I have applied four times for Chinese visas at the China embassy in Ulaanbaatar in the past year and a half. Things have changed a little and are bound to change more. As of right now here is what you need to do to apply for a Chinese visa if you’re not a Mongolian citizen.
- You will need to fill out two different forms. The standard visa application form and the supplemental form. Be sure to fill out all of the sections as accurately as possible. On the supplemental, you need to fill out the last section since you are applying for a visa outside of your home country.
- A photocopy or printout of your flight itinerary.
- A printout of your hotel reservation.
- A letter of invitation.
- For expats in Mongolia – a photocopy of your Mongolian resident alien card.
- A passport-sized photo.
- So far not necessary but probably wise – a photocopy of your passport ID pages.
They will give you a bill which you then take to the Golomt Bank (Голомт банк) that is just around the corner. Exit the embassy, turn left until you get to the corner, cross the street (continuing south) and the bank is to the left a few hundred feet. They will give you a receipt you’ll need to present to receive your visa-fied passport.
The embassy is open to visa applications from 9:30-noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Pickups are done after 4 PM on the same days of the week. Normal visa processing time is one week from the submission. An additional $40 and it can be ready the same day or $20 gets the visa ready not the next day they are opening, but the following opening. Fees are $140 for Americans regardless the number of entries. Sometimes you need to provide evidence of multiple flights and associated accommodations but the most recent time I applied I was offered dual entry without that documentation needed. Residents of other countries (except Mongolia and Romania) are $30 per entry.
Of special note is that starting in January of 2013, Beijing and Shanghai both allow 3 day entries without a visa. You can just fly there and receive the visa on arrival. I would have printouts of the departing flight and hotel confirmation and not just something on your mobile device or laptop to show them to minimize hassle. Up until then you could get a 24 hour transit visa as long as you had proof of continuing flight although many American ticket agents were not aware of that and would scour our passports looking for a valid visa to enter China. Calmly asking them to ask further up the chain worked well for us – someone on the other end of a phone call knows that it is acceptable! I hope word of the three day visa on arrival has spread.
The map below pinpoints where the embassy entrance is that you need to use for the visa application and pickup.