could come back after the 15th September, further updates from other tourists and finally the “bouncer” tragically took the direction of a permanent denial for overlanders, in line with all the Chinese embassies in Central Asia. This version was also confirmed on the phone by the embassy when inquired in local language by a friend of us.

It also seems that local agencies are still unaware of the issue and thereby not able to offer much assistance with that. Chinese Visas never were a problem here!

Apparently, therefore, from the 2nd September 2016 no more Chinese Visas will be issued to foreigners without a Mongolian ID card or permit, until further notice.

If you are interested in knowing how to get to China from Mongolia overland (no flights), keep following our blog, in which we will try to provide fresh updates on other Chinese embassies’ replies…

From your side, do not hesitate to let us know if you have any suggestion on how to overcome this cul-de-sac…Thanks a lot!

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