Why don't Americans need visas to visit Mongolia
June 28, 2006 5:54 PM   Subscribe

Why don't Americans need visas to visit Mongolia?

We Americans don't need a visa, just an entry stamp, to enter Mongolia. Nearly every other Western and Asian country needs a visa.

It's odd. I can't think of another country where it's easier for Americans to get in than Europeans. I'd love to hear from someone familiar with the state of Mongol-American relations. Did we help with Mongolia's recent democratic government? Is it the China-Russia situation? Do we have a base there? Is it historical ties? Did we help them in a war?
posted by maschnitz to Travel & Transportation around Mongolia (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 


I think the Reverend has it right. Stuck between China and Russia, small and weak, Mongolia would really, really like to have a powerful friend. The country can use investments, too; it's not the richest or most well developed country on the planet.

Mongolia sent a surprisingly large contingent of troops to Iraq, for instance. And I think the specific answer to your question is that Mongolia doesn't require a visa because Mongolia is eager to encourage Americans to visit, and wants to make it as easy as they possibly can.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:31 PM on June 28, 2006


Sure, but why not buddy up with the EU? And why not be eager to get those rich Germans in? A lot of things seem to be effects, not causes.

Maybe the whole "cowboy culture" goes pretty deep?

Keep the ideas coming, it's pretty interesting so far.
posted by maschnitz at 6:35 PM on June 28, 2006


We're just as good as Kazakhstan!
posted by giantfist at 6:39 PM on June 28, 2006


I'm glad you asked. It is a very beautiful and interesting place. I imagine that if some entity actually advertised tourism there, people would eventally start visiting. When was the last time you saw an ad on tv or in print for Mongolian Tourism?
posted by snsranch at 6:50 PM on June 28, 2006


I don't know why, but here's a list of countries that do and don't need visas for Mongolia. Maybe there's a common theme (that completely eludes me)?

(It's a badly organised list, scroll right down for the USA)
posted by jacalata at 7:40 PM on June 28, 2006


gah, should have checked the other link!
posted by jacalata at 7:42 PM on June 28, 2006


redteam -- yeah, the Buddhist Yellow Sect's wrathful deities like Yama certainly liven up group pictures, don't they?
posted by maschnitz at 7:47 PM on June 28, 2006


Sure, but why not buddy up with the EU? And why not be eager to get those rich Germans in?

Because Mongolia doesn't want to end up the way Czechoslovakia did in 1939. A European guarantee of sovereignty and territorial security, plus a dollar, will get you a lousy cup of coffee.

Mongolia wants to be friends with the US for the same reason Poland and Ukraine do: the US is more reliable in a pinch, and the US has a real army, a real air force, and a real navy and is willing to use them when necessary. (The "navy" part isn't very important to Mongolia, obviously.)

By the way, that's also why Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are very eager right now to be friends with America. They know that in a crisis, Europe will throw them to the wolves in the name of peace and diplomacy.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:14 PM on June 28, 2006


By the way, that's also why Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are very eager right now to be friends with America. They know that in a crisis, Europe will throw them to the wolves in the name of peace and diplomacy.

America has demonstrated time and again that it is loyal to no other country but itself, and will abandon a relationship when convenient. Of course all countries are like that in the game of geopolitcs...just don't kid yourself that America is any different.

I agree though that friendship with America still holds some value because of America's sheer power (and willingness to use it.)
posted by randomstriker at 10:57 PM on June 28, 2006


Yeah, anyhow .... back to the Mongolians, please.

Any other reasons?
posted by maschnitz at 3:00 AM on June 29, 2006


"The Soviet Union had collapsed. Fifty thousand troops had been withdrawn from Mongolia. So had all the aid. So had the economic sustenance for the country. And all of a sudden, the Americans were faced with trying to be a supportive element for Mongolia" -US Ambassador Kaman

The U.S. had been making overtures for years before the collapse, afterward they were being approached by Mongolia. With strategic positioning to entice the U.S. government and mining of copper, gold and uranium for business, the U.S. made significant investment in Mongolia including around nine million a year in USAid in recent years (significantly reduced since the early 90's).

See also:
USaid
CIA Factbook
posted by arruns at 4:31 AM on June 29, 2006


A diplomat friend of mine told me that entry requirements, visas and visa fees are often the result of diplomatic signalling ("we'd like to be your friend") or tit-for-tat (country A charges people from B for an entry visa, and so country B retaliates). Dunno if Mongolians can get into the US easily, but the second explains why Cubans have visas waived in a number of countries.
posted by outlier at 5:05 AM on June 29, 2006


A diplomat friend of mine told me that entry requirements, visas and visa fees are often the result of diplomatic signalling ("we'd like to be your friend") or tit-for-tat (country A charges people from B for an entry visa, and so country B retaliates). Dunno if Mongolians can get into the US easily, but the second explains why Cubans have visas waived in a number of countries.

True that about the tit-for-tat. I'm an American living in Taiwan and even though their de facto independence is completely reliant on the protection of the US military, we Americans have to pay higher fees than every other nationality for visas and such. They even call this fee a "reciprocity fee."
posted by alidarbac at 5:30 AM on June 29, 2006


Just for full accuracy:

USA- no visa for all type of passport holders, including A, H, J visas within 90 days.
Visit more than 90 days need visa
, service charge - $100, no visa fee required

posted by languagehat at 6:41 AM on June 29, 2006


we Americans have to pay higher fees than every other nationality for visas and such. They even call this fee a "reciprocity fee."

alidarbac, is that reciprocity fee not that high because we charge $100 dollars US for a person that applies for a Visa (tourist or otherwise) to the United States (except for a few developed Western countries?). I know Brazil (and Chile too, i believe) require Americans to pay 100 US dollars for an entry visa...the same price Americans charge them to even apply.

Considering $100 (or whatevcer the fee is) is far less for you and me than most of the world, i think thats fair....
posted by jare2003 at 6:59 AM on June 29, 2006


I apologize for not being Mongolia-specific, but this is one of those anecdotes that's too good not to share:

tit-for-tat (country A charges people from B for an entry visa, and so country B retaliates).

Sometimes it's a little more obtuse: Indian citizens wanting to go to Mexico are required to wait a whole month for "visa processing." Why? Apparently, some Bengali do-gooder established Mexico's first communist party in 1911 and the latter's center-right political establishment has been annoyed ever since.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:45 AM on June 29, 2006


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